Planning a Shoestring Valetine’s Day in Harrisburg

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Although January felt like an entire year on its own, there’s still a chance you’re feeling the impact of the holiday season.

Maybe you put on a few pounds. Maybe you still have your decorations up (I just took mine down a few days ago). Or, perhaps you’re feeling the impact on your wallet.

Now, Valentine’s Day is here, and you don’t think you can go all out for the day of love. Don’t worry; there’s a way to do Valentine’s Day that doesn’t have to break the bank.

A “shoestring Valentine’s Day” doesn’t mean you’re skimping. To me, it says you’re a little more creative in your approach.

Anyone can grab flowers, make a reservation at the hottest spot in town, and retire home with a great bottle of wine, but sometimes being more innovative with your celebrations can make for a great night spent with the one you care about.

One thing you need

A card.

My mom always told me I needed to get a card with a gift. Not seeing the real importance, I often scoffed at the idea (but still obliged). Now, I find enjoyment not only in finding the perfect card but trying to write something meaningful to personalize the gift.

Just do it. Get a card. It ties the gift together.


It’s the little things

Find something small and inexpensive that is personal to your Valentine that you know will put a smile on their face because even though it’s the thought that counts, everyone loves opening up a gift, too.

Take the time and pick out something small that’s just for them. Vintage earrings from Stash Vintage or a sleek, one-of-a-kind accessories from Midtown Dandy can make a little gift seem like the star of the evening.

Box it up

I love putting together gift boxes that have something in common but are also personal. Make it a few of their favorite things, ways to #treatyoself, or something fun you can do together like a movie night box complete with your favorite candy, popcorn, and booze.


Luckily for us, Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday, and I’m not sure if there is a better way to save some money while still having a good time than strolling through the Broad Street Market.

There are a few perks with hitting up the market, too.

If you want to do it all at the market, you can. With so many options, you don’t have to do the “where do you wanna eat?” dance and then you can grab a drink and dessert under the same roof(s) while keeping it under budget.

Or, you can walk around and find what you’d want to take home to make together for an inexpensive, yet still delicious night in.

Here’s how I would do this:

  1. Stop at R.G. Hummer’s or JB Kelly Seafood Connection and grab your favorite protein. For me, it would be a nice pork chop.
  2. See D. McGee Design Studio in the front of the brick building for flowers.
  3. Pony up to Zeroday Øutpost for a beer at the bar and a crowler to-go.
  4. Make your dessert picks at Raising The Bar.
  5. Indulge.

Even if you can’t make it right on Valentine’s Day, you still have Friday and Saturday to make this happen.

Hit the happy hour

Can’t splurge on a full meal? No problem.

Hit your fave happy hour and grab the deals while you can. Get a slew of half-priced apps, and you can have that extra beer or wine without worrying about taking the hit to the wallet.

My spot would be Bacco. Possibly the best happy hour around? I mean, you can get their killer Buffalo Pizza for $6 and an Old Fashioned for the same price. Oh, and you need to get the Eggplant Caponata.

A bonus is that you’ll be home early so you can get into the sweats, pour some wine, and binge whatever show you’re on.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be something you spend a lot of money to make it special. When it comes down to it, it is the thought that counts, and if you plan it out a bit and make an effort, you’ll be in good shape.

How are you spending Valentine’s Day?

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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