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Budget-friendly Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

Sandra Sherk

Special days like Valentine’s Day can add pressure to an already stretched budget. Many people feel they have to spend money to show their loved ones that they’re appreciated and special, but we can all celebrate Valentine’s Day without going into debt.

Retailers love the holidays, as they tend to put people into the shopping and spending mood, but is that what special holidays are really about? Is Christmas about how many presents are under the tree, or Easter about which child has the cutest spring dress? Or does your fella love you more because he bought you a dozen red roses, instead of just one perfect one?

If you want to enjoy Valentine’s Day without worrying about your March credit card bill, there are a few things you can do.

How to Enjoy Valentine’s Day without Going into Debt

  1. Keep it simple.  It shouldn’t take a fancy dinner or a night away to show how much you care for another person. 

  2. Cook for someone you love. A special gift for the person who always makes dinner is to have someone else cook instead. Consider making Valentine’s dinner, and f you have kids, maybe get the kids involved too. It doesn’t have to be elaborate when it comes from the heart.

  3. Card alternatives. Buying a nice card can set you back as much as $10 if you go to a fancy card store. For some it’s worth the cost, but for a lot of us, a nice handwritten letter or note can be worth so much more. You can also find beautiful cards at the Dollar Store versus spending big bucks at the card store. After all, many people throw the cards away after a couple of weeks. Or consider making your own card like you did when you were a kid.

  4. Use gift cards. Funds are often tight this time of year thanks to all the Christmas credit statements and bills, so why not ease the pressure by using some of the gift credits you received over the holidays? This is the perfect time to use that movie pass for two, or that multi-restaurant gift card you got from your boss. If you have a mall gift card, I am sure you can find something special for your loved one in one of the stores.

  5. Use your points or Air Miles. If you have points or Air Miles that can be redeemed for meals or special gifts, now can be a great time to use them. Some reward programs offer spa day packages, wine country tours, or tickets to special events, like the ballet or concerts. 

  6. Celebrate at home. If you and your sweetie know there isn’t much money to spend on a fancy outing, plan an evening in instead with an inexpensive bottle of wine, some cheese and crackers and a small package of some delicious chocolate. No debt and no RIDE checks.

  7. Don’t compare yourself to others. The person in the next office or cubicle at work may have spent a ton of money on Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean he/she loves their partner anymore than you love yours. You also don’t know if they are losing sleep at night because of their mounting debt.

  8. Be you and celebrate your way. Do what is right and realistic for you and enjoy being with the one you love (or really like). That is what romance is really all about.

Start new Valentine’s Day traditions

I have a friend who met her special guy at university. Their first Valentine’s dinner was at Mother’s Pizza restaurant. They had such a good night, it became a tradition for them and Valentine’s Day dinner was always spaghetti and pizza. Many, many years later they are still together. (Mother’s Pizza on the other hand wasn’t as fortunate and didn’t survive.) When their kids were very young, they made spaghetti and pizza at home every Valentine’s instead of going out and getting a babysitter, and as the kids got older, they all went out for their special meal. Now it’s back to just the two of them and even though they could afford a fancy dinner, they like spending Valentine’s Day at a local inexpensive restaurant that serves spaghetti and pizza.

The lesson here is that they celebrate being together, not how much they can afford to spend on each other.

Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner about what to expect for Valentine’s.  And with your partner or on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help if your finances are stressing you out or if you're struggling with debt. Our certified credit counsellors at Credit Canada can assist you in dealing with your financial concerns and getting back on track, so you are able to enjoy special days for many years to come. Give us a call at  1.800.267.2272.

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Topics: Saving Money

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