Valentine's Day. It's one of those holidays that we love to hate—if not because of the over-commercialization associated with it, then because of the unrealistic expectations we inevitably end up placing on ourselves (and/or partners).
Regardless of how you feel about Hallmark's favorite holiday, the fact remains that it's officially upon us. But, just because you and your boo have decided you want to celebrate, doesn't mean you have to spend an arm and a leg in order to make the day special. In fact, might we suggest you...
Offer an experience instead of a gift.
Instead of paying for an over-priced meal, some form of knock-your-socks-off entertainment, and a gift for your best guy or gal, why not make a unique experience the entire gift?
Websites like Xperience Days offer deals for activities far removed from the regular dinner and movie thing (including coffee and chocolate tasting tours, sunset snowmobile excursions, and hot air balloon rides, to name a few).
When in doubt, you can always go the good ol' Groupon or LivingSocial route, too.
Skip the chocolates and bake instead.
Sweets are sweets—whether they come from Godiva, or your own kitchen. (We realize some might disagree with this statement, but we here at The Dime are pretty equal opportunity as far as the sweet stuff is concerned.)
A box of gourmet or artisanal chocolates could cost upwards of $75, but a huge batch of homemade cookies can cost under $10. And, if you’re short on time as well as money, there's always pre-packaged cookie dough to save the day.
Opt for succulent success instead (no, but really).
If you're a once-a-year flower purchaser, you may not realize how much higher prices are around Valentine’s Day than virtually every other time of the year. According to U.S. News & World Report, it's the overwhelming demand for roses, and the fact that Valentine's Day falls on the exact same date worldwide, that are mostly to blame.
So, instead of going the traditional bouquet route, why not opt for a plant or ever-so-trendy succulent instead? Not only will it be more affordable, it'll last far longer as well. (After all, paying $100+ for an arrangement that won’t live longer than a week or so is kind of depressing...)
Choose a gift together.
Instead of buying holiday-specific gifts that neither of you really want or need in the first place, you might consider going 50/50 on a larger gift or experience that will benefit you both—especially if you've been wanting to buy/do it for a while anyway. While you won't necessarily be saving money upfront, at least you won't be putting your hard-earned dough toward something that doesn't serve much of a purpose.
Go out and stay in.
If there’s a new hotspot in town you've been dying to try, or you've simply been yearning to get dressed up and go out with your honey, how about opting to go out for drinks and appetizers, and then enjoying the main course and dessert at home? This "hybrid" approach to date night will help to pull back on the most expensive portion of the meal without sacrificing the overall experience.
Celebrate another day.
Yes, Valentine’s Day is February 14th, but shouldn't the sentiment behind it it be applicable (and celebrated) every day of the year? Avoid the crowds and cut down on the cost of traditional Valentine’s Day gifts by celebrating before or after the actual holiday. One upcoming event that you might postpone your celebration for: Denver Restaurant Week (taking place February 22 through March 3).
Put some thought into it.
Gifts or experiences often become expensive because we choose to bring in an outside party to do the heavy lifting for us. For example, we go out to dinner instead of making a meal ourselves; we buy flowers and chocolate because they don’t require us to do a whole lot of planning or brainstorming.
Cliché as it sounds, the more thought you put into a gift or experience, the more likely you are to get accolades from your partner (and feel pretty good about yourself at the same time). How about putting together a scavenger hunt, making a scrapbook of your favorite memories, handwriting a heartfelt letter, or recreating your first date? None of these break the bank, and at the end of the day, the sentiment each represents...well, that is priceless.
Do you have any plans for Valentine's Day? Share your ideas with us!