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How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day for Under $100

Personal Insights

Despite what some of the haters might say, Valentine’s Day is fun. A special day to express love for someone special is one of the nobler traditions. But the average person spends almost $150 on Valentine’s Day! There is no need to turn what should be an enjoyable evening into something to regret because of the price tag.

Most of the time what causes overspending is not social pressure but a failure to plan–in fact, prices are specially raised to capitalize on that very fact! So, plan ahead, and there might be more wiggle room in the budget once it’s all over.

The Card

For example, it’s free to write a letter or hand make a card. Printing it out will be touching, but something handwritten is tough to beat. Keep it short if a long letter is intimidating, or consider hand copying a poem (“Bright Star” by John Keats would be a good choice, for example). Even if though it was written by someone else, the gesture of writing it out will be appreciated much more than Hallmark’s silly limericks.

The Gift

Chocolates get expensive around February, and roses are not of the winter season, so they’re not exactly cheap either. But most big red boxes of chocolates contain surprisingly little to eat, and mostly serve as a big gesture.

So why not instead set up a display of red and white M&M’s? They’re just as inexpensive as ever, and when put in a bowl or a mason jar, they fit the season perfectly. Also, try a single red rose – it’s subtle and sweet, and says just as much as a dozen. Deliver them to the office or have them dropped off at home, so they can think about how much they appreciate it all day long.

The Date

Make the reservation early–as in, weeks early! Most of the hot spots will fill up quickly, so decide ahead of time. Or, why not save some dough and cook at home? Go for broke on one great recipe with all the trimmings.

After that, most folks expect a movie, but there are other options too. Try going goofy with something like bowling or roller skating. It was fun in childhood, so why not now? Or go to Dave and Buster’s or something similar for those competitive couples.

Another option might be to have the big event on another day, like the day before or after Valentine’s Day. The crowds will be less and there may be reduced prices after the big day. Slip some tickets into the card or a flyer for a festival, museum or concert that both will enjoy.

That’s key as well: meet in the middle. Don’t make him (or her!) hate every minute of a day that’s supposed to be about both of you. You fell in love, surely you can find something you both enjoy that won’t break the bank!

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