Valentine’s Day for Under $100

By Mike Peterson
In February 14, 2012

I’m not a romance guru, and I’m not the first guy anybody would go to for dating advice.  But I am good at helping people save money and live within their means.  So, if you’re looking for a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day without getting yourself into debt or spending way too much, here are a few things you can do.

According to a study by the Better Business Bureau, the average person will spend around $126.  I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a lot of money.  Of course, that’s the cost for your “typical” Valentine’s Day:  Red roses, a fancy dinner, and a box of chocolates.

The thing is, though, if you get creative, you can have a romantic evening for way less than the average person.  You can still have the flowers, the dinner, and even the chocolate – but you can also keep your bank account out of the red.

Let’s’ take a look at each component of a “typical” Valentine’s Day and a few wallet-friendly alternatives:

Red Roses

Red roses are the “go-to” Valentine’s Day gift.  But they can get expensive – a dozen red roses will typically set you back $50 – and maybe more if you splurge on a fancy vase.

If you want to give flowers, consider going beyond the typical red rose.  You can get bouquets of other varieties, like tulips, stargazer lilies, or daisies, for around $30.  If red roses are an absolute “must,” consider a single red rose.  If your significant other has a green thumb, consider a pot of red mini-roses – mini-roses run about $30, but unlike regular cut roses, you can plant them in your garden and make them last.

A Fancy Dinner

There are lots of reasons to avoid restaurants on Valentine’s Day:  First of all, there’s the cost.  Even at a mid-priced restaurant, you’re probably looking at around $50, plus a tip (probably more if you order appetizers, dessert, or any other extras).  Second, there’s the crowds: Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular holidays for dining out, so if you’re looking for a quiet, intimate evening, you might want to look elsewhere.

Instead of dining out, consider a romantic dinner at home.  Make your favorite meal (or get a pre-made dinner for two from your local grocery store), light a few candles, and get dressed up.  You don’t have to tip and you don’t have to wait for a table.  If you really want to go out on the town, consider going out for dessert.  You still get the experience of dining out, but for a fraction of the cost of a full dinner.

A Box of Chocolates

Instead of splurging on overpriced chocolates, consider a homemade gift. If you want to give something sweet, you can bake your own cookies or cupcakes – you can use heart-shaped cookie cutters or Valentine’s-themed decorations and still save money.  A box of chocolates might cost you around $30, but a box of cupcake mix and some red sprinkles costs about five bucks.

 Or, if your significant other isn’t into sweets, consider other thoughtful, DIY gifts.  Put a favorite photo in a frame (check out stores like Target or Walmart for stylish, economical frames) or make a book of “coupons” good for household chores.

Mike is the author of “Reality Millionaire: Proven Tips to Retire Rich” and he has been published in a variety of local and national publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Deseret Morning News, LDS Living Magazine, and Physicians Money Digest. He holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

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