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Valentine's Day is known for romantic gifts and grand gestures, but celebrating your sweetie can get expensive. Average spending in 2023 came in at just under $200, according to the National Retail Federation. The upside is that there are plenty of ways to celebrate that won't break the bank. Here are seven simple strategies to save money this Valentine's Day.
1. Celebrate at Home
Skip the crowded restaurants (and pricey menu items) and create a romantic Valentine's Day at home. Some budget-friendly ideas include:
- Cooking dinner together
- Making a decadent dessert like chocolate fondue or homemade ice cream
- Ordering takeout and watching a movie
- Setting up a DIY wine or dessert tasting
- Creating an at-home spa experience with a bubble bath, candles and relaxing music
- Going all in on game night
- Taking an online class together like dancing, yoga, cooking or another activity you're both interested in
2. Pay With Gift Cards
If you've got any gift cards laying around from the holidays, you can put them to good use on Valentine's Day. First take stock of what you have to see if your partner might like anything from those businesses. That can include gifts, dinner or experiences. If not, you can check out an online gift card exchange to sell or trade your cards. Friends and family members might also be open to bartering. Another option is buying discounted gift cards to put toward Valentine's Day spending.
3. Redeem Credit Card Rewards
Credit card rewards can go a long way on Valentine's Day. A cash back card, for example, allows you to earn money on everyday purchases and one-off transactions. If you have a 2% cash back reward, you'll earn $2 for every $100 spent. You can redeem your rewards by requesting a check or initiating a transfer to your bank account. Your credit card issuer might also let you trade your earned cash for gift cards. That could come in handy when you're planning your Valentine's Day celebration.
4. Take Advantage of Valentine's Day Specials
Check to see if any local businesses are running Valentine's Day promotions. That includes:
- Nail salons
- Gyms and yoga studios
- Theme parks
- City tour guides
You might be able to snag discounted goodies or services. For example, a nearby spa might be running a sale on couples massages. Be sure to follow local businesses on social media to see what's available. Sites like Groupon are another good place to look.
5. Go With Homemade Gifts
You can have a meaningful Valentine's Day without splurging on expensive jewelry and designer products. Homemade gifts can be a thoughtful alternative that shows your partner just how much you care. Below are some ideas to get you started:
- Write and share poetry or music that's inspired by your partner.
- Make a tray of your partner's favorite desserts.
- Take a candle- or soap-making class and create a one-of-a-kind gift.
- Put together a photo album of your favorite memories and experiences as a couple.
- Make a recipe book of your partner's favorite meals.
6. Enjoy the Outdoors
Instead of making dinner reservations, consider spending Valentine's Day outside. There are plenty of free and low-cost options that can be just as romantic. You might want to put the following options on your list:
- Enjoying a special meal on the beach
- Packing a picnic at a park or botanical garden
- Taking a downtown stroll or walk in a cute neighborhood
- Going for a hike or exploring a nature trail
- Taking a bike tour
- Signing up for an outdoor exercise or art class
7. Agree on a Spending Limit
Talk with your partner about what Valentine's Day means to them and how they'd like to spend it. You may discover that expensive gifts and a fancy night on the town aren't that important to them. A romantic night at home might be more meaningful. You can also set a spending limit that feels right for the two of you. That can prevent one person from spending more than the other, which could lead to an awkward exchange. The main takeaway is to keep the lines of communication open.
The Bottom Line
Valentine's Day is about letting your significant other know how much you care about them. It's easy to go overboard on gifts and experiences, but these tips can help keep your budget in check. What matters most is doing things that are meaningful to you and your partner.
Keeping up with your financial health can also be good for your relationship, especially if you share money with your partner. You can both check your credit reports and credit scores for free with Experian.