The National Retail Foundation says that consumer spending on Valentine’s Day last year averaged $143.56, for a total of $19.6 billion going to the benefit of retailers. It may not seem like a lot of money and if you have this in your budget, awesome. But a lot of you are probably still paying off 2018 holiday shopping bills. You may still be working on getting out of the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. So, $144 or more from your monthly budget might be too much of a stretch, or even impossible. You need a way to save money on Valentine’s Day.
How to Make Your Valentine’s Day Affordable
You know that old saying ”it’s the thought that counts”? It sounds phony, but it’s true. Time spent together without interruption, mobile devices or anything else that separates you, is priceless. All it takes is a bit of planning, creativity and, open-mindedness. This latter point is particularly important because we all have expectations about Valentine’s Day. They go all the way back to when we were in elementary school and our friends got more hearts than we did.
Being budget-conscious doesn’t mean being cheap. It means that you infuse your Valentine’s Day gift with thoughtfulness rather than extravagance.
5 Tips to Help You Save Money on Valentine’s Day
#1 Plan a fun outing.
Take your sweetheart out for a fun day or evening of activities. This shows that you have thought about it PLUS it shows that you have invested some time in learning what your loved one enjoys.
Which gets us to the next tip:
#2 Cook Up a Gourmet Meal at Home
Going out to the restaurant is not only expensive but can be stressful too. It is one of the most popular times of the year for restaurant reservations. One way to save money on Valentine’s Day is to prepare a gourmet meal at home. Find your favorite cooking book or go online for examples and lessons so you can whip up a five-star meal to wow your special one. Set the table with candles, put on your favorite music, and enjoy.
If you’re still nervous about all of this, a meal kit from HelloFresh is your salvation. You can select from a variety of menus, they send you all the ingredients. Everything is packaged separately, so you don’t even have to worry about measuring the ingredients correctly.
#3 The Flowers
A Twitter poll revealed that less than 10 percent of those who responded are expecting flowers. Most of the respondents replied that flowers are nice but not necessary. It may not pass scientific scrutiny, but the poll tells us that the small fortune we spend on flowers may not be worth it. This is especially important because the prices for flowers catapults skyward before Valentine’s Day. That same bouquet of flowers you could have purchased in January for $35 is going to cost you around $50 or more now. A lot depends upon where you purchase the flowers too. If your loved one is one of those who expects flowers, then look for more affordable outlets and go local. Flowers grown locally and in-season are cheaper.
#4 Save Money on Valentine’s Day at Target
If you prefer to purchase a Valentine’s Day present, then Target should be your destination. The store is filled with affordable gifts, less than $25. If your budget is larger, then you will have money leftover to go to the movies. Otherwise, you can pick up some romantic movies at Target to watch at home. And in my opinion, nothing goes better with a night at the movies than a box of chocolate! Target has Belgian chocolates, like Godiva, for around $20.
#5 Make a Coupon Book
This is the gift that keeps on giving. Make a coupon book of free services that you will give to your beloved throughout the year. For instance, there could be a coupon for massages, household tasks, outdoor adventures, home-cooked meals, breakfast in bed, or just “I love you.” You can find design ideas at DIY or download ready-made coupon books from places like Pinterest, FTD or Better Homes and Gardens. You can Google to find more online resources for Valentine’s Day ready-made coupon books.