Holidays and Celebrations

How to do Valentine's Day on a budget without looking cheap

No need to spend $100 on long-stem roses for Valentine's Day. There are plenty of other gifts to show your love without breaking the bank.

How to do Valentine's Day on a budget without looking cheap
Aaron Favila / AP
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Tuesday is Valentine's Day, and if you haven't ordered flowers yet, it will be very expensive. But the good news is that many last-minute gifts show your love without breaking the bank.

A classic that almost everyone loves: chocolate.

Tracy Oenbrink is a chocolate shop manager at Aglamesis Brothers Gourmet Chocolate.

"We have a bunch of different options," she said, showing off Valentine's treats for every budget.

She sells everything from simple bags of red and white candy for just $5 to assorted creamy chocolates for $28 a pound. And everything in between.

"We have 1-lb. hearts," she said, "as well as 2-lb. and 3-lb. hearts."

Just decide how much you can afford, and a chocolate shop should be able to fulfill your wishes.

"What's better than giving a heart-shaped gift for your valentine?" she said.

How to save on Valentine's Day flowers, as inflation hits roses hard
How to save on Valentine's Day flowers, as inflation hits roses hard

How to save on Valentine's Day flowers, as inflation hits roses hard

When factoring in delivery costs, roses can now cost over $100. But other options are affordable and just as sweet for Valentine's Day celebrations.

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Nothing wrong with watching the budget

The reality this Valentine's Day is that coming off the holiday season, and with inflation still hitting consumers hard, financial experts say there is nothing wrong with dialing it back.

"The holidays always put a lot of pressure on us to spend money, because that's what U.S. consumers do," Caleb Silver of Investopedia said.

Instead, Silver said to enjoy a meal at home instead of an expensive (and crowded) restaurant dinner, 

"creating an experience at home that would be even nicer than if you went out to dinner."

In fact, some things, like steaks, are cheaper now than they were a year ago.

Another last-minute idea — gifting an experience.

Sites like Groupon and Uncommon Goods have deals for cooking classes, getaways and even massages.

Surveys: Consumer spending focused on experiences this Valentine's Day
Surveys: Consumer spending focused on experiences this Valentine's Day

Surveys: Consumer spending focused on experiences this Valentine's Day

Instead of spending money on gifts and flowers, more consumers are starting to spend on things like concerts or sporting events instead.

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Silver says to save more by using any cash rewards you have on your credit card.

"It's a great way to use those rewards to buy a gift for the one you love without actually going into your bank account," Silver said.

A few more ways to save, he says:

-Grab a greeting card at the dollar store or make your own to avoid $7 cards at the drugstore

-Plan something that's free, like a hike

-Consider lilies or tulips instead of roses

Indeed, if you still love flowers but not the high price of roses, floral designer Carol Ruffin of Blossoms Florist recommends giving a plant that will live all summer.

"Try a planter," she said, "so it will continue to grow after Valentine's Day."

You will show your love all year long, and that way you don't waste your money.