Valentine’s Day Dining Do’s and Don’ts

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many couples are finalizing plans for their romantic evening out. A recent Valentine’s Day survey estimates that $3.4 billion will be spent on dining out. With your romantic life, and your pocketbook on the line, here’s some basic do’s and don’ts to dining out on Valentine’s Day:

Valentine’s Day Dining Do’s

  • This year, Valentine’s Day is on a Monday. Instead of rushing around after work to slip in and out of a restaurant, do consider moving your Valentine’s Day to the weekend before to avoid the restaurant rush.
  • Set a budget for your night out. Make sure you know the price ranges on the menu and plan for your date ordering in the higher tier.
  • If you have a few dining out choices, review the menus ahead of time and pick the restaurant with the best prices and atmosphere.
  • Schedule a reservation if possible to your favorite restaurant, and arrive early to make sure that your table isn’t given away. If your restaurant doesn’t take reservations, see if they offer a “call ahead” option to get your name on the wait list before you arrive.
  • Consider doing a romantic meal at home and going out for just desert. It will be more intimate than a restaurant and you’ll spend less on the check.

Valentine’s Day Dining Don’ts

  • Don’t show up at the restaurant without a reservation or calling ahead first.
  • Don’t order appetizers, alcohol or other little extras that will run up your bill. If you must drink on your night out, try alternating your drinks with non-alcoholic drinks to lower your costs, or just have a cocktail before the meal arrives.
  • Check the prices before you order the all-inclusive Valentine’s Day dinner. Sometimes by ordering items separately, you can save more than getting the full package.
  • Don’t skimp on the tip because you didn’t budget enough. It’s not fair to your server and makes you look cheap in front of your date.
  • Don’t finance your Valentine’s Day dinner on the credit card. Remember, if you don’t pay it off at the end of the month, you could end up paying more for your romantic night out.

Try to avoid gift giving or over-the-top romantic gestures at the restaurant. First, many of the servers are trying to get couples in and out quickly so you might feel rushed. Second, you don’t want to have a gift disaster because the restaurant is overcrowded, the server messes up the timing or your date gets embarrassed. Some things are better left within the privacy of your home.

Do you have any dining out advice for Valentine’s Day couples? Add your comments below.

About the Author

The following post is from Kathryn Katz, a Certified Personal Finance Counselor who works for Consolidated Credit in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Their non-profit agency helps families through financial crisis using credit counseling, debt consolidation and financial education.