By Brandon Ballenger
It’s that time of year again – love is in the air, and so is spending.
Last year, the average person spent an estimated $116 on Valentine’s Day merchandise for a holiday total of $15.7 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.
If your heart’s in the right place but your bank account isn’t, not to worry. There are a lot of ways to save for V-Day and, as is true with almost anything, creativity saves cash. Here are several ideas to spend less this Valentine’s Day…
- Skip chocolates. Rather than buying the expensive stuff, grab a Valentine’s-themed gift bag (or a generic pink or red one) and add some cheaper candies like those little hearts that say “I love you.” Or skip candy altogether for the next idea…
- Bake. Especially if you don’t normally spend a lot of time in the kitchen, a batch of cookies or brownies can be a touching gift. Here’s a bunch of Valentine’s Day cookie recipes, but you don’t need to get fancy unless you want to – you can get the mix and heart-shaped cookie cutters (and sprinkles or icing if you want to go nuts) from the grocery store for a few bucks, and all you’ll need to add is simple ingredients like eggs and milk. Including the trip to the grocery store, it won’t take more than an hour or two.
- Flowers. While you’re at the supermarket, check out their floral section – as long as they keep their flowers refrigerated, they can be just as good as an independent florist’s and are probably cheaper. Refrigerated flowers last much longer than what you’ll get on the side of the road or online. And don’t grab the prettiest ones – grab the ones that are still budding. They’re just about to bloom, which is romantic, and they last the longest.
- Plants. Instead of paying a premium for dying flowers, you could buy a nice potted plant and grow your own throughout the year. Or you can get seeds, and promise to plant a little garden with your lover.