Planning the perfect Valentine’s Day – for your significant other and your wallet

Valentine’s Day spending can vary widely depending on factors such as location, personal preferences, and the stage of the relationship. People may spend money on traditional gifts like chocolates, flowers, and jewelry, as well as experiences such as dining out or a romantic getaway. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) in the United States, Valentine’s Day spending has been on the rise, with billions of dollars spent annually on gifts and experiences. The average spending per person can range from less than $50 to several hundred dollars, depending on how elaborate the celebration is. For Valentine’s Day in 2024, spending in the United States is expected to be just under $26 billion.

With some people planning big expenditures, extravagant planning or even proposals, going into Valentine’s Day can be financially stressful. Additionally, for those that cannot afford to spend a lot, the holiday can bring up a lot of anxiety and stress over concern about not being able to do much for your loved ones.

“Valentine’s Day is for love and romance, not financial frustration and feeling overwhelmed. Nothing is more romantic and sexy than setting a Valentine’s Day budget and sticking to it. 

Valentine’s is often about the love language of quality time. Quality time isn’t about an expensive date. It’s about being fully present,” shares Finance Coach Jeannie Dougherty.

For those looking for more budget-friendly Valentine’s activities, there are plenty of options that will help your wallet during this time.

“An average couple spends about $150-$200 for Valentine’s Day. If a fancy dinner, flowers, and a gift seems like a stretch. Why not make your better half’s favorite meal, that’s a memory keeper? Or you can do takeout  if you are too tired to go out,” explains Dougherty.

Thoughtful experiences or gifts do not need to cost a lot of money, but the impacts of those gifts can be monumental.

Dougherty says, “When a couple knows each other well, personalized gifts mean more than a fancy night out. One couple I worked with, a wife framed all of the love notes her husband sent her over the past year. She wanted him to see how much she valued his love notes. He was moved to tears because he meant every note, but to be acknowledged for it touched his heart.”

For people that may find they spend a lot of quality time together and want to do something special but still operate within a fixed budget, there are plenty of deals and options that can help create a special night out.

Jeannie continues, “Another couple felt like they had too much quality time. Lots of nights in and takeout. They rarely got dressed up and did anything to celebrate their love. So they decided to splurge and do a Valentine’s weekend getaway. They found a great deal for their budget and created a new memory for Valentine’s Day.”

For couples seeking budget-friendly options to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the possibilities are both romantic and plentiful. Consider a picturesque picnic under the stars at a local park or beach, where the only expenses are your homemade delicacies and a cozy blanket. For those who enjoy cultural experiences, many museums offer free or discounted admission on special occasions, allowing for an evening of art and learning. Alternatively, a DIY spa night at home with homemade facials, bubble baths, and relaxation can be both intimate and cost-effective. For the adventurous duo, a hike or a scenic bike ride followed by a home-cooked meal can add a unique touch to the celebration. These activities not only save money but also foster quality time, making them perfect for a memorable Valentine’s Day.