Valentine’s Day on a Budget
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching but celebrating with your main squeeze doesn’t have to cause a financial squeeze. Like so many things, Valentine’s Day has become a bit commercial and may put pressure on you to create a “Wow” experience for your partner. Adding to that, you often have to pay a premium to eat out, travel or purchase gifts on the holiday. Despite the higher costs, the evening may still fall short of expectations due to crowds, busy kitchens, harried staff and all the hype.
There are many ways to acknowledge the holiday and honor your loved one, without breaking the bank and frequently, with the added benefit of creating an even more memorable and personal experience.
There’s No Place Like Home: Create a Romantic Date without Leaving the House
- Bring out the good china and set the table. Light some candles. Add a simple floral arrangement; an even less expensive (but still romantic) alternative would be to add rose petals.
- Make a day out of it; create a menu and do the grocery shopping and cooking together. The internet has made it fairly easy to recreate meals and desserts from your favorite restaurants and doing it together can turn the task of cooking into a fun experience.
- The days of the mix tape may be long gone, but what about creating a playlist of music that means something to you as a couple. It will be a great backdrop to the evening, literally setting the tone, but is also the gift that keeps on giving. Many music providers (Apple Music, Amazon Music and Spotify are just a few) offer free introductory trials for their subscription services, giving you access to an enormous music library at a very low cost.
Enjoy Life’s Simple Pleasures
- Carve out some time to watch the sunrise or set together. Find a local spot (like a beach, mountain or park) to double the impact and enjoy the breathtaking views.
- Pour a cup of coffee (or wine!) and actually sit together and talk while you enjoy it.
- Go for a walk or a hike if the weather allows for it.
- Unplug! Go off technology completely and give your partner your undivided attention for the day.
Still feel strongly about going out on the town?
- Celebrate off holiday: Consider going the weekend before or after
- Surprise your loved one at the office and go to a nice lunch instead
- Eat early! Sometimes an earlier reservation can save on cost with the additional benefit of beating the crowds and getting servers who are fresh.
- Plan a night out around appetizers or desserts. You can visit different places, sample different items and save considerably. Take advantage of Happy Hour pricing when you can.
- Find a good “bring your own” restaurant and bring a favorite bottle of wine with you to save on the bar tab. Before you leave, surprise your loved one with an appetizer and cocktail at home. Not only is it a thoughtful touch, but it will likely cut down on spending at the restaurant.
Meaningful Gifts that Cost Little to Nothing
- Write a Letter. Skip the expensive greeting card (unless you think that will put you in the doghouse!) and write your loved one a letter. Highlight some of your most memorable moments, what you love about the person, perhaps some dreams for the future. In the age of emails and texts, letter writing is becoming a lost art, yet people love receiving a letter or handwritten note.
- If flowers are a necessity, consider bringing home flowers a few days before rather than relying on delivery. Many times, you can get a beautiful bouquet from a grocery store or farmer’s market and if you get to hand it to your loved one, it can truly be a “special delivery!”
Whatever you decide to do, just remember that celebrating Valentine’s Day does not have to equate to spending a lot of money. As the great Greek poet and lyricist Pindar once said, “Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.”