Neither my fiance nor I have a fantastic income. In fact, until about three weeks ago, I'd be lucky to be breaking into the five figure zone (that's retail for you). Considering that I live at home and my fiance is shortly going to be moving in with my mom and me in order to save on rent, we're very much aware of our financial situation.
So, of course, Valentine's Day sometimes add unneeded stress. This is the day on which all retailers decide that $100 is a decent price for two dozen roses, and when restaurant reservations suddenly become such a hot commodity that people would consider giving their left arm for a romantic booth. However, I like to look past the consumerism of the day and appreciate Valentine's Day for what it is -- a holiday of love. And pink, and hearts (coincidentally my favorite color and my favorite shape). I'm also a big fan of sweets and affection. So I personally like to do something to celebrate Valentine's Day. The important part is not to break the bank while celebrating.
Perhaps the key to a good Valentine's is partaking in some of the traditions while leaving others alone. So, from an engaged couple of have a little romantic experience, here are some ways to splurge a little but not completely empty your wallet.
- Lead-Up Activities You don't have to drop hundreds or even tens of dollars on an expensive lead-up idea. Depending on what you two enjoy doing, you can make just about anything romantic. My fiance and I have a history with mini golfing, but the weather in February doesn't usually permit it. This year, we found a place that had indoor mini golfing. It also had an arcade, batting cages, laser tag, etc., so on a Saturday it was swarming with kids and their families. But, if you don't mind a noisier environment, you can make even the most rambunctious activities romantic. Try going to a skating rink, an outdoor carnival, or a couples' yoga class. There are hundreds of inexpensive date ideas that can be made romantic with just the mentality of Valentine's Day. Don't be afraid to do something cheap.
- Dinner You don't need to pull out the stops on a five-star restaurant. Instead, opt for your favorite place. If you enjoy going there, it will make it all the more special. Plus, you don't have to worry about trying new dishes or fumbling over a wine list that you've never seen before. Get the foods you love and the booth that you like with the view that you're used to. Or, experiment with something you've never had on the menu. You can step out of your comfort zone as much as you like without having to spend a ton of money on a new place.
- The Main Plan Many couples have a “main event,” so-to-speak, such as going to see a movie together or attending a concert. This is probably where you're going to drop the most money, and that's perfectly okay. You don't want to sacrifice the quality of the date by buying the cheap seats and then sitting behind a pillar during the entire ballet. So how can you save money on this main event? If you're going to a movie, sneak in your own candy instead of getting the crazy-priced stuff behind the concessions counter. Bring your own binoculars to the opera so that you don't have to rent any. And unless you're very sentimental, don't get the $10 collector's playbill.
- The Wind-Down (Or Wind-Up) If you're planning on spending the evening with your partner (and whatever that entails), be sure to plan ahead. Dollar store candles can set the mood in any room, and your phone placed in a bowl can be a makeshift speaker to pump out romantic music. Rather than buy roses that will just die after a week, you can buy a package of strawberries to dip in chocolate and enjoy together. You don't need to spend a hundred dollars on a fancy hotel room or suite. Simply being together and doing something just slightly out of the ordinary can be enough.
You and your partner can spend an amazing Valentine's Day together without dropping a wad of cash on expensive date ideas. By cutting back on the unnecessary details, you can save a lot of money and still have an amazing time. Just be a little creative, and you'll be surprised how awesome your cheap Valentine's Day can be.