Every year, it seems like we’ve just gotten over the Christmas expense when another big expense comes—that’s right—Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day has turned into a highly commercialized holiday. In fact, according to the History Channel, “the holiday brings in almost $14 billion annually” (History).
But the history of Valentine’s Day is anything but romantic.
The day has its roots in pagan festivities when an animal was sacrificed and young women were whipped with strips of animal skin to promote their fertility. Later, a 5th century pope turned Valentine’s Day into a Christian holiday by making it Saint Valentine’s feast day.
Who was Saint Valentine?
A priest who secretly married couples in the 3rd century AD after Emperor Claudius II banned marriage for his soldiers. Saint Valentine was discovered and sentenced to death. He was killed on February 14th, but not before he had written a love note to the jailer’s daughter signed, “From your Valentine” (History).
Yet, from this dark history, it’s become one of the most commercialized holidays.
“It turns out, 54 percent of Americans will celebrate with loved ones this year and the average amount they will spend on candy, cards, dinner and gifts is $133.91” (Huffington Post).
If you’re a man, at a minimum you’re expected to give a box of chocolate and roses. If you really want to go all out, make sure to treat her to an expensive dinner and perhaps a beautiful piece of jewelry, ideally a diamond.
According to Josh Holland, a spokesman for the online jewelry store Blue Nile, “Necklaces, earrings, diamond eternity rings and diamond studs are popular Valentine’s Day gifts. It’s not unusual to see some customers spend $25,000 or more. Last year, one person spent $240,000 on a 5.2-carat diamond set in platinum” (Reuters).
Does it have to be this way? Is there a better way to show those we love how much they mean to us besides showering them with expensive, stereotypical gifts?
Read on and you will find 23 ways you can save on Valentine’s Day.
How to Save on Valentine’s Day – 23 ways
1. Get on the Same Page with Your Significant Other
If you want to just say no to all the marketing and commercialism of Valentine’s Day, you can, but first make sure your spouse is on board. Some people could give or take all of the holiday hype.
However, if your significant other is someone whose love language is receiving gifts, she may be hurt if you don’t go all out this Valentine’s Day.
If you’re planning to change the way you celebrate Valentine’s Day, make sure the other person is agreeable.
How to Save on the Traditional Celebration
If your spouse has her heart set on a traditional Valentine’s Day celebration, there are ways to save.
2. Buy flowers in bulk
Red roses can be pricey, but you can reduce that cost by buying them in bulk at a place like Costco rather than a florist. Just make sure to buy them early enough, before they’re all sold out.
3. Make your own chocolate
If you’d like to get crafty, consider making your own chocolate.
Buy high quality chocolate chips and melt them down. Then, use a chocolate mold to make your chocolates in the shape of hearts or with cute sayings on them. You can find the molds on Amazon for less than $8, so you’ll save a bundle on the chocolate.
4. Go to lunch rather than dinner
Most restaurants are swamped on Valentine’s Day night, so consider taking your loved one out for lunch on Valentine’s Day rather than dinner. You’ll avoid the crowd, and most restaurants are cheaper in the evening than during the day.
5. Buy jewelry when it is discounted
After Christmas, there is often a sale on jewelry. Consider buying your significant other a piece of jewelry then and saving it until Valentine’s Day.
More Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day
If your significant other is on board with having a non-traditional Valentine’s Day, you have many more options available to you. There are plenty of ways you can have a low-cost, meaningful Valentine’s Day.
6. Share memories
Give the love of your life a photo album filled with photos of the two of you together.
On some pages, rather than a photo, write about a favorite memory or what you love about him or her. Your spouse will get a precious keepsake that shows just how much you care.
7. Make breakfast in bed
Surprise your love with his or her favorite breakfast in bed. What a great way to start the day, and it will cost you very little.
8. Do something you did on your first date
Did you go ice skating on your first date? Why not take your significant other to the same place you went on your first date? If you can’t go to the exact same place, replicate the activity. If you went to a musical performance, book tickets to take your spouse to an orchestra performance.
9. Cook together
If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen together, why not make a fancy meal that you can both enjoy? Or, if you have older kids, they might agree to be your servers for the night, serving your meal and cleaning up afterward.
10. Share what you most appreciate about your spouse
Challenge yourself and your spouse to come up with 10 grateful things. These are the 10 qualities or actions that you most love about him or her. Each of you should spend some time doing this, and then on Valentine’s Day evening, you can share them with one another.
11. Write your spouse a love note
Couples from 60 or more years ago regularly wrote one anther love letters. Very few of us do that now. Why not take the time, a few days before Valentine’s Day, to write a love letter to your Valentine? He’ll appreciate it and likely keep it somewhere to be treasured.
12. Stay off your cell phone all evening
Most of us are constantly engaged and checking our phones. For Valentine’s Day, give your significant other your undivided attention.
13. Watch a movie and eat a pizza
For a truly relaxed Valentine’s Day, watch a romance and eat a pizza. You can do this after the kids go to bed so you don’t have to pay for a sitter.
14. Serve heart shaped food
For breakfast, serve heart-shaped pancakes with strawberries on top. For dinner, serve a heart-shaped cake. Use every meal to remind those in your life how much you care about them.
15. Create a coupon book
This idea might sound juvenile, but it is often much appreciated. Make your significant other a coupon book.
One coupon could be good for a massage, another could be good for one breakfast in bed, etc. Then, let him redeem them when he chooses. If he doesn’t redeem them, pull one out of the book and surprise him by doing one of the actions for him.
16. Walk down memory lane together
If you’re married, take out your wedding video and watch it. Look at your wedding album and other photo albums and reminisce about the times you’ve spent together.
17. Set relationship goals together
Take a few minutes to talk about where you’ve been and what you want to accomplish in the upcoming year as far as your relationship goes.
18. Do a task that you’ve been putting off
Does your spouse want you to paint the bathroom, but you just haven’t gotten to it yet? Why not surprise her by doing it? For extra fun, you could send her out on a girls’ day with friends while you finish up the task.
19. Pamper one another
Take the time to give one another a back or foot massage.
20. Take a class together
Surprise your spouse with a class that you’ll take together.
If you’re married, you may be spending less and less time together thanks to the demands of work and family. If you’re able, consider taking a class or doing an activity together like you might have done when you were first dating.
21. Write a poem
When is the last time you wrote a poem to your loved one? Even if you’re not the best writer, she’ll appreciate the effort and thought that went into composing it.
22. Look at the stars
Go outside together in the evening and look at the stars. Enjoy the quiet and the darkness. (This works best if you’re in a warmer climate.)
23. Dance together
Turn on some music, dim the lights, and slow dance together.
Final Word on Saving on Valentine’s Day
Showing that special person in your life how much you love them IS important. But there are other ways to do so than marketers would like you to believe.