Ideas for a Memorable Valentine’s Day on a Budget

by Travis Lofley

I read recently that dating can cost more than $700 a year for the average person. Wow! That figure doesn’t even include the added cost of February, when people pull out all the stops for a memorable Valentine’s Day.

However, since I first met my wife nearly 10 years ago, I’ve found ways to enjoy this day with her and still stay within our budget. I’ve also been able to apply my ideas to the rest of the year to help us spend less and save more on dates. Do you shudder looking at your bank account after each Valentine’s Day? These five tips might be of some help.

Be a Kid Again

Mini golf, laser tag, bumper cars – think about all the things you enjoyed doing as a kid and consider doing them again with your date for Valentine’s Day. You’ll have a night full of memories while sharing laughs with your special someone. After all, how many candle light dinners at a fancy restaurant with a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers can you have before they all kind of run together and feel the same?

Stay In and Cook at Home

You’ll almost always save money staying at home instead of going out, even if you’re eating the exact same thing. Cook your favorite meal from home – Pinterest often has great recipes – and set the mood with dimmed lights or candles. You can even have your dinner like a picnic by spreading out a blanket on your living room floor and eating in front of the fireplace. People always enjoy being wooed by their date on Valentine’s Day, and cooking them their favorite meal in an intimate environment is an easy way to make a special evening.

Give Homemade Gifts

There are plenty of options for great gifts without emptying your wallet at the places like the jewelry store. Consider things like a, a poem, a painting, a photo collage, or a slideshow with photos from times you’ve shared with your significant other are great ways to show genuine thoughtfulness without spending much. You’re giving something very personal, instead of trying to choose something that represents your relationship … made by someone else.


If you buy flowers, they’re going to wither, dry out, and lose their beauty – often quicker than you expect. Why give something to someone special in your life that’s just going to be in the trash can next week. What about origami flowers? They’re easy to learn how to make and will last much longer than real flowers. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube and other websites that will show you the basics. Plus, you might be able to personalize them by creating them from pages in your date’s favorite magazine or comics or something similar.

These are just some of the ideas I’ve tried over the past few years to celebrate Valentine’s Day that have taken the financial pressure off, while still providing a great evening for my wife and me. I hope all of you will enjoy trying them and have a memorable evening.

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