I’ll admit that I’ve always given Valentine’s Day a hard time. I’ve said it’s a scheme, a waste of money and that $5 teddy bears aren’t proper displays of affection.

But as I started to think about Valentine’s Day, I remembered my mom setting up baskets of candy and love notes for my sisters and me to wake up to. I remembered nervously dropping that “Be mine?” card into my crush’s valentine’s bag in third grade.

I’m not sure what’s made me feel nostalgic, but it’s helped me realize that Valentine’s Day can be special. It’s just a matter of how you celebrate it. So this week, I’ve come up with some ways to celebrate that won’t make you feel like you’re wasting money on useless junk.

Homemade cards

If your kids need paper valentines to hand out at school, get them to make their own. Most kids love arts and crafts, and it’s a fun way to keep them occupied for an hour or two over the weekend. Hobby Lobby has all Valentine’s-themed crafts for 30 percent off.

With leftover supplies, make some personalized greeting cards instead of buying them at a store. Insert a note to your spouse or a friend who may be having a rough time.

Date night

If you’re in a relationship, Valentine’s Day can be a lot of pressure, especially if you’re on a budget. Instead, plan something unusual and romantic instead of going out for an expensive dinner and buying gifts.

Look up a new recipe and cook dinner at home. Set the table with candles and roses and it can be just as romantic as a restaurant setting. Plus, most grocery stores are running deals on all the items you’ll need.

Publix, for example, has boneless New York strip steaks for $7.99 a pound this week, about $5 cheaper than usual. It also has 50 percent off select wines.

If you’re set on buying gifts, consider tickets to something you can do together, such as a tour of one of the local plantations or a performance.

Host a singles party

Of course, Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples. Singles can make a night of it by arranging a similar type of dinner with friends. Stock up on champagne and sweets and watch some of your favorite romantic comedies.

Korbel champagne is on sale for $10.99 at Publix. When you buy two dozen Valentine-themed cupcakes for $14.99 at Bi-Lo, you earn 20 cents off each gallon of gas purchased through a bonus card.

And if you like Valentine’s Day for the chocolate, wait until after the holiday. Most stores will be selling it for a fraction of its usual price.

Email Abigail Darlington at charlestonsavvyshopper@postand courier.com. Find more ways to save at www.charlestonsavvyshopper.com.