Tips for Staying on Your Budget This Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and it’s hard to not get caught up in the flood of red and pink hearts. While dreams of an exotic trip, fancy dinner and brand-new diamonds are fun, having the funds or free time to accommodate such extravagant gifts may not be reality. Here are a few ways to manage expectations, and your budget, for Valentine’s Day.
Movies and television shows are full of sweeping gestures — being whisked away for a surprise trip, public serenades from football stadium bleachers, scaling a fire escape to declare undying love — all of which look beautiful on the big screen but aren’t something you’d encounter in everyday life. While we may love these romantic scenes, they don’t offer realistic ideas for a thoughtful Valentine’s Day surprise. Instead, try finding practical ways to show your love for one another. The best gifts often aren’t about cost, but they show that you thought about your significant others’ interests and personality, says Real Simple.
Make it Meaningful
Classic Valentine’s Day gifts like diamond jewelry, rose bouquets and couture perfume can add up quickly — and while they’re nice, they may not always convey the importance of your relationship as well as less expensive gifts can. In lieu of something fancy, suggest that you each create a homemade gift. You can make a photo album of your favorite pictures or a personalized coupon book, says Better Homes and Gardens.
Celebrate the occasion by recreating your first date, says US News and World Report. Or plan on the classic dinner and a movie — making dinner together and queuing up a movie at home can be romantic without breaking your budget, says Dave Ramsey.
Another increasingly popular idea is to share an experience for the holiday, says the National Retail Federation. This can be a great way to spend time together doing something you love or have always wanted to try — such a visiting a local museum, hiking at a local park or taking a cooking class together.
Say it Simply
You can keep it simple and scrap gifts altogether. Take an hour that you and your partner would have spent shopping to write each other romantic notes. Using blank note cards and envelopes, you can write each other love notes that can be read at different times, such as after a rough day of work or when you’re away from each other, says US News and World Report. This can be very romantic and won’t cost more than a nice pack of cards or stationery.
Sometimes, less actually can be more. By shifting the focus from what your loved one will bring you this Valentine’s Day to what they bring to your life every day, you may find this to be your happiest couples holiday yet. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Originally published February 8, 2012.