Valentine’s Day On a Budget: How to Find Love & Laughs for Less

When it comes to the topic of Valentine’s Day, public opinion seems to be split. Some people love everything about it. Hearts, roses, candy, flowers, cupid — you name it, they’re here for it! On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find “Valentine Scrooges” who consider February 14th a day like any other. They’re convinced the celebration and fanfare are nothing more than Hallmark-sponsored money grabs. To be fair, these positions are extreme.

If you’re like most people, you probably enjoy spending the romantic holiday with your special someone, but you prefer to celebrate without spending a ton of money. Good for you. There’s nothing more attractive than someone who plans a financially responsible Valentine’s date. So, if you’re looking to create an inexpensive, fun-loving Valentine’s experience you’ll remember for years to come, we have a few suggestions you might enjoy.

Dress up and dine in. At first, this suggestion may seem pretty crazy. Why would you go through the trouble of getting all dressed up if you’re not going out in public? Because there’s a strange, yet undeniable appeal to doing something that doesn’t make sense to anyone else, that’s why. So, go ahead—go big. Glam it up. Suit and tie. Gown and heels. The more overdressed, the better. Whether you cook for yourself or order your favorite takeout, the food choice isn’t nearly as important as the fact that you’re both ridiculously overdressed for the occasion. And that’s the point. Have fun with it!

Dress down and hit the town. Like the previous idea, this one involves an unexpected combination of date attire and meal selection—but with a completely different twist. Before the big date, you and your date head to the nearest thrift store (you can shop together or separately) and buy a complete outfit for the other person, spending no more than $10 in the process. The clothing selections can be as tacky and outrageous as you please—the tackier, the better. The only catch is that you both have to wear the outfits to dinner, no questions asked. If you play this one right, not only will you save money and enjoy your date, everyone around you will probably get a kick out of it as well.

Dollar store gift challenge. You and your date can play this one a couple of different ways. The first approach involves heading to the nearest dollar store and seeing who can find the single best/craziest/funniest/most ridiculous gift for the other person. The second option involves setting a spending limit and seeing who can rack up the most entertaining gift collection. (No need to go above $10. After all, it’s still a dollar store). For a little additional fun, take some selfies with your newfound treasures, and share your pics on social media using the hashtag #DollarStoreScore. After your adventure, head out and grab some dessert. Since you did your Valentine shopping at the dollar store, you’ll have plenty left to cover a sweet treat or two!

Whether you use the tips above or come up with a clever idea of your own, being smart about your Valentine’s spending goes a long way towards ensuring your day is filled fun-loving memories instead of expensive mistakes. And when you’re wondering what to do with all your savings, don’t forget to stop by your local credit union — we’re happy to help you find ways to make your money work for you. And let’s be honest, long-term financial stability is sweeter than a $10 box of chocolates could ever be!

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