Valentine’s Day is synonymous with love but it’s also synonymous with spending. Over the past five years, Americans spent an average of 18.5 billion dollars each year on Valentine’s Day, which works out to around $140 per person for the portion of the population that celebrate. To stay within budget, we recommend following the two key tips below:
Set Expectations and a Budget
A holiday can quickly derail financial plans like paying down a credit card or saving a certain amount of money. If you and your significant other are planning your Valentine’s Day together, this could be a great time to decide how much you’re willing to spend on this holiday. This might be a little more difficult or uncomfortable if you’re in a new(er) relationship. However, you can still get your point across by letting them know you would prefer to keep celebrations to a minimum.
If your other half is still on the fence about having a frugal Valentine’s Day, let them know where you think the money will be better spent. Remind them of something you’re both saving for, whether it’s a new coffee table or an all-inclusive vacation.
Once you set those expectations and remind one another of financial priorities, it’s easier to spend less without feeling like you’re not doing enough.
If you’re single and thinking about spending some money on yourself for “Singles Awareness Day,” you can follow similar rules. Don’t shop just for the sake of it. If you choose to treat yourself, keep it small, and put money towards your savings instead. In the event you’ve overspent already, consider whether you should be making a return to put you back within budget.
Keep Things Sentimental
Just because you’re not spending a fortune on Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t be romantic. Avoid seemingly meaningless gifts that your lover will just put on a shelf or in a drawer. Here’s a simple formula for coming up with a thoughtful yet low-budget gift:
Take a hint
If you have been keeping your ears open, there’s a good chance there’s something small that they’ve mentioned or complained about that can inspire the perfect gift to make their day.
For example, someone with a sweet tooth might often remind you of some random but delicious, British chocolate bar they had two years ago that they can never find. Chances are, there might be a local sweet shop or specialty store that sells these sweets, or perhaps you can buy them online.
Add a little something extra
- Flowers and plants are proven to make someone feel better. If you can’t afford the standard dozen, a single flower, or an odd number (like three, five, or seven) of roses or tulips will create a more visually appealing small bouquet compared to one with an even number of flowers.
- Buy a lottery ticket using significant dates such as your anniversary and birthdays as the numbers. Make sure you agree to split the earnings ahead of time in case you do hit the jackpot.
- Create some love coupons and add a cheesy disclaimer. If you’re not a morning person, it may make sense to qualify that the coupons are “only valid between 9:30 am and 12:00 pm on weekends.”
Give a card or handwritten note
This can be as many or as few words as you like, but it can be your `wow’ factor. Be sure to write the date in the top corner and if you buy a card, don’t let it speak for itself. Companies sell 7 billion greeting cards every year, so write something special.
Your humble, yet sentimental gift is likely to be well received if you do something simple and sweet. If the goal is to not spend a lot of money, with some effort and creativity, you can give a great gift for under $30.
You can celebrate Valentine’s Day in many ways, but you don’t always have to use your wallet to show someone you care. Set a budget and buy or make a memorable gift that will remind you both why you chose one another as your Valentines. If you’re still looking for low-cost ways to celebrate, check out these 25 Date Night Ideas.