Valentine’s Day is hyped up to be the most romantic time of the year. However, between dinners, gifts, boxes of chocolates and red roses, it can quickly become one of the most expensive times of the year. It’s important to remember that showing your loved ones how much they mean to you doesn’t have to break the bank.
To help you achieve that romantic evening without emptying your pockets, we’ve come up with a few helpful ideas below:
HAVE A NIGHT IN
We all love a night out, but sometimes staying in can be a more cost-effective and relaxing way to enjoy an evening. Not only will you save on that fancy restaurant meal, but you’ll also avoid Valentine’s crowds and line-ups.
Three ways you can make your “at-home Valentine’s date” extra special are:
- Make a meal together. Cooking with your loved one can not only be more cost-effective, but it can also be a fun and intimate way to spend an evening. If you aren’t the most creative in the kitchen, try a meal service like Hello Fresh or Good Food that delivers a preassembled meal kit right to your door, often at a fraction of the price of a sit-down dinner.
- Watch a movie at home. You don’t have to go to the theatre to enjoy a romantic movie. Take advantage of streaming sites like Netflix, Crave and Amazon Prime. If you don’t already have these services, many offer free 30 day trails for potential new customers. Have cable? Browse pay-per-view and see if anything catches your eye. These options measured against the cost of going to the movies can generate significant savings. To add an extra layer of fun, build a blanket fort or a mattress tower to watch the movie in a more cozy and cuddly environment.
- Take it outside. Prefer the outdoors? Bundle up and head to a local walking trail or boardwalk to enjoy a sunset stroll. Grab a hot beverage and drive to a local park or beach to stargaze. Many Canadian communities also boast free outdoor rinks, and some wildlife and nature reserve parks offer free snowshoe rentals if you’re more interested in cost-effective outdoor activities.
DON’T BLOW YOUR BUDGET ON A GIFT
Whether this is the first Valentine’s Day you’ll be spending with your significant other or the 15th, blowing your budget on a gift can have a serious impact on your finances. In reality, the gifts that mean the most to us are often those with the most thought, and Valentine’s Day is no different. This year try:
- Getting help from the internet. Like many other issues in our lives, the World Wide Web can offer solutions and ideas for inexpensive, yet meaningful gifts for our loved ones. Check out online shopping sites like Amazon, Kijiji and eBay for more affordable options on a variety of items. No cash on hand? Websites like Pinterest can offer hundreds of homemade gift ideas, with little to no cost.
- Give the gift of time. Sometimes the best gift a partner can receive is dedicated time together. Try a new bonding activity with your partner instead of a traditional gift. Paint a painting, have a cooking competition, face off in YouTube Karaoke, have a movie marathon of their favourite films, or serve breakfast in bed – these are just a few ways to show you care by giving your time.
- Buy a day late or buy early. If your heart is still set on going all out but money is tight. Ask your partner if they’d be ok with celebrating Valentines after February 14th. The day after any holiday is when most business attempt to clear out their holiday stock. Take advantage of this and you could end up paying half the price you would have the day before. It’s also beneficial to plan ahead. Next year, check out Boxing Day sales for deals on jewelry, apparel and electronics that you might want to gift for Valentine’s Day. Shopping ahead of time can not only keep you on budget, but can help you avoid that last minute rush to find the perfect gift, no matter the cost.
DON’T BUY INTO THE FEBRUARY 14 HYPE
Some partners don’t feel the need to celebrate their appreciation of one another on Valentine’s Day itself. If you prefer this approach there are a number of ways to have a perfect day on a different date.
- Check out free admission days. Many museums, art galleries and even some theatres, offer free admission either one day a week or one day a month. Some also offer a “pay what you can” option. If you’re looking for a romantic date that’s not necessarily on Valentine’s Day, this could be a great and cost-effective way to spend time with your partner and get to know your community in a bit better.
- Visit a weekend farmers market, craft show or cultural event. While you may have to pay an admission fee, you might also be treated to a dance or theatre performance, giveaways, live music, food samples and more. Check out your local events board or the events section on your Facebook to see what’s going on in your community.
- Save for your future together. If you’re willing to scrap Valentine’s Day altogether, you and your partner could use the saved funds toward a dream trip or an item you need for your home. One clever idea is to start a savings jar where you can physically put your money. Decorate your jar to match your goal, keep it in a safe yet memorable place, and watch your savings grow together.
There are many ways to have a cost-effective and romantic date on Valentine’s Day or any day of the year. We hope our ideas will help out with not only your Valentine’s Day planning but also your budget and expenses. If you have your own tips to share with couples looking to save this Valentine’s Day, we’d love to hear them. Share them with us by tweeting @GTDebtRelief.