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Real Life On A Budget

6 Last-Minute Money Tips for Valentine’s Day

It’s February and that can only mean one thing for lovebirds across the country: Valentine’s Day is here!

The problem with Valentine’s Day is that people can get so caught up in the hype that they make bad decisions with their money. They spend and spend and spend until the Valentine’s Day bill begins to compete with the Christmas budget.

But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to spend a ton of money on Valentine’s Day. Yes, you can keep it simple and inexpensive and still have a great time.

How? Here are several tips for making Valentine’s Day special without breaking the bank.

1. Do your research.

If you’re going out to eat on Valentine’s Day, make sure you know what the restaurant is offering before you make a reservation. Some restaurants jack up prices and offer only set menus, meaning you’ll pay a flat rate and have more limited choices on what you can eat. That can get expensive. Do a little research beforehand to know what you can expect to pay.

2. Go out before or after Valentine’s Day.

To avoid those jacked-up prices, go out the night before or after Valentine’s Day. Not only will you save money, but you’ll avoid all the crowds.

3. Choose coffee and dessert.

If the budget is tight but you still want to go out, then simply head down to the coffee shop. Grab a coffee and a nice dessert for you and your date, and you’ll save a lot of money while still enjoying a great conversation.

4. Deliver your own flowers.

Guys, if you’re buying flowers, you’ll pay a lot more through a florist who delivers. Go to a farmer’s market or a local grocery store, buy your own flowers, and deliver them yourself! Chivalry isn’t dead, so prove it! Delivering the flowers yourself adds a romantic touch that your date will love.

5. Stay at home with a movie.

Sure, it’s not that creative, but you’ll still have a lot of time to talk and spend time together. Pop some popcorn, watch a movie on Netflix, and you’re good to go!

6. Invite friends over and cook.

When I was single, my group of friends used to get together on Valentine’s Day and cook a big meal. Besides being a lot of fun, this is a great way to save money because each person is only responsible for one thing. And, even if you don’t cook—well, I’m sure you can bring dessert.

Valentine’s Day is only as expensive as you make it.

The quickest way to ruin a perfect date is to overspend and make bad decisions with your money. Remember, the relationship is what’s important—not where you eat for dinner!

Enjoy this Valentine’s Day by staying on a budget and avoiding credit cards at all costs!

What are your tricks for saving money on Valentine’s Day?


  • Jay M.

    Great suggestions! We follow many of these already, even before beginning our Total Money Makeover. Now that we’re on Baby Step 2, holidays like this just don’t get much attention from us anymore. We have more important things to put our money toward. My fiancee’s birthday is on the 17th anyway, so Valentine’s and her birthday usually get combined into one night out.

  • One year when we were young and just getting started financially, we took a “tour of our romance” by visiting old spots that had meaning to us – the place we met, some spots of favorite dates we’d shared, and a $1 photo booth to commemorate the evening. It was inexpensive, but special in a way that was uniquely ours! I still remember it 27 years, 3 kids, and 4 grandkids later. 🙂

  • Erica

    My husband and I have made a tradition of buying a heart shaped pizza ($5-$7) from papa Murphy’s and renting a couple dollar movies. We get to cuddle on the couch together, save money, & avoid the crowds :).

    • lindapr

      We buy the heart-shaped Papa Muphy’s pizza every V-day too! The pizza place is right across the street from our favorite movie rental place & we have leftover pizza for lunch the next day. :)nAnother great article, Rachel!

  • Jessica Stefano

    Plan and cook a meal together at home instead of going out 🙂 If you stay home: It will cost less. You won’t feel ridiculous wearing your pajamas. You’ll stay warm and toasty during this terribly cold weather by staying near the stove/oven. You’ll have a lot of opportunities to flirt as you try to work closely in the same space. 😉 And there is nothing quite as attractive as a man who is willing to cook or share his kitchen with you.

  • Chris

    I am going to cook for my wife and we will enjoy a nice relaxing dinner together. Save money and save the headache of waiting for seats at a restaurant.

  • Carla

    We usually get a gift card for Christmas and save it for Valentine’s Day to use for dinner out. I buy a couple of bags of candy and bag it up myself in baggies and give it to thekids/grandkids/whoevernand everyone is happy! This year my budget was 0 because I had left over chocolate kisses from a bridal shower. 🙂 I also found felt heart stickers in my craft stuff. I put the candy in the baggies and the baggies in small brown bags with a felt heart!

  • Steph

    One year my husband bought Valentine’s Day cards that the kids exchange in school. He wrote sweet things on them and then hid them all over the house – in the kitchen cabinets, dresser drawers, bathroom, etc. I got to go around and find them! Even days later it was still so special to open up a book and find one that I had missed. A great present for just a couple of bucks!

  • Libbey

    Super simple, I made my husband his Valentine’s Day card and gift. There are so many things you can do with Publisher, the Internet, and a printer and it is all (nearly) free. Add a few paper cut-outs here and there, and your own sappy prose, and viola: a card that rivals even the most expensive Hallmark creation! My husband LOVES rhubarb pie so I will be making him a pie and a romantic dinner at home, no crowds, intimate setting, and very reasonable prices!

  • Chantale

    We stayed at home, opened a nice bottle of wine and cooked dinner together….and talked….soooo cute and fun!!!!