According to research done by BIGresearch, in 2011 Americans spent $3.4 billion on dinners, $3.5 billion on jewelry, $1.1 billion for cards, and $1.7 billion for flowers on Valentine’s Day. A recent article in USA Today predicts that Americans will spend 8.5 percent more in 2013!
A quick Internet search of “Valentine’s on the Cheap” will yield some wonderfully romantic and inexpensive ideas for celebrating the ones you love this Valentine’s Day. The following is a small sampling of inexpensive or free ideas:
- Make you and your loved ones a homemade heart-shaped pizza.
- Create a “romantically red” dinner at home: Beet salad, chicken cacciatore, and strawberries, whipped cream and red velvet cake for dessert.
- Eat dinner for dessert. Indulge in some sweet treats—pancakes, ice cream, chocolate covered fruit, sundaes, etc.
- Order Chinese food and have it delivered for you and your Valentine to enjoy after the kids are in bed.
- Download restaurant coupons at restaurant.com and try a new establishment at a discount.
- Plan a game night or a romantic movie marathon.
- Plan a date night around an online coupon activity (checkout Groupon or LivingSocial for some fun ideas).
- For the men: Offer to tidy the kitchen and put the kids to bed while your wife takes a long bath a nap, or reads a book.
- Pack a picnic basket and go for a romantic hike. Or take a drive and go stargazing.
- Reminisce together (or as a family) over a scrapbook.
- Visit a nursing home as a family and take some homemade treats and crafts with you. Focusing on others helps remind you of how special your own family is.
- Use hotel points to take a weekend getaway to a local hotel.
- Swap homes with your friends on Valentine’s Day. The mood and atmosphere will be new to both of you.
- If you really want to get out of town, consider posting your home on homeexchange.com and visit another city or even country for free!
- Create a CD with love songs that you both enjoy. Create a custom cover that reflects your love.
- Create a book or photo album of all the romantic emails you and your significant other have shared over time. Photo sites like Shutterfly can produce beautiful books and albums for minimal cost.
- Make your own coupons or vouchers for a foot rub, maid service, chores your partner or child dislikes doing, or some other act of service.
- Write a simple love note. Start off with a nick name or description of your loved one’s strongest characteristic and then describe at least three positive attributes about them.
- Give a plant instead of flowers. It will live longer and will be a reminder of your bond for years instead of days.
- Share a present. Discuss ideas for one gift that you can both enjoy together (for example, a household gadget, a favorite movie, a bottle of wine).
- Buy a handmade gift. Check out Etsy for ideas. Or better yet, make a gift yourself. You can find some great ideas online at Crafters.org.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to celebrate the ones you love this Valentine’s Day. You can still enjoy the holiday on the cheap. Try something new and inexpensive this year and create some new memories for you and the ones you love.
Many of the ideas provided in this blog came from the following sites. Check them out for additional ideas.