Valentine's Day Ideas that won't break the bank… or the romance
By, Carla Hindman, Director of Financial Education, Visa Canada
It's that time of year again, love is in the air! But you don't want the price tag that comes along with February 14th to cause a break up with your wallet. A survey conducted by RetailMeNot.ca, estimates that Canadian lovebirds spend around $164 on Valentine's Day.
While the pressure to show your love can be overwhelming, Valentine's Day spending within your budget is possible. Here are some ways to warm their heart and spare your wallet:
Leverage your creativity. Valentine's Day is all about thoughtfulness and appreciation. Homemade gifts, or even personalized coupons can be a special treat among the mountains of store-bought presents. Think about what your loved one may want or need, and then incorporate your own talents. Bake cookies; create a photo album; or even write a love note. A homemade card can also be a personal way to express how much your Valentine means to you.
Set a limit on gift spending. You don't want cupid's arrow to pierce a hole in your wallet. Before planning your presents and activities, have a money conversation with your loved one to determine a Valentine's Day budget and spending cap. This will help ensure you're on the same page financially, and romantically.
You don't have to run for the roses. A dozen roses are a classic gift. But there are other, equally beautiful flower alternatives that are a little less pricey. If your loved one has a green thumb, consider a potted plant or seeds you can sow later. Remember, spring is right around the corner!
Declare a staycation. Visit museums on half-price days or out-of-the-way eateries you always thought about trying. Check out local calendars of events or activities that are free or low-cost such as paint nights, concerts or plays. Sometimes just taking the time to slow down and spend quality time together is the greatest gift of all.
If it's a night out, do your homework. Valentine's Day can be one of the most crowded and expensive nights to go out. If you have a restaurant or event in mind, research everything you can about the food, ambiance and specials at various times of day – particularly during early, fixed-price periods and slower days of the week.
Grab those free passes, points and coupons. Mileage, restaurants and online discount clubs can offer a range of options. Points can be used for discounts or free nights out on Valentine's Day or immediate dates. Decide which offers are the best deals and leverage them the best that you can. Your Valentine never has to know that your romantic date was done on a discount.
If you must bling, bling responsibly. If this Valentine's Day involves an engagement or another grand gesture of romance, plan well in advance, shop around and get advice on what you're envisioning buying.
Bottom Line: Valentine's Day is about the people, not the bill. A little time and creativity can help you devise a memorable day without breaking the bank – or the romance.
This article is intended to provide general information and should not be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.