3Rivers Blog

How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Posted on Friday, February 3, 2017

Valentine's Day may be one of the sweetest holidays of the year, but the cost of it can leave a pretty bitter taste behind. Celebrating your love doesn't have to break the bank, though! We've got budget-friendly ideas that are just as special - if not more so - than the traditional flowers-and-dinner-and-gifts-and-a-movie-night out!

Image source: Shutterstock.com / Photographer: Melpomene

Set a Budget

If you and your sweetheart have a tradition of giving gifts and just can't come to terms with breaking it, then you don't have to. Instead, add a bit of a twist and challenge to that tradition this year and set a budget. This won't only help both of you save money, it'll prevent the feelings of guilt that often come about when trading surprises (feeling like your gift wasn't on the same level, or that you clearly didn't spend as much time or money purchasing a gift.)

Find that you are quickly going over your limit? Cut costs even further by crafting your own cards, make-shifting gift wrap, and swapping the overly-priced Valentine's themed candy for something from the regular candy aisle.

Stay In

Sure, going out to a fancy restaurant might seem more romantic, but it can end up costing you far more - in both time and stress - than you plan for. Who wants to stand next to a freezing, breezy entryway in the middle of a packed crowd for an hour, waiting to be seated? And let's face it - you'll probably end up ordering an extra drink or two and top it all off with dessert to celebrate the occasion, which will cause your bill to skyrocket. Follow it up with a movie or a trip to the ballet and you can kiss your last paycheck goodbye.

Here are some tips for making a night in just as exciting as a night out:

Set the Mood

Take some time to make your same-old-space a little more special for the night. Clean it up, light a few candles, place some fresh-cut flowers on the table, turn on your favorite album, and dim the lights. Instant cozy vibes!

Upgrade Dinner

Make sure you get a little creative with your at-home meal, and don't just whip up a dinner that you and your significant other already have once a week. Check out these fancy, budget friendly meal ideas for some inspiration. And don't forget dessert!

Plan an Activity

A movie is always a great way to relax after dinner, but again - if you're staying in for Valentine's Day, you'll want to break out of your standard routine to make things memorable (read: don't just plop down on the sofa and continue on with whatever Netflix show you've been binging together!) Create a fort in the living room before you turn on the tube. Serve dinner indoor picnic style. Break out the board games. Get silly and do a little karaoke, play video games together, plan a photo shoot, or start a puzzle.

Search for Deals

If you really want to break out of the house, look for deals first. Make use of any gift cards or coupon books you received over the holidays. Check out restaurant, theater, and other entertainment venues' social media sites, or call ahead, to see if they're offering any special promotions for Valentine's Day. Also consider searching Groupon and LivingSocial for discounts at establishments in your area.

Create Memories for Free

Consider all of the free options you have at your disposal to create a unique and memorable Valentine's Day. Take a look at your city's community events calendar and see if there are any free or affordable shows, presentations, classes, or other forms of entertainment happening that will work with your schedule. Take a stroll through free exhibits at art and history museums, bundle up and take a walk through downtown, the grounds of a local college campus, or a state park. Write poems or letters for each other and read them aloud. Have an at-home spa day. Find a babysitter and simply take a few hours to catch up over coffee and homemade cookies. The options are endless!

Don't forget the kiddos! There are plenty of free activities to keep kids entertained on Valentine's Day, too!