As Valentine’s Day approaches, you might be feeling the pressure to do something spectacular for the person you love. When you’re trying to stay focused on reaching your financial goals, though, it’s hard to justify spending hundreds of dollars no matter how strong your love is. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can celebrate the day together without spending a fortune. Talk to your sweetheart, then plan something more affordable together.
1. A Home-Cooked Meal
If you like the idea of having a romantic dinner, but don’t want the expense of a night at one of Edmonton’s top-rated restaurants, consider making something at home. If one of you usually handles the cooking, it might be nice for the other to take the reins to plan and cook this meal. It can also be fun to prep and cook the meal together. Try recreating the meal you had on your first date. Make a time-honoured family recipe. Simply make pasta with a jar of sauce and toss a salad. It’s not the food that’s important: it’s the time you’re spending together.
2. Netflix and Chill (Seriously!)
Order takeout or stock up on snacks, then find a good movie to watch together. The day might seem to lend itself to romantic movies, but don’t feel the pressure if that’s not really your thing. There’s also something intimate about holding each other during a scary movie. Whatever comes after the movie is up to you.
3. A Winter Hike
You probably take advantage of the many nature parks around Edmonton when the weather’s nice, but it’s also fun to experience the outdoors in the winter. You get to enjoy a whole new set of sights and sounds. Pack some hot chocolate, tea, or coffee, then go for a walk at River Valley or St. Albert’s Riel Wetlands. If you plan your date for February 11 instead of Valentine’s Day, you can catch the full moon.
If you’re looking for something that feels more like a proper date, consider going skating. There are many great outdoor skating rinks in Edmonton - City Hall is offering free Valentine's skating as well as disco music - and you can warm up with some hot chocolate from the café. If you’re not a fan of the cold, the Roller Disco at the Edmonton Sportsdome is only $10 per person. That’s an affordable and fun date night.
5. Setting Gift Expectations
As you think about ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day when you’re on a budget, you should make sure you’re both on the same page. Things can get awkward if one person buys an expensive gift while the other person simply makes a handmade card. Talk to each other about your expectations. Your gift to each other could be extra money into the down payment fund. It’s also fun to set a $10 limit and see what you can find for each other within that price range.
6. The Gift of Time
Sometimes, the most valuable gift of all is the gift of time. Think about ways you can offer your time to your sweetie. This might be something as simple and romantic as exchanging messages, but it could also be taking over a chore he or she hates doing. You might finally give yourselves the time to work on all the little fix-it projects in your home to get it ready for selling once you’re ready to buy a new home. You might also find an opportunity to volunteer somewhere together. Little things like this can really show a person you love them.
7. A Small Splurge
It’s hard to constantly feel like you’re denying yourself because you’re focused on reaching your financial goals. Perhaps you might find a bit of room in your budget to splurge just a little. This varies depending on your situation. For some people, it might mean getting a nice steak to cook at home instead of chicken. Others might be able to afford a night at a local hotel instead of going on a big vacation. If you can find a bit of room in your budget to treat yourselves, don’t feel guilty about doing it. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be special.
Valentine’s Day is about showing the person you love how much you care about them. This isn’t done by exchanging expensive gifts or spending big bucks on a night on the town. It’s about spending time with each other and showing the person you care. You can definitely do these things with whatever budget you have.