How to do Valentine’s Day on a budget—without looking cheap


Tuesday is Valentine’s day, and if you haven’t ordered flowers yet, it is going to be very expensive.

But the good news is that there are many last-minute gifts that show your love without breaking the bank.

A classic that almost everyone loves: chocolate.

Tracy Oenbrink is a chocolate shop manager at Aglamesis Brothers Gourmet Chocolate.

“We have a bunch of different options,” she said, showing off Valentine’s treats for every budget.

She sells everything from simple bags of red and white candy for just $5 to assorted creamy chocolates for $28 a pound. And everything in between.

“We have one-pound hearts,” she said, “as well as two-pound and three-pound hearts.”

Just decide how much you can afford, and a chocolate shop should be able to fulfill your wishes.

“What’s better than giving a heart-shaped gift for your valentine?” she said.

Nothing wrong with watching the budget

The reality this Valentine’s Day is that coming off the holiday season, and with inflation still hitting consumers hard, financial experts say there is nothing wrong with dialing it back.

Caleb Silver of Investopedia says, “the holidays always put a lot of pressure on us to spend money, because that’s what us consumers do.”

Instead, Silver says, enjoy a meal at home, instead of an expensive (and crowded) restaurant dinner.

Best of all, he says, some things, like steaks, are cheaper now than they were a year ago.

“Cooking dinner at home, and creating an experience at home,” he said. “That would be even nicer than if you went out to dinner.”

Another last-minute idea — gifting an experience.

Sites like Groupon and Uncommon Goods have deals for cooking classes, getaways, even massages.

Silver says save more by using any cash rewards you have on your credit card.

“It’s a great way to use those rewards to buy a gift for the one you love without actually going into your bank account,” he says.

A few more ways to save, he says:

  • Grab a greeting card at the dollar store or make your own, to avoid $7 cards at the drugstore.
  • Plan something that’s free, like a hike.
  • Consider lilies or tulips instead of roses.

Indeed, if you still love flowers, but not the high price of roses, floral designer Carol Ruffin of Blossoms Florist says give a plant that will live all summer.

“Try a planter,” she said, “so it will continue to grow after Valentine’s Day.”

You will show your love all year long, and that way you don’t waste your money.

About the Author

John Matarese

John's goal is to help as many TV viewers as possible save money, avoid bad deals, know a rip-off when one comes their way, and be educated consumers. His informative weekly consumer segment "Don't Waste Your Money" now airs on 45 TV stations from San Diego to Tampa to Houston and Cincinnati. More.

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