Rather than racking up a large credit card bill, do your wallet a favor and focus on what Valentine's Day is really all about—spending meaningful time with a loved one. Here are four ways to save this Valentine's Day.
Regardless of whether you cook together or surprise your sweetheart with a special dish, few things beat a romantic, home-cooked meal. The money you save by dining at home can be used for a fun night out later. And while grocery stores would like you to think that you need to serve lobster, be realistic. Even a simple meat and cheese platter can look elegant when paired with rose petals sprinkled over the tablecloth, candles, and a glass of bubbly.
If you decide to celebrate at a restaurant, consider making reservations for a few days before or after February 14 to avoid the crowds. If you do decide to dine out on Valentine’s Day, try to avoid restaurants with fixed price meals. Instead of ordering entrees, order and share some romantic appetizers and a decadent dessert. If you have a special bottle of wine you’d like to share, dine at a restaurant that allows you to BYOB (bring your own bottle). Corkage fees usually apply, but you’ll likely still save over ordering wine off the restaurant’s menu.
Gifts are always a lovely gesture but instead of flowers, candy, or jewelry, consider giving an inexpensive but fun experience that you can share together. Visit a museum, paint your own pottery, attend a community theater production or make plans to go for a hike. Or, make something special. When you create something yourself, it truly becomes a gift from the heart. It can be anything from a romantic card or a special pot you’ve filled with houseplants, to homemade cookies or even a poem you’ve written and framed. If you decide to give flowers, skip the standard dozen red roses, and instead select a variety of fresh blooms from your local supermarket and arrange them yourself.
And while this may seem like it removes romance from the occasion, consider talking with your significant other about setting a spending limit you can both be comfortable with. Many people find that having a money talk brings them together and reduces the stress of gift giving.
If you decide that this is the time to propose, congratulations! But be sure to plan ahead. Most importantly, set your budget and stick with it. Get the most beautiful stone you can afford but be sure to compare using the ‘Four Cs,’ which are cut, carat, clarity and color. When shopping for an engagement ring, use the internet as a pricing guide but check with local jewelers as well.
While truly high-quality diamonds never actually go on sale, try to avoid buying a ring between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, where you’re more likely to get caught in the crowds or pay full price for the setting itself. If you can, look for better deals on February 15. If you do need to buy a ring now, visit a jeweler during a weekday morning when they are less busy.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average American will spend more than $143 on Valentine’s Day this year. As a whole, Valentine's Day sales are expected to reach a total of $19.6 billion. If you're planning on celebrating, consider putting the money towards a memorable experience that you both can enjoy.
In a January 2017 survey by SunTrust Banks, Americans listed financial stability as one of the top three traits they value most in a partner. The other two were personal values and personality. In fact, financial stability was considered more important than education, similar hobbies, physical fitness and looks.
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