Holidays and special occasions can make sticking to your monthly budget especially challenging. Valentine's Day comes with its own unique pressures, as a bad Valentine's Day can cause some serious relationship strife.
Many traditional Valentine’s Day ideas – long-stemmed roses, fancy restaurants, giant teddy bears – are costly, but if you get a little creative, you can come up with lots of ways to save money while still being thoughtful. For some inspiration, here are five romantic Valentine's Day ideas that are unexpected and affordable.
1) Take a Valentine's Day hike and picnic
Try to find one that will have a nice spot with a view for you to settle in for a picnic. You can bring some wine juice boxes and make up some easy-to-carry dishes. If it's cold where you are, be sure to bring a blanket, so you can snuggle to keep each other warm.
2) Make a heart-y dinner at home (pun intended)
If the outdoors isn't your style, or the weather is horrendous, you may find it's surprisingly easy to make a regular night at home into a special Valentine's Day experience. Cooking together is a good excuse to spend time together away from a screen, so pick out a good recipe that takes some time and uses ingredients that you can manage on your monthly budget.
Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Create a fancy steakhouse experience at home
- Make homemade pasta
- Roll some dough for a favorite pizza-at-home
These are just a start, there are tons of recipes available for free online so do a search for your sweetie's favorite dish and throw in the keyword "affordable" to see what comes up.
Bonus savings tip: Romantic doesn't have to mean leaving the kids out of it. Save some extra money by ditching the babysitter, and enlist them to help with the cooking (but keep the wine to yourselves).
3) Ditch the store-bought chocolates and make your own sweets
This can be tacked on to number two, or become the main event in and of itself. There's just something automatically romantic about a delicious dessert, but you pay a premium for basic treats like chocolate-covered strawberries on Valentine's Day.
Grab some budget bubbly, and pick out a recipe or two to treat yourselves.
A few delectable Valentine's day tempting treats:
4) Agree to celebrate Valentine's Day a week late
In the days following Valentine's Day, the grocery store will have lots of deals on any Valentine's Day–themed gifts and sweets that didn't sell before the big day. If you and your significant other can agree to pick your own Valentine's Day, some day after the official holiday, you can benefit from the deals.
You can also have a nice dinner out without worrying about the crowds, or the overpriced and rushed fixed-price menus standard on Valentine's Day.
5) Think of creative, thoughtful homemade gifts to exchange
Homemade gifts are a great way to save money and are oftentimes more meaningful than a more expensive alternative anyways. Scrapbooks or other gifts that incorporate special memories you share pack more sentimental value than any piece of jewelry ever could.
Bonus savings tip: You can get the kids involved and make it a crafts night where you all make each other Valentine's Day gifts. You can always find clever ideas on Pinterest using what you have on hand.