Expressing undying love for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day doesn’t cost money, but almost everything else does. According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2022 Valentine’s Day Spending Survey, about 53 percent of Americans planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day in 2022, bringing expected holiday spending to a total of $23.9 billion. Holiday shoppers expected to spend about $175 per person on gifts in 2022, which is slightly more than the $165 per person spent in 2021. Still, this is a big drop in spending from 2020, when spending per person was just over $196.
While there’s nothing wrong with showering someone you love with gifts, it’s still possible to celebrate this wonderful holiday on a budget. Below we’ll explore some steps savvy consumers can take to keep their spending under control.
1. Plan ahead
Valentine’s Day is (almost) all about love – but also sweets, flowers and good food. In 2020, OpenTable reported that dinner reservations on the platform increased by 500 percent in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. In 2022, restaurant reservations were still 20 percent lower than in 2020 but 30 percent higher than reservations in 2021, according to data OpenTable shared with Newsweek.
According to OpenTable, most “Valentine’s Day reservations are made 10 days in advance.” So it might not be easy to snag a table for your upcoming Valentine’s Day celebration. The best strategy, especially for a popular, romantic restaurant, is to book early. And you might want to use the same approach when buying gifts as well. Shop ahead of time to ensure you get what you want and avoid overspending at the last minute.
2. Party at home
According to Bankrate, couples spend an average of $116 on fine dining on Valentine’s Day. Perhaps this high cost is why 31 percent of NRF survey respondents planned to gift an evening in 2022 (for a total spend of $4.3 billion), which is more than the 24 percent of respondents who were planning to give away an evening in 2021.
To avoid the high cost of a night out, consider cooking a romantic dinner together. This can be a fun and intimate experience (as long as you know your way around the kitchen). HelloFresh, the largest meal kit company in the US, reports that 42 percent of respondents prefer a homemade meal on Valentine’s Day.
Either way, whether you eat at home or eat out, there are ways to reduce your financial burden. For example, you might want to use one of the top dining out or grocery shopping credit cards — like the American Express® Gold Card or the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards credit card — to earn rewards for your grocery shopping.
In addition, many credit cards offer their own dining programs that allow you to save or earn rewards (e.g., Capital One Dining), or affiliate dining package, grocery, or dining service offerings. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card includes six months of free Instacart+ membership and a $10 monthly statement credit from Gopuff (until December 31, 2023), along with other food-related perks.
3. Get creative with gift ideas
Hallmark began producing Valentine’s Day cards on a regular basis in 1916, several years after the first Valentine’s Day card was produced. Along with Valentine’s Day cards, it quickly became common for lovers to give each other sweets and flowers (usually roses).
According to NRF, “candy (56 percent), greeting cards (40 percent), and flowers (37 percent)” were the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts in 2022. And let’s not forget that 22 percent of NRF respondents gave jewelry as gifts. In 2022, total jewelry spending was estimated at $6.2 billion — the highest in NRF survey history.
As you can see, Valentine’s Day can get expensive, especially when you’re choosing more than one gift for your loved one. According to NRF’s Valentine’s Day Data Center (based on data from the 2022 study), individuals budgeted $15.90 per person for candy, $21.46 for clothing, $45.75 for jewelry, $31.35 for one evening, spending $17.22 on gift cards and $7.47 on greeting cards.
To get more creative with your gift ideas, it can help to think of flowers other than roses. Not only are roses expensive, they don’t last long either. According to the Society of American Florists (SAF), roses aren’t the only flower suitable for Valentine’s Day. Some alternatives to consider are tulips, daisies, lilies, and many other types of flowers, many of which can be cheaper than roses.
If you want to cut down on Valentine’s Day expenses, consider creating your own gift instead of buying one. There are some inexpensive DIY ideas and kits — like candle making kits, cookie kits, and embroidery portraits — that are thoughtful and won’t break the bank.
4. Redeem your credit card rewards
You don’t earn credit card rewards for sports; Redeeming rewards is like a valuable discount on your spending. And yet many people have unused bonuses year after year. A 2021 Bankrate survey found that a third of award cardholders (31 percent) did not redeem any awards in the previous year. If a dime saved is a dime earned, then not using rewards to reduce your expenses is no better than keeping money on the table.
In some cases it makes sense to hoard rewards. For example, some people may want to collect more rewards for a specific reward, e.g. B. an award flight or a hotel room. However, this strategy is not without risks. Travel Providers regularly downgrade their loyalty programs and your preferred travel currency may simply not be the same for the next year or sometime in the future. Additionally, thanks to the revenge travel phenomenon, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to snag a business class award or a room at a popular luxury resort due to dwindling availability.
If you do not wish to redeem your awards for travel on Valentine’s Day, you should consider redeeming your awards for gifts. For example, you can use your credit card to redeem your rewards for gift cards, or use a new card’s welcome bonus for a gift for a loved one. Also, check out your credit card’s limited-time offers program — like Amex Offers or Chase Offers — for offers you can earn by making purchases at select retailers.
5. Use gift cards
Gift cards can be a great Valentine’s Day gift, as long as the object of your affection loves the retailer (and the gift cards). However, make sure they don’t neglect to use them – gift cards can easily be lost or forgotten. According to a 2022 Bankrate survey, more than half of US adults (51 percent) had unused gift cards, vouchers, or credit in 2021, with the average value being $116 per person.
For a stressed-out Valentine’s Day shopper, a gift card can be an easy way to make their significant other happy. In 2022, a US consumer planned to spend an average of $17.22 on a Valentine’s Day gift card – the highest amount spent in a 10-year period.
Alternatively, if you have unused gift cards over the December holidays, consider using them to buy a gift for a loved one.
6. Set a budget and stick to it
There’s nothing wrong with treating the person you love to gifts as long as you know what you can afford and stay within your budget. Whether you have $60 or $1,000 to spend on Valentine’s Day, create a detailed gift list and keep track of your finances. Valentine’s Day may be the most romantic holiday of the year, but there’s nothing romantic about getting into debt for too much shopping. Be realistic about what you can and cannot afford and stick to your budget.
The final result
Valentine’s Day can be an expensive holiday, but you don’t have to spend a lot to impress your loved one — especially if you plan ahead, stick to a budget, and come up with some creative Valentine’s Day ideas. If you’re looking to save money, you might want to exchange thoughtful, homemade gifts instead of expensive gifts, or you might want to try a low-key activity for couples, like making a gift. B. to cook dinner together at home. On the other hand, if there’s a new restaurant you’ve wanted to try, you can take this opportunity to tick it off your list.