Oh, Valentine’s day.
Whether you’re treating yourself, rocking a Leslie Knope-style “Galentine’s Day,” or celebrating with your special someone, Valentine’s day doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money.
My husband and I don’t do material gifts for each other – for Valentine’s Day or any occasion for that matter, including our birthdays and Christmas. Not that that’s right or wrong, it’s just what we do.
Because we choose to either save our money, or spend it on carefully planned-out experiences. Sure, it takes the surprise out of gifting, but this frugal choice allows us to stay in budget and know our hard-earned dollars will be spent on what we both really want.
When it comes to our family and friends, we opt for surprise gestures, experiences, or gifts that we can create for free (or at a very small cost).
So, let’s take a look at 4+ ways to save money this Valentine’s Day.
1) DIY. You’ve seen this one before on DollarMost (and, spoiler, you’re going to keep seeing it…a lot!). DIY = Do It Yourself. Doing for yourself almost always saves money.
When you want to buy your significant other, family, or friends Valentine’s Day gifts like cards, flowers, gift baskets, cookies, candies, etc. – before you run to the market, consider doing it yourself instead.
Making your own gifts will not only save you money, but the thought and effort you put into your gifts will be exceptionally meaningful to your Valentines. Win-win!
Stephani Coltrin opts for DollarTree finds to DIY – I mean, everything for a dollar is not a bad deal. But, I also recommend heading to your local thrift store, such as the Goodwill, to score inexpensive and unique materials for making. I’ve found crafting paper, faux flowers, unique containers/vases, a variety of hearts/love/Valentine’s themed décor, picture frames, toys, and gift boxes for less than $4 each at the Goodwill. Take inspiration from Pinterest or crafty YouTubers to upcycle these items into frugal, thoughtful gifts!
2) Take Advantage of Free Venues. What’s better than free? Free. And fun. And memorable.
The free venues I use most often include:
- Home. There’s no place like home…..to save money. Who says you need to go out to celebrate? You can have a fun or hilarious or exciting or romantic – whatever you’re going for – Valentine’s Day right in your own home. Whether you’re celebrating with your significant other, your kids, your family, your friends, or by yourself, you can transform your home into the perfect venue to stay within your budget. Consider ambiance to match the vibe you’re going for – music choices, lighting, candle or oil diffuser scents, food and drink choices (pro tip: consider pot-luck food and BYOB [Bring Your Own Beverage] to cut costs if you’re hosting others), and even dress code (for example: gaudy Valentine’s day shirts, pajamas, “birthday suits”) all play a role in the feel of your in-home celebration.
- Friends’ houses. If you don’t have the time, energy, or space to host Valentine’s Day at your home, consider a friend’s house for a get-together (side note: I say ‘house’ as an all-encompassing term for living space…perhaps it’s an apartment, trailer, camper, etc. – wherever it is, have a fun, frugal Valentine’s Day). Again, opt for pot-luck food and BYOB.
- The park. Parks are free spaces for picnics. Make your picnic romantic for you and your Valentine or fun for you and your family/friends. Or, enjoy a relaxing Valentine’s picnic in the park on your own with a good book from the library or on a Kindle e-Reader.
- The mall. I know it’s a little unconventional, but, I use our local mall as a free space to socialize, so, why should hanging out on Valentine’s Day be any different?
- The library. When Valentine’s Day falls on a day your local library is open, consider planning a visit. Going out with your Valentine? Believe it or not, the library can be a romantic hangout spot! Bring a warm cup of coffee and take turns finding the sweetest (or sauciest) book you can find. Then, cozy up and read together.
- The beach. Weather permitting, walking and/or picnicking at the beach is a great option for Valentine’s Day – whether you’re going for a romantic, family-friendly, or solitary-relaxation vibe.
- Public landmarks. Locally we have a several lighthouses, piers, and parks with fountains that offer free venues for a Valentine’s Day out. Consider visiting your local landmarks as a place to picnic.
- The museum. Yes, the museum! Check into your local museums’ schedules as they may offer free Valentine’s Day events. Our local art museum is offering a free conversation hearts crafting event that would be a fun Valentine’s Day activity with our kids.
3) Take Advantage of Free Events. Don’t forget to check your local community calendar for free Valentine’s Day events going on in your area. If you’re specifically looking for kid-friendly Valentine’s Day activities – check to see if your area has one of my #1 go-to’s: Macaroni kid!
4) If You Go Out, Use a Discount. One frugal golden rule I try to live by – Don’t pay full price for anything! That doesn’t change for me just because it’s Valentine’s Day. There are many ways to save money when you’re going out – it just takes a little bit of planning ahead of time.
Some of my go-to discount ideas include:
- Checking Giftcardmall.com for discounted restaurant gift cards.
- Using my Swagbucks! Redeem your Swagbucks for gift cards to restaurants like Red Lobster, Applebee’s, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and more… Or, redeem your Swagbucks for a Visa gift card to use toward anything you want for your Valentine’s Day celebration. Not signed up with Swagbucks? Sign up now for free! It’s super simple to earn Swagbucks for free by searching the internet, doing surveys, playing games, and watching videos.
- Whether I’m looking for a new outfit, accessories, or gifts for Valentine’s Day, I’m sure to utilize coupons and sales. Consider shopping for gifts in Amazon’s Gold Box deals or at the Valentine’s Day gift savings event on Ebay.
- Being on the lookout for BYOB restaurants. BYOB will save you money on a romantic glass of wine at dinner.
- Searching online ahead of time for kids-eat-free restaurants when we’re celebrating with the kiddos.
I hope these ideas help you to enjoy a frugal Valentine’s Day – no matter what vibe you’re going for.
Happy Valentine’s day, Savers!
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