6 Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without Breaking the Bank

by Christy Bieber | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on Feb. 11, 2019

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
A white piggy bank broken with coins spilling out.

Image source: Getty Images

Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate your love -- not a time to go into debt. Here are a few tips to help you celebrate without breaking the bank.Image source: Getty Images.

Valentine's Day is an extremely expensive holiday for those who are coupled up. In fact, the National Retail Federation estimates that Valentine's spending is expected to exceed $20 billion this year! That's a huge sum of money, even taking into account that 72% of adults ages 18 to 34 and 65% of adults ages 35 to 54 indicate they plan to celebrate the holiday.

While taking the time to celebrate your love is a good thing, spending a fortune on the holiday is often not the smartest move -- especially if you have other financial goals to accomplish. The good news is, you can have an amazing day without breaking the bank. Here are six suggestions for how you can celebrate while keeping costs low.

1. Recreate a favorite inexpensive date

Chances are good that you've had at least a few dates with your significant other where you didn't spend a fortune. Maybe it was your first date at a coffee shop where you met, or a picnic you shared in the park. If you can remember a beautiful date you had that was low cost or no cost, recreate it.

Your partner will be touched to share the memory with you, and you can turn it into a tradition rather than just spending a ton of money to dine out at some fancy restaurant.

2. Make your partner's favorite foods at home

There's no rule that says you have to go out to have an amazing meal together. Get a sitter to keep the kids if you have children or send them to a relative's home and go all out with a beautiful dinner at home. Light the candles, pour some wine, and cook a meal your partner will love. Or better yet, you can cook together and can each make the other's favorite dish.

3. Go stargazing

When was the last time you and your partner laid out a blanket and lay under the stars together? Schedule this free and romantic activity for Valentine's Day. You can enjoy the night sky and spend time sharing your dreams.

If it's too cold to stargaze outdoors, consider a trip to the planetarium. It's not just for kids -- there are often shows and events that adults can attend so you can enjoy the beautiful night sky even during the cold of February.

4. Give homemade gifts or the gift of shared experiences

Instead of buying expensive gifts, make something special for the person you love. You could opt for a photo collage, an old fashioned mix tape, or love letters detailing all the reasons you adore your partner.

Or if you're not the crafty type, consider giving your partner the gift of time or of shared experiences. You could give your spouse coupons for 10 foot rubs, for example, or promise your spouse they can pick the next 10 movies you see together.

5. Plan a picnic

Stock up on fancy meats and cheeses from the grocery store and pack a picnic basket to enjoy the day with your beloved and appreciate all that nature has to offer. Find a favorite park or beach near you, bring a blanket and enjoy your delicacies as you revel in the peace and quiet of being together and not at a crowded restaurant with dozens of other couples.

Too cold to have a picnic outdoors? String up some holiday lights in the living room and set up a blanket on your floor. You can still capture the romantic vibe without worrying about getting frostbite.

6. Celebrate on a different day

If you do want the traditional Valentine's Day dinner out, consider simply shifting the day you celebrate. Restaurants are crowded on Valentine's Day and they often have special menus with inflated prices. Instead of braving the crowds and paying a premium, celebrate a few days before or a few days after. You'll have more peace and quiet to enjoy each other's company and won't have to pay a fortune.

Celebrating Valentine's Day doesn't have to mean breaking the bank

These are just a few of many ways you can keep costs down while still showing your partner your love. The important thing is to get creative, consider what would mean the most to your beloved, and find a way to make the day memorable without giving into the costly cliches of buying jewelry, expensive bouquets of flowers, and a big meal.

These savings accounts are FDIC insured and could earn you up to 12x your bank

Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. Our picks of the best online savings accounts can earn you more than 12x the national average savings account rate. Click here to uncover the best-in-class picks that landed a spot on our shortlist of the best savings accounts for 2022.

About the Author