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5 Ways You Can Save this Valentine's Day

As Valentine's Day quickly approaches, it's a good time to start planning your night so that you can be one of the people saving money when all is said and done. Failure to plan out your night in advance can cost you big. You'll likely have to pay more to get flowers, you won't have the best selection of affordable restaurants and you might find yourself paying extra to get your special someone the gift she wants. Let's face it, you're not the only one that Valentine's Day is just a gimmick to force you to open up your wallet. Fortunately, there are ways to save money and still make Valentine's Day a day to remember without breaking the bank.

1. Make Reservations in Advance or Prepare a Meal at Home

If you're going to go to a restaurant for Valentine's Day, it's not going to help you with your goal of saving money. However, going out to dinner without a reservation is going to cost you a lot more, including your self-respect and possibly the respect of your partner. It's a fact that the best mid-range, affordable restaurants are going to be booked up if you don't make arrangements ahead of time. This means you're either going to end up wandering the streets looking for a restaurant, or you're going to have to spend more money to bribe a more expensive restaurants host. Either option likely won't put you in the good graces of your date.
The better option is to prepare a meal at home, or get an order to go from a restaurant. Getting an order to go saves you money on tips and alcohol, and it can save the day if you're not prepared to cook a meal yourself. If you do have the ability to cook your own meal, consider making a nice meal at home. As long as you buy a good gift, suitable sweets and a good bottle of wine, you and your loved one can enjoy a nice, romantic and affordable Valentine's Day at home. This is also a time to show how well you know what your partner likes. 

2. Comparison Shop

By all means, go to the local mall and look for a gift for your love, but don't buy it just yet. Once you find the right gift, go home and research other places where you can purchase the item. Check out sites like that provide you with deals, promotions and coupons for special holidays. Look for the item online to see how much it really costs, and call around to different jewelry stores in the area to find out if someone else sells the item you want for less. Shop around and you'll find yourself saving money on your Valentine's Day gift.
A gift on Valentine's Day may be the most important part of the day. If you do it right, you can usually get items for 30 to 50 percent off the retail price by ordering in advance. Another option is to wait until after Valentine's Day to buy your gift. If you plan this right, you can save money on a more expensive gift and still have an enjoyable night out. One way you can pull this off is by talking to her ahead of time. This is not a good option if you aren't on familiar terms with your significant other, or if you have a gut feeling she's not going to go for it. However, if you're a conservative couple that likes to save money while sticking it to the man, consider bringing up the possibility of doing a low-cost Valentine's Day. Tell her that one way to save money is to let you buy her a gift the next day when all of the stores offer sales and see how she responds.

3. Fix Up the House

Here's an idea that will save you money over the long term, but might cost you more initially. If there is a major project around the house that she has been dying for you to complete, offer to finish some of the major projects that you have been putting off and take her shopping to spruce up the home instead of spending all your savings on a single night out. You can kill two birds with one stone here. You get a job completed that you were going to have to complete anyway, the house gets fixed up and you spend the money that would have went to an expensive night out on something that will improve your lives. 

4. Make it a Valentine's Day Party

If you have other like-minded friends, talk to them ahead of time and tell them you're interested in throwing a party on Valentine's Day. By doing this, you can have several people contribute to the festivities, while reducing the cost associated with going out to eat. At the end of the night, everyone can still go home some much needed bedroom activities, but you get the added benefit of getting together with all your friends earlier in the day. If a Valentine's Day party with a bunch of your friends isn't your idea of a romantic evening, then consider having your own. Get Valentine's Day sweets, decorate the house and plan romantic games you can play to get each other going. As long as you have a nice meal, a bottle of wine (or two) and plenty of entertainment, you can make Valentine's Day a memorable and affordable experience. There are plenty of adult-oriented board games, party themes and romantic movies that can make a night in as enjoyable as a night out.

5. Make it a Challenge

This one requires some planning ahead of time, otherwise you run the risk of coming off as cheap. Tell her that you want to show your love with actions this year and not by paying for expensive dinners, buying costly gifts and lavishing her with roses that will die within a week. Explain that anybody with a credit card can do those things. Tell her this year, you would like to make Valentine's Day extra special by taking the time to do the ordinary things you never get to do as a couple. Plan a leisurely stroll by a lake, have a picnic in a secluded park, go for a hike in the wilderness or donate your time to a local charity to help people in need. Explain that you want this Valentine's Day to be about the experience and not about the bank roll. If she's anything like you, she'll agree and enjoy the time you spend together no matter what.
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Yael Kent's picture

Yael Kent is a personal finance enthusiast with experience writing about credit cards, credit repair, debt, and more. In addition to being an editor at Creditnet, she has been featured on Yahoo Finance, Reuters, and other financial sites.

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