Experience Valentine’s Day


I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the fact that I was never the girl who received a bouquet of roses for others to ‘ohh and ahh’ over, or if it’s because Valentine’s Day feels like a scam invented by the candy companies to take our money and tempt us with unnecessary (and unwanted) calories. Regardless, in recent years, I’ve gotten soft. I blame it on my now-husband of almost 3 years. I guess you could call it that ooey-gooey love stuff but something about that guy makes me want to celebrate.

But just because I’ve gone from anti to advocate, doesn’t mean I’ve fallen victim to the V-Day marketing schemes. Instead of spending money on expensive gifts or fancy dinners, I’d rather create a meaningful and affordable experience that my husband and I can share, together. If this sounds like you, too, consider one of the budget-friendly Valentine’s Day experiences, below. While you’re saving money, you might just switch your tune from a V-day skeptic to a hopeless romantic.

Have a Feel Good Dinner Date: Surely, you and your partner have a similar guilty pleasure. Maybe it’s Thai takeout or maybe it’s a specialty latte from your favorite coffee shop. Avoid long wait times, crowded restaurants, and hefty bills by enjoying something delectable and meaningful to both of you.

The average cost of eating out on Valentine's Day is $287 per couple
Thai food togo and specialty Starbucks lattes, for two: about $45
Potential Savings: $242

Get Outside: Store-bought flowers are great and all, but there is so much more natural beauty in this world, and it’s free. Instead of paying that florist a small fortune, take your special someone on a drive, walk, or hike and explore outside, together.

The average cost of a dozen long-stemmed roses: $85
The average cost of exploring the outdoors: $0
Potential Savings: $85

Apple TV & Chill: Set a start time, pop some popcorn, and dim the lights. Treat an at-home movie night just like you would a date night at the theater. Plus-side: Comfy seats and no annoying commentary from strangers.

The average cost of 2 tickets to a movie: About $20 per couple
The average cost to rent a movie at home on iTunes: About $6.50
Potential Savings: $13.50

Play Games: I’ll admit, Mario Kart isn’t exactly my idea of romance, but laughing together and having fun together sure is! Pick a game that you both will enjoy, and let the games begin!

The average cost of 10 games at Dave & Busters: $40-$100 per couple
The average cost for an at-home game night: $0 (assuming you have games!)
Potential Savings: $40-$100

Create Valentine Cards Together: I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that reading a handwritten letter is a thousand times more special to me than reading someone’s else’s words scripted on the inside of a Hallmark card. Get in touch with your inner third-grader and create valentines for each other.

The average cost of a Hallmark Card: About $5
The average cost of a handwritten valentine: $0
Potential Savings: $5

No matter how you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, make sure to give the most important gift of all, your presence. Ditch your phones, turn off the TV, and just be with the person you love. It’s simple– but not easy, it’s free, and easily the most valuable thing you can offer!

I want to know what budget-friendly Valentine’s plans you have in store! Let me know if you plan to give any of these recommendations a try, or share your ideas, in the comments below.

Amber Cox is the Director of Engagement at Peak Money

Amber Cox is the Director of Engagement at Peak Money