Balancing Valentine’s Day and a Budget

Whether you’re a new couple or married for 50 years, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate being together. Gifts, flowers, candies, and candlelit dinners, who doesn’t love that? There is nothing wrong with doing something special for the occasion, but all the romance can quickly add up. Here are some ways you can spread the love without putting a big dent in your wallet.

Set a Gift Budget

There’s no rule saying that you need to spend big bucks on a gift for your significant other (and if there is, you may have a different set of problems on your hands). Setting a reasonable price range in advance will not only save some cash, but also relieve some of the dreaded gift-giving pressure by setting realistic expectations on both sides. With an agreed amount in mind, neither person will have to worry about over or under spending, which allows the focus to be on finding the perfect gift that is the right fit for both your partner AND your wallet!

Skip the Flowers

This one isn’t going to win me any fans with the ladies, but the guys will agree, flowers around Valentine’s Day are a rip-off. Florists know this is their big moment, and prices go through the roof. It’s practically impossible to spend less than $50 for some plants that will be dead and gone in two weeks. Yes, they are a nice gesture, they smell and look pretty (and you’ll be in trouble if you don’t get them) but when it’s all said and done, your money can be put to better use elsewhere.

Find Date Night Deals

Nights out can be pricey and V-Day is no different. Whatever the occasion, roll up your sleeves and scour the web for online deals. Sites like Groupon provide plenty of fun options with great discounts. Some offers get even better with bigger groups, so you can celebrate with friends too! Date nights don’t have to be limited to traditional outings like a movie. There are lots of fun, less expensive options – you just need to look!

Have a Romantic Dinner at Home

Oh, the romantic dinner. Just you, your significant other……..and the other 95 couples jam-packed into the restaurant. Valentine’s Day is a night most couples try to go out, and again, restaurants know this. They pack in as many diners as they can only to politely rush the meal in order to get you out and the next diners in. They’ve also been known to push the uber-expensive “Cupid Specials” – nothing says love like the $45 steak, and additional indulgences that can get thrown on the tab.

Instead, opt to make a fancy meal at home. If you have kids, make them part of it, so everyone has a chance to partake in something special. You don’t have to have filet mignon, but definitely aim to step it up a notch from your regular meal rotation – you’ll still be paying a fraction of the cost of eating out. And fellas, if you want to make up for the lack of flowers (who’s great idea was that?!), then be the knight in shining armor and who makes the meal and even cleans up after!

Celebrate on a Different Night

There is nothing special about the actual date of February 14th. There’s no magic that makes us any more capable of loving someone more on that day, so be creative. Take advantage of the deals and savings that come just by celebrating a day before or after. Sure, gifts and flowers won’t be much different, but it may be easier to snag that coveted reservation or enjoy other types of venues sans the crowds. Finding a deal online shouldn’t be as hard either. Hey – if you wait until the 15th you can pick up some candy (okay, and some flowers too) at some substantially slashed prices!

Don’t be afraid to do things differently than other people, including the holidays. There’s no shame in making a few tweaks so the celebration can be fun, memorable, and budget-friendly. These are just a few tips to keep everything on the right track. Happy “Frugal” Valentine’s Day!

As always, leave your best ideas in the comments!


Jeff is a fan of all things finance. When he's not out there changing the world with his blog, you can find him on a run, a Mets game, or just playing around with his kids

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