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Valentine’s Day on a Budget

By Jordann Brown on January 31, 2017 No Comments

When you’re on a budget, the most mundane holidays and events can cause financial distress. Does your friend have a birthday coming up? You’re probably already stressing about being able to afford the dinner she invited you to. The same concept applies to holidays, including Valentine’s Day.

Listen, I understand. No one wants to be the frugal on Valentine’s Day, lest your significant other misinterpret your intent. The pressure to spend money to show your spouse how much you care about them is real, and I understand why so many Canadians succumb to it year after year.

That said, there are plenty of ways to save money on Valentine’s Day without coming off as an uncaring person. Personally, my husband and I have not spent very much on Valentine’s Day for several years now, here’s how I save money on Valentine’s Day.

Skip Special Deliveries

Receiving flowers in the workplace on Valentine’s Day is a special experience, but it comes at a high cost. Special deliveries may seem like a romantic gesture, but they are often expensive and can cost over a hundred dollars – for flowers! Instead of hiring a flower delivery company to bring a bouquet to your loved one, hand-deliver it in person. Hand-delivering gives you a chance to purchase the flowers yourself and shop around to minimize your cost.

Cook At Home

Instead of treating your loved one to an expensive dinner out, which could cost hundreds of dollars, spend a fraction of that by cooking at home. Buying an expensive cut of meat, preparing it skillfully and serving it with many side dishes will taste just as good as a restaurant meal but will cost only a fraction.

You could even make it a fun activity and tackle a new recipe with your spouse, and this would give you a chance to bond over cooking while saving money at the same time.

Plan Frugal Activities

Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a romantic event or two. Instead of spending a lot of money going to the movies or a play, consider opting for a free or low-cost event instead. Take a walk through a beautifully lit park at night, go ice skating, or even snowshoeing. These activities are free but will still allow you to spend time together, and that’s what’s important, right?

Opt Out

This option is for frugal pros only, because suggesting it to your significant other could result in some friction unless you are both firmly on the frugal living bandwagon.

While celebrating Valentine’s Day is fun, it’s not necessary, and you can always choose to opt out of celebrating completely. My husband and I have recently scaled back our Valentine’s Day celebrations, and it’s an excellent way to save money. What surprised me was how much relief I felt once we decided not to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I’d never realized how much pressure I’d put on myself to make Valentine’s Day a memorable experience until suddenly that weight was lifted.

If you have a spouse that understands your frugal intentions, you may be able to suggest that Valentine’s Day is just a day, and maybe you don’t need to celebrate it with extravagant declarations of your love for one another.

This Valentine’s Day, my husband and I plan to cook a nice meal together, share a bottle of wine and snuggle up on the couch with a good movie. This plan will save us hundreds of dollars this year, and we don’t have to worry about dressing up, dinner reservations, flower deliveries or jewelry purchases. We will be happier for it, and our wallets will be, too.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Cai

Jordann Brown


Jordann Brown is a freelance writer and marketer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She paid off $38,000 in two years by living on a budget in a 400 square foot cottage. You can find her blog at my-alternate-life.com.

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