Planning Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Miss Money Bee

TV commercials and marketing pitches make Valentine’s Day seem like you have to spend hundreds of dollars! From expensive jewelry to lavish dinners, the message is “love is going to really cost you.” Of course while an extravagant Valentine’s Day may make your honey happy at the time, the following month when the credit card bill comes in you’ll be stuck with sticker shock!

In spite of what retailers are trying to make you believe, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be an expensive holiday. From gifts to your evening out, it can all be done on a budget without spending a mountain of moula. You simply need to determine your budget then use a little planning and creativity to make the day special.

If you are a married couple or living together and pooling expenses, your Valentine’s Day will most likely be a joint expense –even if he is taking you out, the money really comes out of the household budget. To determine how much you can reasonably spend, look at your monthly expenses and figure out how much you can use for the occasion.  Keep in mind that you need to cover gifts, meals, outings, and maybe even transportation.

As you plan, estimate the cost of activities. Pick restaurants and calculate how much you’re going to spend. If you are making an intimate meal at home, price out your menu including appetizers/salad/soup, main course and dessert! Don’t forget the wine and maybe even a special Valentine’s cocktail for before or after dinner.  If you are going out, add in the cost of movie tickets, drinks at a bar, or whatever else you plan to do. Once you have the total cost of what you’ll be doing, then figure out how much you can spend on a present.

Stay within your budget as you shop for a gift and avoid using credit—pay in cash or with your debit card to avoid spending more than you have. If your budget is tight find something meaningful in your relationship that you can be creative with. You can make vouchers for romantic dates or coupon booklets for anything from free back rubs to washing your Valentine’s car for a year. Don’t forget your own talents either—you can use your own skills to do something that will be even more memorable than an expensive new watch, designer sunglasses or the bacon of the month club!

With the right combination of budgeting and creative planning you can make Valentine’s Day special for your honey without spending much money.