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10 Ideas for a Budget-Friendly Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day spending is nothing to balk at. In 2018, the average couple spent $143.56 on Valentine's Day gifts and Valentine's Day-related expenses. Collectively, couples shelled out $4.7 billion for jewelry and $19.6 billion total for Valentine's Day in 2018.
It should come as no surprise that many believe Valentine's Day is getting too expensive. The overwhelming majority of U.S. adults celebrated Valentine's in 2009 -- 72% of young adults ages 18-34 and 65% of adults ages 35-54. This year, 55% or less plan to do something. One of the top objections is the cost and/or over-commercialization of the holiday.
There are other, better options. This year to celebrate Valentine's Day, make time for the person you love and do it all within a perfectly reasonable budget. Here are a few ways to keep Valentine's Day costs low.

Plan A Romantic Dinner At Home

Expenses add up. In some cases, they continue to increase every year. According to the 2015 Property Manager Report from Rent.com, as many as 88% of management companies raised rent costs in the last year. If you are tightening your purse strings to accommodate higher rental rates, it is still more than possible to celebrate Valentine's Day and make it a memorable one, too! One way to do that is to plan a romantic dinner at home.
For a romantic dinner at home, start by setting the mood. Little touches, like candles, flowers (from the garden for a budget-friendly bouquet), tea lights, and/or rose petals, all make a big difference. Rose petals can be fake and from the craft store, putting you back just $3-$5. Choose a nice bottle of wine or champagne to share with your meal. If you are a natural in the kitchen, go for it this Valentine's Day. Prepare a three-course meal, with appetizers, a main entree, and dessert. Chocolate-covered strawberries or bacon-wrapped scallops in pomegranate sauce make great appetizers. Spinach lasagna, sweet potato ravioli, carbonara, or salmon with an orange-pecan glaze are perfect mains. For dessert, enjoy truffles, chocolate mousse, or favorites from your local bakery.

Clean The House

Nothing says romance like a clean home... really! Surprise your sweetheart this Valentine's Day by treating them to a clean house. There are over 300,000 objects in the average U.S. household. Picking them up and putting them in their proper place takes a lot of time. Devoting that time and effort to your partner is an endearing and inexpensive way to say, "I love you."

Get Artsy: Stay-In For A Paint Night

One of the most important things is having fun together. One way to do that on Valentine's Day is to organize a paint night without leaving your home. Painting is the most popular form of expression, accounting for 83% of collections worldwide. Drawings, collages, and other art on paper accounts for just 15% by contrast.
Keep it fun and lighthearted. Purchase some paints and paper at your local craft store, and turn on a Bob Ross video on YouTube.

Take A Stay-Cation

Taking your paid time off (PTO) can actually increase your work performance. Studies show that every 10 hours of used PTO translated to an 8% increase in employees' performance reviews. In 2020, Valentine's Day happens to fall on a Friday. That gives you the perfect opportunity to use some PTO for a stay-cation and use it for quality time with your significant other. Cooking dinner together, putting together your own wine-and-cheese night, going on a romantic walk, or watching a movie together are all great ideas for a romantic stay-cation.

Recreate Your First Date

What could be more romantic than recreating your first date? The average first date is relatively inexpensive. According to Glamour, couples who meet online spend just $25 for their first date. If you are introduced by friends or family, that goes up to about $40. Whether it was at a coffee shop, a restaurant, a scenic walk, the beach, or a bar, recreating your first date is a cost-effective romantic gesture.

Make Your Own Valentine's Candy

Just like flowers, chocolates can get pricey. Just 36 assorted chocolates from Godiva can set you back as much as $50! Keep Valentine's Day romantic and a good time for both of you by making your own Valentine's candy in 2020. Making your own chocolate-dipped strawberries, truffles, fudge, cherry cordials, or chocolate bark with fruit, toffee, nut, or peppermint pieces costs less than $10 on average. If your partner isn't a big fan of chocolate, baking heart-shaped cookies is another romantic, yet cost-effective option.

Sit By The Fire

Fire is romantic. According to a study from the University of Alabama, sitting by a fireplace or fire lowers blood pressure and makes people more social. That means whether you prefer a quiet and cozy night in curled up next to the fireplace or cuddling around a campfire or fire pit, the act of being near and watching a fire together relaxes and soothes you, setting up the perfect romantic atmosphere.

Have a Movie Night

A romantic movie is always a great option for a date that doesn't break the bank. There are tons of titles to choose from. Whether you pick Ghost, Titanic, Valentine's Day (pretty fitting, right?), The Notebook, Dirty Dancing, or Sleepless in Seattle, the important part is spending quality time with your significant other, making it more personal and romantic than elaborate gifts. Pop some popcorn for a more authentic movie theater-style experience.

Bring Back Good Memories

Be romantic! Show off a little, and do it for less. Play your song when your sweetheart least expects it. Go through old and not-so-old pictures, or even have them printed and bound for a special Valentine's Day gift. Save ticket stubs, menus, cards, postcards, and other small mementos. Surprise your partner by compiling these trinkets and creating a small scrapbook or shadowbox.

Stargaze Together

There are several apps you can download -- free of charge or nearly free of charge -- that reveal a great deal about the night sky. Popular apps show the position of stars and planets, constellations, and the moon. Some of them will even keep tabs on the weather, and tell you whether it is an optimal or less than optimal night to stargaze this Valentine's Day.
Valentine's Day does not have to be commercialized or expensive. Valentine's Day can be exactly what it was originally intended to be: a day to celebrate love with your partner or significant other. Cook, start a fire in the fireplace, rent a movie, paint together, or download an app to stargaze with your beloved in the backyard.


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