October 2nd, 2020 | Updated on June 27th, 2022
With a global pandemic in full swing, many businesses have been hurting financially. People have lost their jobs, have decreased work hours, and generally have a lot less money than they are used to having. This is going to have an unprecedented effect on the holiday season in the US.
We aren’t just talking about a lean Christmas–the economic downturn will likely extend to other holidays as well, including Valentine’s day. While we are tempted to shower the people we love with gifts, it might be difficult this year for many people.
During a typical Valentine’s day, American’s spend around $20 billion on gifts and entertainment. This is often spent on flowers, cards, candy, jewelry, dining out, and other gifts.
While COVID-19 and its economic complications probably has you on a tighter budget than normal, there are still plenty of ways you can have a romantic Valentine’s day with your loved one.
Luckily, some of the best gifts take very little if any money at all. Take a look at this list of ideas to get a little inspiration.
1. Ditch The Flowers And Candy This Year
So how much does an average guy or gal spend on Valentine’s day each year? According to a report by CNBC in early 2020, that number is around $142.
Of course, some people spend far more than that. A lot of that money is spent on things that don’t last, like flowers that perish after a few days or candy that gets eaten right away.
One way to save money on Valentine’s Day this year is to sideline these fleeting gifts and make memories instead.
While it might feel good to get flowers, most couples struggling to make ends meet would agree that it’s an unnecessary expense. Check a little further down this list for practical, budget-friendly ideas that don’t have an expiration date.
2. Cook A Meal Together & Other Romantic Dinner Tips
Instead of spending $50 or more per person at a fancy restaurant, consider staying home and cooking a romantic meal together.
Couples that cook together enjoy better communication and bonding. It can be fun and relaxing to cook with your partner.
Plan your menu, shop, and cook the meal while you talk and reminisce about all the great times you’ve had together.
When it comes to eating your homemade meal, warm things up with a little candlelight and soft music in the background.
If the weather is nice in February where you live, you can have a meal outside with ambient lighting. For many, February is a colder month and you can eat while snuggled up with blankets on the couch if you want to keep it casual.
3. DIY Gifts For The Romantics Out There
If you can’t afford luxury bling this year, make your own DIY gift with sentimental value instead. Trust me, if you have a sentimental partner, they’re going to love a gift you make with your own two hands more than a new bracelet anyway.
You can get creative with photos, frames, or even a custom poem that you wrote yourself. If you have children, they can get in on the DIY fun when giving gifts to mom and dad as well.
4. Have A Movie Or Game Night At Home
If you can’t afford to go out on the town this year, you can have just as much fun at home. Start your evening with that dinner you made from our first trip, and then host a movie or game night in your own living room.
You’ll save money and have a great time, giving your loved one hundred percent of your time and attention.
For a movie night, select a double feature of your favorite films. They don’t have to be rom-com. Pick movies based on your shared interests.
Pile the couch up with fluffy pillows and warm blankets to promote cuddling. Have plenty of cheap but delicious snacks on hand, like buttery popcorn.
If you’d rather be more active, why not tap into your competitive spirit with a couples game night. Playing games together is another great way to practice your communication skills while spending time together.
Given how busy our daily lives are, it’s nice to take an evening to enjoy each other’s company and remember all the reasons you fell in love.
5. Spend Some Time Outdoors
Across the US our weather varies quite a bit, so these outdoor ideas might not be for everyone. But if your area has mild temperatures in February, you can take part in one of these nature-loving ideas.
Pack a picnic lunch and don’t forget the wine. Head to a local park or enjoy your own backyard. If it’s chilly just pack some extra blankets to wrap yourselves in.
Hiking can be enjoyed even if it’s a bit cold outside, as long as you bundle up. If you are an adventurous couple that likes to stay active, this is a great alternative to dropping a fortune on candy and restaurants this year.
6. Indulge In A Few Budget-Friendly Gifts
Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t buy any gifts at all. Sit down with your honey and make Valentine’s Day budget that you both agree to stick with. You can fit some amusing, practical, and even romantic gifts into any sized budget.
There are lots of affordable ideas out there that still feel thoughtful. Here’s one idea: these Valentine’s Day sock gift sets from No Cold Feet.
These adorable patterned socks come in love-themed colors and even have a customizable label for an added romantic touch.
Other thoughtful, budget-friendly gift ideas are baking or kitchen goods, gift cards, cozy blankets, collectible items, and anything related to a hobby or sport they love.
Use your imagination and stick to your budget so you don’t go overboard. If you spend responsibly and do a fun romantic activity at home you can save a lot of money this Valentine’s Day.