Ryan P. Cleary
Make Valentine's Day Fun & Frugal (even if you forgot)
Updated: Aug 2, 2019
If you’re still trying to plan your Valentine’s Day, you’re in good company. As many as 78% of Americans celebrating the holiday wait until the last minute to finish their shopping and planning. Unfortunately, that may put some extra strains on your budget. Valentine’s day is already stressful enough (did you buy the right gift? Did you go overboard? Does the restaurant have a reservation available?) but it also falls at an inconvenient time during the pay cycle: The 14th. Many Americans paid semi-monthly will not be paid until the 15th or 16th, and this year weekly & bi-weekly pay cycles won’t be paying out until the 15th or 22nd. When the majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, paying for Valentine’s Day can be a challenge.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend the average of $136.57 or scramble to book an expensive reservation. Our team (with the help of our spouses) has assembled a list of affordable options to help (just don’t let your S.O. see—unless it floats their boat?)
Don’t Believe the Jewelry Ads
Despite what the jewelry industry might lead you to believe, only 20% of Americans exchange jewelry on Valentine’s Day (Only 54% planned to celebrate at all in 2018). Instead of expensive jewelry, consider smaller gifts that reflect your significant other’s hobbies, favorite show, or music. Diamonds may be forever, but so are the bills.
Most People Want Experiences
According to Business Wire and Stubhub, the two most popular Valentine’s Day gifts and activities are a dinner together and tickets to a live event. This is especially true if your significant other is 18-34 years old, where >70% of those surveyed agreed those were the best gifts. Do they enjoy concerts, theater, the zoo, museums, movies, tours, or similar? This is a great chance to pick up tickets and go out together the day of or plan a date in the future. Over half of those surveyed also said that “they would be happy to receive a gift card from their significant other,” so maybe let them pick the concert?
Consider Staying In
This late in the game, most good restaurants are already booked (OpenTable reports that reservations are made, on average, 11 days in advance) anyways, so why pay high prices for a mediocre experience? If you are set on going out, consider doing so for lunch: fewer reservations are made and often restaurants have lower prices on their lunch menus.
If you are staying in, here are some tricks to help set the mood:
· Music adds ambiance: If you have a speaker, hook your phone or computer up to it and play Spotify (if you don’t want ads, they are offering a 60 day free trial— make sure to cancel before you get hit with the $9.99/month rate). This will help set a mood and make the day feel special:
· Candles: We’re not talking those fancy Yankee Candles! Tea lights (either real or battery powered) are perfectly paired with mason jars and available at most retailers. They can transform a normal room into a warm space.
· Flowers: No need to order a dozen roses from a flower shop. Your local grocery store will have a variety of fresh bouquets available. Put those puppies in a nice container on your table and you’re set!
· Dinner: What’s more thoughtful than a nice meal? We aren’t chefs, but even our team has wowed with some of these quick and relatively affordable recipes.
· Dessert: Make it an experience by dipping fruit into melted chocolate.
Need more ideas?
Here’s some ideas our FloatMe App users suggested:
Succulents (and other plants): “These can be enjoyed year-round and be kept at home or at work!”
A DIY Gift Basket: “Fill a basket or container up with some of their favorite things or items which remind you of your time together. My husband did this not long after we were engaged.”
Scavenger Hunt: “Create clues leading your [significant other] to the next place around your house or neighborhood. I like to hide small notes or gifts at each stop.”
Take a Dance Class: “Nothing is more romantic than learning something new together and what is more fun than dancing?” (note: check local dance studios and schools to see if they offer free classes!)
Make Dinner Together: “Follow a simple recipe and enjoy a glass of wine together”
Be a Tourist: “My favorite memory was visiting [local] tourist places with my fiancée. It was lots of fun and we saw places we had never visited before”
Do you have any favorite Valentine’s Day tricks to share? Message us!