How to Plan a Valentine’s Date You Can Afford

Kristina Kraus
Greater Nevada Credit Union
Roses, chocolates, jewelry and dinner all come to mind when planning a Valentine’s date. However they can also lead to money burning a hole in your pocket.  This year, the average American is predicted to spend $142.31 on Valentine’s Day, which is a bit much if you ask me.

You shouldn’t feel pressured to over spend. So how does one plan the perfect Valentine’s without breaking the bank?

Be Original

Yes, chocolates and steak house reservations sound easy, but putting a little more thought into it could be kinder on your wallet. Think about the person you’re with and decide if a flashy, expensive restaurant actually fits their personality.

Maybe your significant other prefers hamburgers or pizza and someplace that’s comfortable and familiar. If that’s the case, one way to make the date more special is to bring their favorite bottle of wine if the restaurant will allow it.

Maybe your date does prefer finer food, which is okay too. How about instead of spending $50 per plate at a fancy restaurant, you cook the meal yourself at home and add some candles at the dining table. You’ve probably heard that buying groceries is more cost effective then dining out and that’s because it’s true.

Giving a Gift vs a Date

I often feel like the hardest part about Valentine’s is the gift giving, especially coming right off the holiday season. If you can’t think about a special yet affordable gift, pick an activity your other half likes and offer to go the extra mile for them. For me it’s sushi. I am not a fan of raw fish but my boyfriend loves it so as a treat I told him I would take him to sushi (as long as they have chicken teriyaki, of course).  You could also enjoy a local event or play, or if the weather is nice, go hiking or biking and pack a lunch.

Buying Flowers

As a female I have to say that receiving flowers is a very nice gesture but I do realize how expensive they are. Some men search and buy from the first florist they can find online but that’s not always the most cost-effective route. Discount or bulk stores like Costco are another option. They often have beautiful arrangements for considerably less.  Or you can grab a small bouquet from your local grocery store and spice it up with a unique vase or wrap.

If a florist is the most convenient option for you, remember it’s the thought that counts. Take the time to pick up the flowers yourself versus spending extra money on the delivery fee, which can be pricey. Also, no one said you had to get a dozen roses. Half a dozen looks just as beautiful.

Spending on special occasions like Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive. To make it even easier, set aside money in your budget for these kinds of things and save regularly all year long. That way, you can enjoy the moment and not worry about costs. 
2/12/15