Every year, it seems that Valentine’s day becomes more and more about buying things for your significant other and then going out for a fancy dinner. In my experience the most memorable and special Valentine’s day celebrations have been spent making something or just spending quality time with my significant other.

I asked people I know about their typical Valentine’s Day plans and most people all felt the same way I did. Which then prompted the question, if that is how most people feel, who is going out and crowding all of the restaurants?

My approach to Valentine’s Day started with the way my family treated all special occasions. We were a large family so to save money we’d always make our own cards and try to give homemade gifts. It was a lot more fun than going out and shopping, which always felt like a chore, plus it allowed us to really personalize the cards and gifts.

I also think that our avoidance of the hustle and bustle around Valentine’s day comes from the fact that we still go out on dates a lot during the rest of the year. It makes that less special and more of a formality, because we are just doing it to spend time together anyway.

If you don’t already I recommend me and my fiancée’s Valentine’s tradition; try to cook something that is a bit more extravagant than you normally do. Do that together and not only will you have a good time, but you’ll get better at cooking. Plus you might just get a better meal out of it, all without a reservation.