LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Valentine’s day is the day of love but you know what doesn't always feel very loved? Your pocketbook. It can be expensive to have a fun and creative date night. That’s why we’re giving you insider tips on how you can save money and still have a great time.

Valerie Shively, owner and editor of The Scout Guide – Little Rock, is a pro at finding fun, local things to eat, see, and do. She gave us some great advice on things you can do to save money this holiday.

1. Make all or part of your date night an “at-home” experience

  • APPETIZERS: Try shopping for and making a fun, easy appetizer together. Shively said that an easy idea is creating a charcuterie board together and going to local grocery stores and shops to find the items you want to put in it. She recommends grabbing chocolates at Eggshells and meats and cheeses from Heights Corner Market. You can center your board around standard items like chocolates and strawberries for a Valentine’s Day specific theme. You could also grab a fondue pot to enjoy some of the chocolates and cheeses.
  • DESSERTS: You could also go out in search of delicious, local desserts that will save you money and give you a better variety. Shively said stopping in a local bakery and picking up the sweets ahead of time is a little more affordable than getting dessert from a restaurant. She recommends stopping by Heights Corner Market for cake and Honey Pies/Blue Cake company for their chocolate fudge pies and petit fours.
  • DRINKS: Shively said finding an affordable bottle of champagne or wine to enjoy together for your “night-in” can also save money. Buying a bottle at a local store can be cheaper than two glasses at a restaurant.

2. Find affordable flower options by ditching the vase

  • Shively said you can save quite a bit on Valentine’s Day bouquets by simply getting the flowers without the vase. One of her favorite local florists is Tanarah Luxe Florals and they have put together bouquets that you can call and place an order for in advance. You can save some money on the vase cost but still get a beautiful, local bouquet. If you still want a vase, check out some local grocery stores for more affordable options.

3. Attend free, local events during Valentine’s Weekend

  • Shively said an exciting event happening right on Valentine’s Day this year is the downtown Little Rock 2nd Friday Art Night. That’s where businesses downtown stay open until 8 o’clock or later that evening. It happens all the way from down in the River Market to all the way up the creative corridor on Main Street. You can walk along those corridors and stop in all the businesses participating. Many will have special events going on and featured artists present. Shively said to make sure and stop in the shops to find fun, interactive games to play with your loved one. Bella Vita is a great place to check out fun, unique items you and your loved one can enjoy. They have a game in stock to help you and your loved one learn more about each other. Just ask the manager to show you where some of those items are located.

4. Check out fun, free things that are open downtown

  • Shively mentioned that the downtown trolley is always free so that’s a fun way to travel around. Also, while downtown, you can visit the entertainment district where you can have a cocktail while you walk around and enjoy ships. You can also go to the Butler Center and check out various art galleries, and more.

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