Americans spend an estimated 117.4 billion dollars per year on dating, but that number is coming down as high inflation takes its toll on love. With the cost of food, cocktails, gas, and personal care services skyrocketing, around 40% of people on dating apps are changing their dating habits or pressing pause on their search for partners altogether. 

The good news is extravagant spending doesn’t have to be part of your love life. Creativity can go a long way toward planning special dates and creating thoughtful gifts within your budget to relieve unwanted financial stress. Whether you’re single, married, or in-between, this practical advice in honor of Valentine’s Day will help you make the most of your money and keep the romance alive!

Think Outside the Restaurant

Ask yourself (and your date): do you really need to go out to eat? What if you grabbed food from a farmer’s market and cooked a meal together at home instead? Maybe your time together doesn’t involve a meal at all — a midafternoon stroll through a scenic part of town, or a coupon-assisted pottery class, could be all you need to build a relationship. In the end, the point of a date is to get to know someone better, not to follow a formula. Getting unconventional with your plans can keep you under budget and lead to some wonderful, unique moments.

Work Together

If you do want the classic Valentine’s Day fine-dining experience, try splitting the bill 50/50. Pooling resources is much more common than in the past, and it’s a good chance to practice working together toward a common goal, which just may come in handy if your relationship takes off.

Play the Long Game

Markups on Valentine’s Day products and services jump considerably around the holiday, so careful planning can often get you a better deal on whatever gifts you can buy or activities you can reserve in advance. If it’s October and you come across something you know will fit into your plans when February 14th rolls around, you might want to splash the cash then and there.

Get Crafty

If giving a gift is on your agenda for Valentine’s Day this year, consider going DIY. Do you have a talent or hobby you can put to work to charm the object of your affection?  Could you make them an original painting, song, or carpentry project? What about a custom gift basket? Does their car need a repair you could perform yourself? Get crafty and use what you know about the person to give a gift that might end up being more economical and meaningful than a retail purchase. If you need some inspiration, check this list.

For other simple and effective ways to move toward your financial goals, check out our Savings Tip page at

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