Valdosta Daily Times

February 10, 2013

Brittany's Budget Diary: Nothing says love like cheap food

Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — If you're trying to figure out what that smell is, it's not all the illegal dumping from Lowndes County closing trash drop-off areas, it's love in the air. Aww, yes! Valentine's Day is just a mere four days away and it's time for you to lust open that budgeteer wallet and show your special someone that love and budget can co-exist in the same sentence.

If you’re looking for a romantic night out on the town, here is a list of some of my favorite restaurants that will have some great deals:

Outback Steakhouse

Thursday, Feb. 14 through Sunday, Feb. 17 enjoy a Valentine's meal for two for just $36.99. It includes a Bloomin' Onion, your choice of a freshly made side and side salad (per person), two Outback Special Sirloins and a classic cheesecake dessert to share. You can upgrade those sirloins to filets for just an additional $10.

Texas Roadhouse

Thursday, Feb. 13 through Saturday, Feb. 16, enjoy a Valentine's value for two for just $34.99. The deal includes one appetizer — cactus blossom, fried pickles, or cheese fries — two entrees — BBQ chicken and ribs combo, 12 oz. ribeye, or 12 oz. prime rib — served with two made-from-scratch sides.

LongHorn Steakhouse

While it's not a Valentine's Day special, you can get an inexpensive dinner for two. On a pre-selected menu, you choose one appetizer or dessert to share — Texas Tonion, spinach dip, smoking' sweet calamari, bananas foster sundae or a turtle sundae — two side salads, two entrees — 6 oz. Renegade Sirloin, parmesan crusted chicken, sierra chicken, LongHorn salmon, cowboy pork chop — and all for just $25. Upgrade to the Flo's Filet for just $6 per serving.

Olive Garden

For just a limited time only, enjoy a three-course Italian dinner for just $12.95. The meal includes unlimited breadsticks and salad or homemade soup, one of five new entrees — parmesan-potato crusted chicken, penne di mare, grilled chicken toscano, three-cheese pomodoro ravioli and bucatini with meat sauce — and a dessert or specialty coffee — chocolate mousse cake or dolcini (five mini-desserts) or caramel hazelnut macchiato, caffe mocha, Italian cappuccino, latte and espresso — adding up to just $25.90 before tax and tip.

Steel Magnolias

This restaurant is always decorated to impress and provides the perfect setting for your intimate Valentine's Day date. They will have a full menu with prices ranging from $17 to $37 a plate and will also have some special items available on the holiday.

306 North

306 will provide the perfect setting for your intimate night out and in addition to their always wonderful menu, they will have some special Valentine's Day meals. Aside from some fresh fish specials, their menu will feature a plate of filet and lobster tail served with a twice baked potato, jumbo asparagus and your choice of salad for just $32. Fresh flowers and dessert specials will also be available to add that extra something special.

If you can't afford to go out for dinner, don't cry, I am an equal opportunist and let's face it, broke folks need love to! Here are some cheap romantic ideas (cheap on the budget, not on the love):

• Cook dinner yourself and create a special, intimate table setting. Before I married Cameron, he did this for me one Valentine's Day in his dorm room at Valdosta State University. He cooked me parmesan chicken (shake n' bake of course) all by himself and even had my favorite dessert prepared, a banana split. He set a small table with a tablecloth in his room with the lights out and illuminated by a candle. But don't tell VSU that, candles aren't allowed in the dorms and what can I say? I fall hard for bad boys. Of course the table was set with fresh flowers and he was playing a mix of our special songs on his laptop.

• If you do cook at home, do something special for dessert. After all, that is the best part. Southern Landing has a red velvet cheese cake to die for! Go pick up a slice to share and even if you spend Valentine's Day eating a $5 pizza, that cheesecake will make you feel like you just ate a million bucks (metaphorically of course, the cake literally doesn't taste like paper).

• Do a romantic movie night at home. Fellas', bite the bullet and just pop in The Notebook already. We all know it's a great movie and you complaining about it only proves how insecure you are in your masculinity. Like a good wife, I have stripped my husband of things like that so he cuddles up to Ryan Gosling with no shame. If you want a movie that's more fun, try He's Just Not That Into You or She's Out of My League. Top the night off with popcorn and a cozy blanket and you're good to go.


Most importantly, remember this piece of advice above all else. If your significant other says they don't want to do anything, don't take that literally. Sure, you don't have to drop money on gifts, but at least acknowledge the day with a card, flowers, or even a happy Valentine's Day kiss. Seriously, don't be that person. The whole ‘Valentine's Day is just a corporate scheme’ is outplayed and just bitter. Love is awesome. Get over it.

Don't forget to like me on my new Facebook page at and follow me on Twitter @VDT_Brittany.