Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.  For many, this can be a stressful time. It can be difficult to think of creative ways to show your significant other how much he/she means to you on a budget. On top of that, some folks are still paying off the gifts they bought from Christmas. I think we all would agree that the spirit of the day should be about celebrating relationships, not gifts or material things. But the fact is, Americans spent an estimated $19.7 billion on Valentine’s day last year and this figure continues to rise. With that said, let’s look at 7 easy ways to save money this year on Valentine’s Day.

Budget!

Do not spend more than you can afford. I will repeat, do not spend more than you can afford. If you have to use credit cards in order to buy it, then you shouldn’t be buying it. Figure out what you can afford by creating a budget and do not exceed that budget. If money is really tight, talk with your significant other about it. There are plenty of great ways to enjoy each other’s company and show that person much he/she means to you that do not involve spending money. Set a budget, stick to it.

Digit

Ever heard of Digit? Digit is a great way to save. Setting up Digit and using it for gifts, holidays, and vacation funds makes a ton of sense. Digit is a free app that connects with a bank account of your choice. They then periodically transfer small amounts from your bank account into your digit account. The goal is to build up savings in a way that you “won’t even notice”. In other words, you won’t feel the pain of that money leaving your bank account. They use an algorithm that looks at behaviors such as your spending habits, upcoming bills, and account balance history to figure out how much gets transferred. Digit doesn’t charge you anything and also guarantees they won’t overdraft your account. Using Digit to fund an account that you can use for holidays is a great way to avoid spending more than you should.

Be Nontraditional

Skip dinner this year!  Be nontraditional. A nice breakfast or lunch should be much less expensive than a dinner. Many restaurants offer a lunch menu that has a smaller portion and is less expensive than the dinner version. Another great option, just go for dessert and coffee. Have a homemade dinner and then go out for your favorite dessert. This is another way to enjoy some time together without having to sweat when the bill gets dropped off.

Be a Homebody

Skip the restaurants. Stay home and cook for yourselves and watch a show/movie. You’ll save yourself a ton of money from not paying the upcharge on your entree, having to tip, and the ridiculous cost of drinks. Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but we are in the golden age of television programming. So stay home, cook up a nice meal, and binge watch a new show together. Need a suggestion? Check out Master of None, ATL, or Game of Thrones. If you can’t “Netflix and Chill” on Valentine’s Day, when can you?

Deliver it Yourself

Planning on buying flowers? Assuming you aren’t buying for someone far away, deliver the flowers yourself. You’ll save on delivery costs and you’ll probably get some nice brownie points for delivering them in person. Buy flowers from a local florist or grocery store. You’ll get better quality, support a small business, and will spend less. Most times, delivery costs are not cheap or the cost of delivery is factored into the flowers. Thus, skipping the delivery will save you some dough.

Check Your Inbox

If you’re planning on going out to dinner, check the restaurant’s website first. Most restaurants offer a newsletter to keep you up-to-date on specials and new items. Most times, they will give a free item just for signing up. Sometimes it’s an appetizer, other times a dessert. It’s worth checking out if you have plans at a particular restaurant.

Look for Deals

It’s always best practice to look for a deal. Valentine’s Day is no different. Many restaurants offer Valentine’s Day specials. Check a restaurant’s website or facebook page to see if they are advertising a special. If not, check to see if they are offering anything on Groupon or Living Social. Many restaurants offer specials this way. For instance, $20 for $30 worth of food. Lastly, check out restaurant.com to see if your Valentine’s Day destination is on it. Restaurant.com allows you to purchase gift cards at a discount. It’s an easy way to save $10-15.

 

There you have it! Don’t kill your budget trying to go big on Valentine’s Day. Use these 7 tips to save yourself some money. Cheers!

Nick Vail is a co-founder and independent financial advisor with Integrity Wealth Advisors in Indianapolis. He started Remove The Guesswork to empower people to stop guessing when it comes to their finances and to start PLANNING. You can learn more about him here. Are you interested in working with Nick?