February 7, 2020 Francesca Sacco See all posts in Budgeting See all posts in Money-Saving Tips Budget-Friendly Valentine’s Day Ideas Valentine’s Day is less than two weeks away and romance is already in the air. But how can you forget when you’re being bombarded with ads for expensive jewelry, flower arrangements and boxes of chocolates. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, the average person plans to spend more than $160 on Valentine’s Day. You may be tempted to break the bank in order to show your loved ones just how much you care, but it’s not necessary. Check out some budget-friendly Valentine’s Day ideas so you can spread the love without draining your bank account. Manage expectations Before you make any big plans or secure reservations, drop a few hints to your significant other. You may have plans for an elaborate evening out, when all they really want is to curl up on the couch and order in. The same goes for gifts. No one is saying you have to ruin the surprise, but there’s no harm in having a discussion about whether or not you want to do gifts or set a budget. Maybe there is a household item you both really want and would like to go in on. Or maybe you’re saving for a trip or a down payment on a home and want to forgo gifts. Regardless of what you decide, testing the water beforehand can save money and help to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Start a new tradition or try something new The cost of a gift doesn’t make it meaningful. In fact, the more meaningful gifts tend be homemade or are unique experiences with your loved ones. Figure out something you can do together. Consider making a homemade meal or spend the day exploring your city by visiting local landmarks and museums. There are plenty of free or low-cost entertainment options in your community, many that you might not even know about. If you want to eat out, try going for breakfast or lunch. You’re more likely to avoid any rush or holiday price hikes earlier in the day. You could also try going out for dessert and coffee instead of a full meal or try celebrating on another day of the week. Often, restaurants will extend their Valentine’s Day specials into the weekend. Hit discount stores There’s no reason to spend $5 or more on a Valentine’s Day card, especially when you can snag great cards for less at discount stores! Don’t forget to pick up some chocolate or other holiday themed candy while you’re there, too. It’s not uncommon to find name brand items at discount stores for less. Discount stores are also a great place to get decorations, whether heart-shaped or red. You can pick up some items to decorate your home or complete your romantic table setting without breaking the bank. Don’t forget about your rewards Credit card rewards and other perks can help you save on gifts, dinner and more! Don’t forget to look for exclusive dining access, presale events and discounts and upgrades. 7 17 Credit Union’s Visa® Debit and Platinum Reward Credit Cardholders have access to reward programs offering cash-back and ScoreCard points at participating retailers, restaurants and entertainment venues. If you have our Benefits Plus® Checking, don’t forget to check out the savings, cash back and discounts the program offers. To access Benefits Plus, visit www.benefits-plus.org.