With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many are nervously checking their budgets to ensure that they have enough to cover the expense. Although the special holiday is meant to celebrate the love of two people, it typically turns into one of the most expensive dates of the year.

Almost everyone feels obligated to buy at least a gift and fancy dinner to express their love. Budget-conscious lovers can be slightly intimidated by the sheer amount of money that we’re expected to spend on one special day in February.

Luckily, there are ways to celebrate the day without buyer’s remorse. It will require creativity and love, but it is completely possible to have a romantic Valentine’s Day on a budget.

Love has been celebrated in the month of February for centuries. The first records of romance celebrations in mid-February are from a Roman springtime festival, called Lupercalia.

Around 500 AD, a feast day to honor two martyred priests was dubbed St. Valentine’s Day by the Catholic Church. The stories behind these two priests are gruesome and vague. However, some claim that the priest was executed after marrying several Roman soldiers that were forbidden to marry. Based on this legend, St. Valentine became the patron saint of love.

Through the centuries, the holiday evolved from a Roman springtime festival to a religious feast day and finally to the pink-hearted affair that we all enjoy today.

For a holiday centered around your love for another person, Valentine’s Day seems expensive. Although most of us (hopefully) celebrate our love for a partner in little ways every day, Valentine’s Day seems like THE day to show you care.

Stores understand that Valentine’s Day is a symbol of love and they attempt to exploit that advantage. Many stores market things specifically for Valentine’s day at a higher price even though the sell similar items year-round at a lower price.

We carelessly spend our money on heart-themed gifts to show our significant other that we care with a dollar amount.

Stores play to the fact that it is for your significant other, so it is okay to spend a lot of money. Many of us would do anything to ensure that our partner had a great Valentine’s Day without flinching at the cost.

When Valentine’s themed gift packages start to appear in stores, it can feel like there are no other options for your significant other. However, the heart-shaped trinkets do not need to appear in your Valentine’s Day celebration.

You can show your partner that you care with a thoughtful gift that won’t drain your bank account.

Here are some of the best options for an affordable Valentine’s Day.

Shop intentionally

The best way to have an affordable holiday is to shop with a purpose. Avoid the traditional box of chocolates or an oversized pink teddy bear. Consider buying something more personal that your significant other would love.

Always think about what your partner would love. If they have been thinking of buying something small for themselves but haven’t pulled the trigger, then that could be an option for an affordable and appreciated gift. For example, I plan to buy an antique radio set that my partner has been dying to tinker with for around $20. 

A few other good options to start looking through include:

  • A picture frameBuy a cute picture frame and then put their favorite picture in it. An easy way to put a fun personalized spin on a traditional gift.
  • JewelryNot all jewelry has to be expensive. If your partner loves beautiful necklaces, then find an affordable option.
  • A useful purseEvery girl loves a new purse. Choose an option that you know she would love.
  • SucculentsTiny plants are very popular with everyone today. You may even be able to find a heart-shaped succulent.
  • MultitoolHandy folks will love a practical multitool. It makes a cheap but practical gift.
  • JournalFor the writer in your life, buy a quality journal for them to pour their thoughts into.
  • StationeryBuy a classic stationery set and write a love letter to your significant other, they will absolutely love it.

Homemade route

You do not have to prove that you love someone with an item that you bought from the store. DIY Valentine gifts are always an option if you are feeling crafty. 

You could:

  • Bake a Valentine’s themed dessert.
  • Create an at-home spa day.
  • Cook their favorite dinner.
  • Take a romantic homemade picnic to the park.
  • Agree to watch their all-time favorite movie. 

Take time to get creative about your homemade options. The best gifts are unique and created with careful thought. Anything that you make is likely to have a better response than the same cardboard box of chocolates that everyone else is getting.

If you choose to buy anything for your Valentine’s Day preparations, then you should take advantage of credit card rewards. Many credit cards offer cash back rewards to their cardholders. That means that anytime you spend money on an approved purchase with your credit card, you can earn cash back.

A few good options for cash back rewards credit cards include:

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card earns you 4% back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases.

That’s one of the best cash back packages around! And when Valentine’s Day rolls around, you’ll get 4% back if you decide a fancy dinner is the right choice.

Read our full Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card review to learn more information.

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back (on up to $1,500 in combined purchases) in rotating categories each quarter you activate. One of these categories is almost always restaurants. 

You’ll also get an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Read our full Chase Freedom® review to learn more information.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great rewards card for folks who want a simple cash back system.

It offers 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase, with no limitations.

Read our full Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card review to learn more information.


Valentine’s Day can get expensive quickly but there are ways to create a more affordable holiday. Showing your partner that you care is important but you can create a memorable holiday without breaking your budget.

Read more

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