10 Budget Friendly Valentine's Day Ideas

Posted: February 7, 2024

Couple enjoying quality time and preparing their Valentine's Day dinner in a bright kitchen

Love is in the air and the sale of chocolate is starting to rise. Valentine’s Day is on the way, and with that comes convincing commercials and social media posts that tell you to purchase the best of the best for your significant other. If you find that your mind is racing and heart is pumping at that idea, it’s not cupid’s arrow that is to blame.

The commercial world tries to convince us that we need to spend hundreds of dollars or to top the gift from the year before just to meet the minimum affection requirements for Valentine’s Day. It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz of social media and television that shows couples who are only happy after receiving the most expensive gifts. However, a bigger price tag doesn't signify how much you care for your partner.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), on average consumers spent $192.80 on Valentine’s Day in 2023. If that number puts you on edge, try setting expectations with your significant other beforehand, to avoid overspending. Remember, you can use this day as an opportunity to show how you feel in a meaningful or modest way. Consider one or more of the options below to show your affection to the ones you love without draining your bank account.


Inexpensive Meal Options

1. Dinner at Home:

Take the time to make dinner together. Sit down with your significant other and talk about your favorite meals and make one or multiple courses. Open a cookbook and pick something at random, or find something you’re both fond of. Not only will you spend time together making it, but you also get to be creative. Don’t worry about making mistakes or burning the sauce, it’s all part of the fun!


2. Brunch is Cheaper:

Go out to a nice breakfast or brunch instead of a fancy dinner. A classic breakfast cocktail is a lot cheaper than a $100 bottle of wine at a steakhouse. Why, spend $45 a plate when you could spend $50 for the whole meal? Breakfast is the important meal of the day after all. On the plus side, you’ll have the rest of the day to spend together as you see fit. Remember to use your Rewards Credit Card to earn points when you pay for the meal!

3. Keep Things Simple:

A high-end dinner isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Instead, enjoy a simple meal like a food truck or a cheap hole-in-the-wall restaurant. With the money you didn’t use on that expensive dinner, spend it on drinks or entertainment at local hotspots afterwards. Of course, you can always pocket your cash and save it for a rainy day.


Entertainment at Home or Out and About

4. Game Time:

Give yourselves a blast of nostalgia with some of your favorite childhood games. Put together a puzzle, teach one another a card game or laugh the night away playing your favorite board games.

5. Ultimate Movie Night:

Create a cozy setup in your living room for a charming movie night indoors. Turn on the TV and snuggle up with your favorite romcom or rent a movie you have never seen. Top it with a bowl of popcorn to share or order takeout.

6. Craft an Experience:

Create a memorable experience by signing up for a class together. Pool the money you planned to spend on gifts and attend a cooking, painting or dancing class (to name a few). Learning a new skill together will strengthen your bond and create a memory of a special experience that will last much longer than a box of chocolates.


Gifts From the Heart

7. Shopping Showdown:

Set a spending limit and go on a shopping spree together. Pick your favorite store and split up to buy as much as you can within the limit. Have fun with it and pick a theme for each gift. When you get home, show off what you purchased one gift at a time and describe why you picked it.

8. Handcrafted Gifts:

There is nothing more personal than a handmade gift or handwritten letter. Things like a framed photo, scrapbook or video collage are great gifts from the heart. Bake their favorite cookies, knit a blanket or design a coffee mug. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and make something special for that special someone.

9. A Place for Memories:

Chip in for a membership together at a place that makes you happy. Nothing is more priceless than making new memories! Ideas like an annual pass for hiking trails, botanical garden, rock climbing or water/amusement parks can encourage you to spend time with one another all year round.

10. Check for Deals:

Take a different approach and see if you may be eligible for deals through a club you’re a part of, your employer or even your credit card. Look into low-cost activities that match the vibe of your relationship. You could find discounts for dining, special events or local tourist attractions.


Valentine’s Day should only promise your attention and the ability to grow love based on feelings, not price tags. In a healthy relationship, you shouldn’t feel obligated to provide a grand gesture for a loved one. Instead of a trip to Paris, buy a couple burgers and a sundae from your local custard shop and eat it together judgement free. Or simply hug the one you love and tell them how much they mean to you. Whether you’re spending the day with a significant other, taking some time for yourself or hanging out with your pets on the couch, there is no need to break the bank on gifts and food. Take some of these ideas into consideration when planning for this years Valentine’s Day.

If your current financial situation makes you nervous going into the holiday, try using some of the tools in Landmark Digital Banking. As a member you can learn how to be a budget master, track your spending, monitor your credit score, or evaluate your financial health with our financial checkup feature. Looking for additional resources on budgeting and financing? Check out Managing Money as a Couple or A Couples Guide to Merging Finances.