While most Valentine's Day plans typically include plans for significant others and family members, more and more people are also celebrating friends, co-workers, pets, teachers, and classmates. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans celebrating Valentine's Day spent an average of $193 last year. As a whole, Valentine's Day sales were expected to reach a total of $25.9 billion — making last year the second-highest year on record. However, you don't have to rack up a large credit card bill or drain your checking account to share the love. We're sharing ways you can have a meaningful, budget-friendly Valentine's Day.
Stay home and celebrate
Whether you cook together or surprise the one you love with a special dish, there are very few things that are as meaningful or romantic as a home-cooked meal. Shrimp sauteed in garlic and butter, a simple pasta dish, or a small meat and cheese platter are a great way to show you care. You could also create a fun Valentine's date or family night at home by planning a movie night complete with everyone's favorite snacks.
Save when you dine out
If you decide to celebrate by dining out, consider making reservations or celebrating a few days early to avoid the crowds. Also, consider sharing a few romantic appetizers and dessert instead of ordering entrees. Check reputable sites for coupons or dining discounts or enjoy a Valentine's breakfast or lunch instead of dinner.
Gifts are always a nice way to show someone you care, but instead of flowers or jewelry, consider giving an inexpensive but fun experience that you can share with your loved one. Make plans to go for a hike, visit a museum, paint together, or attend a production at your local community theater. You could also make something special like a card or poem, press some flowers in a journal, create an album full of fond memories, purchase a nice bouquet from your local supermarket in lieu of a dozen roses, or redeem any credit card rewards points you have saved up on a nice gift or romantic getaway.
Budget for a proposal
If you're planning to pop the question, plan ahead. Set a manageable budget and stick to it. When shopping for an engagement ring, use the internet as a guide to check prices and compare them with local jewelers. Consider alternative stones besides diamonds and try to avoid buying a ring between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, where you're more likely to pay full price for the setting and get caught up in the crowds.
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