Roses, chocolates and a dinner reservation for two might be the traditional ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but they aren’t the only ways.
If you’re aiming to plan a budget-conscious celebration this year, here are a few ways to spark romance on Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank.
1. Skip the restaurant and plan a meal at home.
Many restaurants offer special prix fixe menus on Valentine’s Day, and these menus often come at a special—and steep—price point.
Instead of making a reservation, turn to your favorite recipe books and food blogs to come up with your own menu for an indulgent meal at home. You can still splurge on a higher-end cut of protein if you like—it will cost less to cook at home than what you would pay at a restaurant.
If you and your partner both love to cook (or if you’re both equally uneasy in the kitchen), making dinner together can be a romantic team effort. Or you can offer to handle the culinary heavy lifting and cook for your partner.
Make the occasion feel a little more special without spending extra by using the special occasion dishes and glasses that are usually reserved for guests—or embrace the casual date night and enjoy dinner together on the couch (pajamas optional).
2. Rethink the roses.
It’s not your imagination: Florists tend to increase the price of roses on Feb. 14. But it is possible to find flowers for a reasonable price, even on the holiday.
Your local grocery store or Trader Joe’s are two options for finding more affordable flowers. Instead of buying a bouquet of exclusively roses, you could also select a bouquet with just a few roses mixed in.
And instead of paying extra fees for floral delivery, pick up flowers yourself if possible and arrange a bouquet in your own vase.
3. Embrace new or unconventional traditions.
Who says you have to celebrate on Feb. 14? Push back your Valentine’s Day celebration (or observe the holiday a little early) to avoid paying full price on flowers, gifts and meals at crowded restaurants—then hit the sale aisle to pick up a discounted greeting card and box of chocolates.
If you and your significant other aren’t too attached to the date, you can celebrate your love for each other any time while saving some money in the process.
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