14 Budget-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

By Quinisha Jackson

Valentine’s Day is almost here. And, for many of us, showing love on this day often means spending cash. 

A 2019 survey by the National Retail Federation found that consumers planned to spend an average of $161.96 on Valentine’s Day gifts for their significant others, children, friends, and co-workers. 

 If you’d rather save your money this year, you can still celebrate Valentine’s Day on the cheap. 

Take a look at 14 budget-friendly ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, whether you’re in a relationship or single.

If You’re Celebrating Solo

via GIPHY

  1. Cook yourself a fancy meal 🥘

 The single life has many perks, and the chance to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal on your own is one of them. If there’s a special recipe you’ve wanted to make but haven’t gotten around to it, now’s your chance. Be sure to use your fanciest dinnerware for the occasion, along with a glass of wine or your beverage of choice.

 

  1. Write yourself a love letter 💌

 How often do you take the time to write down all of the things you love about yourself? There’s no better time than the national day of love to write a letter and tell yourself just how amazing you are. Remember, this is for your eyes only so don’t be afraid to pour on the compliments.

 

  1. Spa day at home 💆‍♀️💆‍♂️

 Rather than splurge at an expensive spa, give yourself the royal treatment at home. Light your favorite scented candles, turn on relaxing music, and make yourself a warm bubble bath. After your bath, wrap yourself in a cozy robe and lounge in bed for as long as you please.

 

  1. Celebrate with other singles 🎉

 If you prefer to enjoy the company of others on Valentine’s Day, make plans with your single friends to celebrate. Host a dinner party or movie night at your house, and ask each person to bring a dish or drinks. Enjoy good conversation, laughs, and don’t forget to make a toast to the single life.

 

  1. Volunteer at a local charity 🥰

 Take this day to show love to your favorite cause. Whether it’s an animal rescue shelter or visiting residents at a nursing home, you’ll be sure to brighten someone’s day just by giving a few hours of your time. 

 

  1. Explore a new part of town 🏙

 No matter how long you’ve been living in your city, there’s almost always new territory to discover. Channel your inner tourist and find a new coffee shop or restaurant to check out and mingle with other locals. 

 

  1. Do something thoughtful for friends or family 👫👭

 Valentine’s Day isn’t only about romantic love. It can also be an opportunity to make a kind gesture to your close friends or family members. So, send a thoughtful card or flowers to your parents or treat your best friend out to a movie. They’ll likely be flattered to know you are thinking of them. 

  

If You’re Celebrating with a Partner

via GIPHY

  1. Plan a romantic picnic 🌲

 What’s more romantic than a cozy picnic for two? Weather permitting, pack a few tasty snacks, your favorite bottle of wine, and head to the nearest park or beach for some quality time. It’s the perfect time to enjoy nature, good food, and each other’s company.

 

  1. Scavenger hunt 🕵️‍♀️🕵️‍♂️

This one might take a little time and clever thinking, but it will be a lot of fun once everything is put together. To plan a scavenger hunt, create Valentine’s Day themed riddles that your honey has to figure out to find the next clue. Make sure there’s an exciting prize at the end (like a kiss!) to reward them for their hard work. 

 

  1. Photo shoot 📸

 Take some silly or romantic selfies with your partner to keep as memories of the special day. You can pick a theme or dress up to make the photo shoot even more entertaining. Make one of the new photos your phone or laptop screensaver, and it will put an instant smile on your face when you think about the good times you had. 

 

  1. Cook a special dish together 👩‍🍳👨‍🍳

 Life gets busy, so you probably don’t get the chance to make meals alongside your loved one very often. So, pick up a few ingredients for your favorite dish and make a night of spending time together in the kitchen. Once dinner’s ready, keep the romantic atmosphere going with soft music and candlelight to enjoy your meal. 

 

  1. Get active 🏃‍♀️🚵‍♀️

While most Valentine’s Day activities consist of quiet dinners and movie nights, switch things up this year and get out and about with your partner. Go hiking, biking, or even take an early morning jog. If you’re feeling super adventurous, sign up for a tango or salsa dancing class and learn some new moves together!

 

  1. Romantic movie night 🍿

After getting active, you’ll probably need some time to wind down and relax. Or maybe you and your partner have zero interest in working out and would rather be couch potatoes, which is totally fine. Grab some popcorn, cuddle up on the sofa, and enjoy a few classic romcoms or tear-jerkers.

 

  1. DIY gifts 🎁

Nothing says “I love you” like a homemade gift from the heart. Even if you’re not an expert at making crafts, your partner will be touched by the effort you put in. Whether you make your own Valentine’s Day candy, jewelry, or a personalized pillow, the personal touch of a DIY gift has a little more meaning than something picked up from the store. 

You can show love without overspending 

These are just a few cheap Valentine’s Day ideas to help you show love to that special someone – or yourself – without breaking the bank. 

Here’s one more idea for you: If you want to pull out all the stops for this special day, set up automatic transfers to your savings account ahead of time. This way, you’ll have the money you need for your perfect Valentine’s Day celebration without the stress of draining your savings or racking up credit card debt. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Quinisha is a freelance marketing consultant and writer based in California. She writes about topics on finance, careers, and diversity and inclusion, with bylines in the New York Times, Medium, and Business Insider.

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