First Person: I’m Spending Less Than $40 on Valentine’s Day

Yahoo Contributor Network

My family and I have never been lavish on Valentine's Day. Yet, for some, the lover's holiday is a time to shower their dear ones with gifts. Indeed, some people spend big bucks on Valentine's Day. According to the L.A. Times, in 2012 Americans forked out an estimated 8.5% or $17.6 billion more than they did in 2011. I'm not following the spending trend. In fact, I'm only setting aside $40 for Valentine's Day.

Dinner

My husband and I don't usually go out for Valentine's Day. Many of the restaurants in our area have fixed menus that are much pricier. In addition, our wedding anniversary is only three weeks after the holiday. We would rather go "all out" for our anniversary than spend it on a Valentine's Day date. This doesn't mean we won't celebrate at all. Yet, some lovely organic chicken, salad and warm bread should only set me back $12. Typically, I will bake some heart shaped brownies or cookies for an additional $3. Using a nice tablecloth and some candles will make the meal elegant.

Gifts

According to a survey from PriceGrabber, the average consumer planned "to spend between $25 and $50" on Valentine's Day gifts in 2012. I can relate. After all, I used to buy my husband a box of chocolates for about $15 and my daughter a toy for another $10. However, last year, we reduced our sugar intake and our budget. Thus, this year, I found some delicious fair trade chocolate at Whole Foods. Two 3.5 ounce bars costs $7. In addition, I purchased some stickers and socks for my daughter for an additional $3. I will wrap these up in some pretty tissue paper and ribbon I already have at home.

Clothing

As a stay-at-home mom with two young kids, I have plenty of nice dresses that rarely get worn. Thus, I won't be spending any money on clothing for Valentine's Day. Any of my black or red dresses can easily be turned into suitable attire. As for my kids, I purchased holiday-themed t-shirts for them. These were $15 but I had a gift card so it didn't cost me a dime.

Valentine's Day Cards

My daughter always passes out valentines at school. These cost about $5 for a box of 24. I usually spend $5 dollars on cards for my husband and kids too. Finally, my daughter will make some Valentine cards for her dad and grandparents from craft supplies we have at home.

In the end, it's good to know love is free!

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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