Are you looking for ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget? Roses, chocolate and dinner out can add up pretty quickly — especially around Valentine’s Day when those romantic gestures always seem to cost a little bit more than usual.
Indeed, the average American spends about $140 on Valentine’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation. But you don’t have to spend anywhere close to that amount to tell your loved ones that you truly love them.
Here are five ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget
Say it with seeds
A dozen roses at any other time of year might set you back $15 or $20. But, on Valentine’s Day, that total can double or more thanks to the increased demand for the long-stemmed beauties.
Skip this traditional Valentine’s Day gift and get creative. Instead of buying flowers that are ready for the vase now, buy ones that will grow — just like your love. A simple pack of seeds for flowers or herbs, for instance, cost less than a $1. If your loved one has a yard or garden, perfect. If not, a small pot and a little dirt to plant those flowers in will set you back a few more dollars.
If growing something from seeds scares you, spend a few dollars on a houseplant. HGTV lists 10 forgiving houseplants, which won’t cost you as much as a dozen roses and will give your beauty a little beauty all year long.
Make your own treat
A box of chocolates is tasty — but so are a batch of homemade cookies that you’ve whipped up together with your loved ones. Instead of buying store bought chocolates — which can cost $5 and much more — celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget by diving deep into your pantry to pull out ingredients that you probably already have on hand to make some cookies, brownies or another yummy treat.
Try dinner in
Sure, it may sound relaxing to be wined and dined at a fancy steak restaurant. But is that hour of fun worth the stress of an expensive restaurant bill?
A sure fire way to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget is to dine in. A homemade meal can be creative, romantic and cozy. My Recipes offers up a Valentine’s Day menu with steak that will cost just $7 per serving. Good Cheap Eats also offers up romantic dinner ideas.
Consider a kid swap
Sure, you love your kids more than life itself. But sometimes it’s good — and healthy — to spend a little bit of time away from them. Instead of hiring a babysitter, who can charge between $10 and $15 these days, look to friends and family.
Would Grandma or Auntie love a few special hours with your adorable crew? Or, could you swap time with neighbors — sending your kids over to their house for a few hours one day and then taking in your neighbors’ kids for a few hours the next?
Enjoy the moment
Our lives are so busy as we juggle one or more jobs, care for kids, complete household duties and more. Instead of spending time and money shopping for gifts for loved ones, spend that time on special activities with them. Take a walk. Go to the playground. Read a book together. Snuggle up for a movie night. Play a board game. Build an indoor fort. Explore a free museum. Gaze up at the stars at night.
Bottom line: Spend your time being with the ones you love, not buying something for them, this Valentine’s Day.