How to do Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Feb 2nd, 2015

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and for those that prepare and plan now you can do it without breaking the bank. By the time you buy some flowers and/or chocolates and /or dinner you can ring up quite a bill. But it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Here are 5 ideas on ways to do Valentine’s Day well and do it on a budget.

Buy Discounted Gift Cards at Costco:Costco’s website sells two Buca di Beppo $50 gift cards for $74.99 or two McCormick & Schmick’s $50 gift cards for $79.99. Your local store may carry even more variety. If you’re going to dinner this is a great way to save money and still have a nice dinner. You can also get two $50 SpaFinder gift cards for $79.99.

Use Groupon: I looked on Groupon’s website and they have a whole section just for Valentine’s Day. Dinner, flowers, chocolate, they have it all. How about $50 at Palomino Restaurant for only $30 and for dessert, $12 for $19.96 at Cold Stone Creamery. You can get a wine tasting for two that normally costs $35 for only $20 with a Groupon. Ladies, for the guys they have a round of golf at Prairie View for $55 – normally $95. There was also a Groupon for a Dyson vacuum, but no matter how good of a deal it is I do not recommend giving this as a gift!

Don’t Give Cards: I don’t think you can buy a greeting card for less than $3 or $4 any more. To me it just doesn’t make sense. For not too much more you can take a favorite photo of your special someone and yourself or of your family, buy a frame at a dollar store for just a few dollars and you have something that you can enjoy much longer than a greeting card that’s going to get thrown in the trash. You can also make your own card. I think one of the greatest ideas ever is to make a card listing all of the things you love about your special someone. Tell them how much those things mean to you. I’m not talking mushy, romantic stuff but the little stuff he or she does for you every day that you probably take for granted. Things like making your lunch for you for work or making sure you have clean clothes. Everyone likes to feel appreciated and making a card like this is better at letting him or her know he or she is appreciated than a store bought card.

Stay Home: Treat her to breakfast in bed and have movie night at home instead of going out. Heck, you don’t even have to leave the house to get movies any more with services like Netflix and Amazon Video. You can even go to WalMart and buy movie theatre candy for $1 a box. You’ll save a ton of money by staying in!

Do Something Extra for Her: How about surprising her by doing something you normally don’t do. Clean her car out for her. If you’re like me your kids make a mess of a car. They practically live in it between school and sports and other activities. Vacuum it out and get out the Armour All and get it looking like new for her. And since it doesn’t cost anything then you can take her to dinner on those gift cards you so wisely purchased!

Most people just want to let their sweetie know how much they mean to them by doing special things for them and being with them on Valentine’s Day. So take some of these ideas and thrill your sweetie with how thoughtful and financially wise you are!

 Ed Snyder, CFP, ChFC is co-founder and President of Oaktree Financial Advisors, Inc.

Oaktree Financial Advisors, Inc. specializes in serving the financial needs of current and former Eli Lilly employees and retirees.

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