Between flowers, chocolates, jewelry and a night on the town, Valentine’s Day costs can quickly add up. In fact, consumers are expected to spend an average of $136.57 on the holiday this year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. But with careful planning, you can be frugal without sacrificing romance.
Here are some ways to tug at your valentine’s heartstrings while being sensible with your purse strings.
1. Know where to shop
One obvious way to save money on Valentine’s Day is to skip the full-priced gifts. As the day inches closer, you can expect more themed sales to pop up. Here are some we’ve already seen:
- Amazon: Browse featured deals on Amazon’s Valentine’s Day hub, including $20 off Kindle e-readers and tablets. Prime members get early access to these discounts and free two-day shipping on eligible items.
- Fitbit: Select activity trackers are up to 25% off through Feb. 15 and you’ll get free two-day shipping on orders of $50 or more.
- J.C. Penney: Save up to 60% on jewelry at the department store, and if you spend $75 or more on gift cards, you’ll receive a $10 coupon. Both deals apply through Feb. 14.
- Target: Find discounts on candy, dinnerware, decor and more.
- Victoria’s Secret: The lingerie retailer has a few online offers, including a free lotion and lip silk with the purchase of 1.7-ounce or larger eau de parfum through Feb. 13. Enter the codes GETLOTION and TRYLIPSILK at checkout.
2. Use an app or browser extension to find discounts
Don’t have the patience to scout out the best deals on heart-shaped pendants and bottles of cologne at the mall? Save time and money — and possibly earn cash back — by letting an app or browser extension do the work for you. ShopSavvy is a free app for iOS and Android devices that compares prices and displays offers from retailers so that you can locate the best places to buy. If you want to shop at a specific website, use a browser extension like Piggy that searches for and automatically applies coupons to your online shopping cart.
3. Use credit card perks
Using the right credit card can make a big difference, especially when you’re purchasing something expensive, such as electronics or fine jewelry. Before you pay, find out if you have a card that offers benefits like rewards, price protection or cash back. This could help you score a better deal on gifts or dining, and you might already have points to redeem. If your card has rotating offers, find out which are available around Valentine’s Day. Just remember that you might need to opt in first.
4. DIY gifts and dinner
Thoughtful gestures can be more romantic than expensive gifts. Get crafty, clip flowers from your yard, make a card or prepare a meal to save money. For example, home-cooked spaghetti costs $8.94 less per serving on average than eating spaghetti from a restaurant, according to a 2016 report from the web data service Datafiniti. Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to make your beloved’s favorite dish or try out a new recipe. Saving money and adding your personal touch? Call that a win-win.
5. Postpone the celebration
Celebrating Valentine’s Day belatedly can be a smart financial decision. Retailers move candy to their clearance shelves immediately after Feb. 14 to make room for new inventory. That means you can get the same sweet treats for a fraction of the price if you hold off for just one day. And because Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, you can spend more time enjoying each other’s company if you wait until the weekend to celebrate. Plus, you might avoid the prix-fixe menus and hiked-up prices that restaurants favor on the actual holiday.