How much do you spend on Valentine's Day? Twenty dollars on chocolates? Fifty dollars on flowers? One hundred dollars on dinner for two? The totals can rack up, and in these tough economic times, can we justify such expense so soon after the holidays? Now, we're not trying to be unromantic – but perhaps you can celebrate this Valentine's Day without incurring hundreds of dollars of spending. With many of us counting the cents these days, no one will hold it against you if you resort to some cost-effective creativity in the name of love and frugality. We've rounded up some of the best ideas for a Valentine's Day on a budget – which won't break the bank, or anyone's heart. (Check out, 3 Alternative Budgeting Styles: Which One Suits You?)
The Romantic Meal for Two
If you feel that the romantic meal out for two is an obligatory part of the celebrations, then there are ways to go out without spending a small fortune. Historically, there may have been a stigma with using a discount coupon when you're having a romantic dinner for two, but chances are you will both be glad to save a few dollars in the current climate so no one will complain. often has special offers on meals, so see if there is a cheap deal to be had in your local area. Check your local papers too, as restaurants may be doing special promotions for the holiday. Of course, you could also consider "moving the date." Aside from Valentine's Day, February is a relatively quiet period for restaurants. By celebrating Valentine's a few days early or late, you may well be able to dine out for a fraction of the price.

Staying in
You could have the romantic meal for two without being crushed into a restaurant full of other couples. What about staying in this Valentine's Day? If you're a hopeless cook, fear not. The grocery stores seem to be pulling out the stops. Find a high-end grocery store that offers a take home meal and serve by candlelight with a bottle of Prosecco. (Not champagne of course, we are on a budget.) The comfort of your own home and the absence of other diners may well make this is a preferable option in terms of cost and ambiance. (For related reading, see The Premium You Pay On A Valentine Gift.)

Scrap the Card
Is there a more overpriced piece of paper than a Valentine's Day card? We're not suggesting you don't send one altogether, but you can save $4 or $5 by making your own. Don't worry if creativity is not your strong point. A homemade something is always infinitely nicer than a shop-bought option. Papers and magazines are full of Valentine's inspired stories now, so why not cut out relevant words and phrases and attach them to a piece of cardboard. Or attach a photo of you and your partner, and write where the photograph was taken and what the memory means to you. These cards will cost cents to create, and will be infinitely more personal and meaningful than anything Hallmark has to offer.

Make the Gift
Does anyone really want those cheap stuffed toys and cheesy mementos? We'd guess not, so how about taking the time to make a Valentine's gift this year. How about writing down 10 things you love about your partner on a sheet of paper and sticking it somewhere they will see it first thing in the morning, such as inside their wardrobe or on the bathroom mirror? Or you could bake a cake, make a memory box of ticket stubs and photos, write a poem, or create a simple scrapbook of the past year's memories. That way you'll be giving a gift that your partner will remember throughout the year.

Spend Time Together
Why not plan a day out together as a Valentine's treat? This doesn't need to be expensive or elaborate. How about finding free art galleries or museums to visit? Taking time to go for a long walk? Or doing all of the household chores in advance, so that you can spend the weekend watching movies and relaxing?

The Bottom Line
Valentine's Day is about spending time with the person you love – not lining the pockets of card companies, flower delivery firms and restaurants. It really is the thought that counts, and with these ideas you can have a cheap but cheerful Valentine's Day this year. (For additional reading, check out The "New" Valentine's Day.)

Related Articles
  1. Home & Auto

    4 Areas to Consider Roofing Material Types

    Roofing your home is very important, that’s why you should choose a roof specifically designed to handle your area’s climate.
  2. Budgeting

    The 5 Most Expensive States for Child Care

    To get a better sense of how child care costs can fluctuate, here's a look at the costs of child care across the country.
  3. Home & Auto

    Looking To Invest In Home Improvements?

    Some home improvement projects could cost you more to complete than they’ll pay out in equity. So, here we show you the worst projects to avoid.
  4. Fundamental Analysis

    Understanding the Internal Rate of Return Rule

    The internal rate of return rule is a popular method used to compare investments or projects.
  5. Active Trading Fundamentals

    How Groupon Makes Money

    Find out how Groupon makes money, including a rundown of how Groupon works and what benefits it provides to the businesses it partners with.
  6. Home & Auto

    Are Home Inspections Worth It? - Price vs. Value

    If you’re wondering whether home inspection is worth the investment, the following information will help you decide.
  7. Budgeting

    How to Defray Long-Term Care Expenses

    Here's a handful of options on what you can do to defray long-term care expenses.
  8. Budgeting

    The True Cost of Home Caregiving

    Caring for eldery family in-home might be unavoidable, but most caregivers don't realize the true cost of doing so.
  9. Budgeting

    Is Level Money the Perfect Budgeting Tool?

    Here’s a detailed review of how Level Money works and whether it could be the perfect tool to help you budget.
  10. Economics

    Explaining Budget Surplus

    Budget surplus is an economic term describing a situation where revenue exceeds expenditures.
  1. Internal Rate Of Return - IRR

    A metric used in capital budgeting measuring the profitability ...
  2. Debt Consolidation

    The act of combining several loans or liabilities into one loan. ...
  3. Personal Spending Plan

    Similar to a budget, a personal spending plan helps outline where ...
  4. Fudget

    A falsified statement of income and expenses. A fudget or "fudget ...
  5. Capital Project

    A long-term investment made in order to build upon, add or improve ...
  6. Haggle

    When two parties involved in the purchase of a good and service ...
  1. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the range of deductibles offered with various health insurance plans?

    A wide range of possible deductibles are available with health insurance plans, starting as low as a few hundred dollars ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I know how much of my income should be discretionary?

    While there is no hard rule for how much of a person's income should be discretionary, Inc. magazine points out that it would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What proportion of my income should I put into my demand deposit account?

    Generally speaking, aim to keep between two months and six months worth of your fixed expenses in your demand deposit accounts. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do I use the rule of 72 to estimate compounding periods?

    The rule of 72 is best used to estimate compounding periods that are factors of two (2, 4, 12, 200 and so on). This is because ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How much risk is associated with subprime mortgages?

    A large amount of risk is associated with subprime mortgages. Since the mortgages are specifically for people who do not ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!