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Creative Ways to Spend Valentine's Day This Year

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and it's a perfect time to show your friends, family and loved ones just how much you care. It's important to remember that the best ways to show your appreciation come from the heart – not the wallet! A recent survey from the National Retail Federation found that total spending on Valentine's Day this year is expected to reach over $20 billion. But don't worry, we've got a few creative solutions to help make your Valentine's Day memorable and affordable:

Give DIY gifts

If you plan on exchanging gifts with your significant other, it's a good idea to set a spending limit. Believe it or not, sticking to a budget can actually make gift giving more fun! Not only will it take away the stress of overspending, but it will also challenge you to think outside the box and come up with more thoughtful gifts.

For example, a homemade gift can be much less expensive than a store-bought gift and much more meaningful. Try one of these DIY Valentine's Day gifts:

  • ​Create a handmade card
  • Bake cookies or other Valentine's Day treats
  • Make a personalized playlist or retro mixtape.
  • Put together a photo album or video of your favorite memories together

Give the gift of an experience

According to the National Retail Federation, 40 percent of Americans want “gifts of experience" for Valentine's Day. This could be because experience-type gifts are often more memorable than material gifts. Or, maybe it's that experiences are even better when they're shared with someone you love. Here are a few fun and inexpensive ideas:

  • Visit a local art or history museum
  • Attend a community event, like a play or concert
  • Take a cooking or painting class
  • Host an at-home game night
  • Try a new fitness activity like rock-climbing or ballroom dancing
  • Volunteer together

Cook dinner together

Another easy way to save money on Valentine's Day? Ditch the dinner reservations at fancy restaurants and dine at home instead. The holiday is a great excuse to roll up your sleeves and get creative in the kitchen, whether you prepare a favorite meal or try something brand new. Light some candles and you have the recipe for a romantic dinner!

Celebrate on February 15th

Who says you need to celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14th? You can often save money (and beat the crowds) by postponing your celebration a few days. After February 14th, most retailers put Valentine's Day candy and merchandise on clearance. If you're patient, you can stock up on the same treats and gifts for a fraction of the price.

Valentine's Day doesn't need to be expensive to be special. With these money-saving ideas, you can celebrate the loved ones in your life while keeping your budget intact.

Do you have any tips for celebrating Valentine's Day on a budget? We'd love to hear them! Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.