Just because everyone seems to be spending a week's salary buying red roses, chocolates, and jewelry for their Valentines, doesn't mean you should. Valentine's Day can get pricey, but it doesn't have to break the bank.

After all, the day is meant to celebrate the love you have for your partner--and there are a lot of creative and meaningful ways to do that which don't involve spending a lot of cash.

1. Consider Your Partner

All the marketing you'll hear around Valentine's Day will tell you that the best way to show your love for your significant other is to buy them something. But giving a gift might not be the way to their heart.

Dr. Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages explains how there are five ways people prefer to receive love. These consist of words of affirmation, quality time, gift giving, physical touch, and acts of service.

Figuring out your partner's love language can help you zero in on the fastest way to their heart this Valentine's Day. For example, if your partner's love language is quality time, you might use Valentine's Day to commit to going on regular evening walks or joining a book club together. If your partner prefers words of affirmation, you could give them a box with a love letter to open for each month of 2019. Do they prefer acts of service? Then offer to take over one of their chores or responsibilities so that they can have more free time.

Not sure what your partner's love language is? Luckily, there's a quick quiz you can take to find out!

2. Think Outside the Rose Bouquet

Red roses are pretty, but they're also a bit cliché... and overpriced around Valentine's Day. If you want to give your Valentine flowers, ask the florist what they have that's beautiful but less expensive or get a potted plant like chrysanthemums that can be enjoyed now, but also planted in the spring.

Similarly, if you want to buy jewelry, you're better off looking at what your partner wears regularly and getting them an inexpensive piece of costume or artisan jewelry rather than buying them an expensive jewellery option like a diamond heart necklace that they’ll likely never wear.

3. DIY

Restaurants aren't just expensive, they can also be packed on February 14th. Rather than worry about reservations, make reservations for your kitchen table. A home cooked meal is often much more intimate and romantic. Not sure what to make? Make your partner's favourite meal or check out these suggestions.

If you're crafty, consider making your partner a gift— but don't set yourself up for a Pinterest fail by taking on a project that's above your skill level. If it's complicated and you've never successfully made it before—now might not be the time to try.

Stick to easy things. Are they athletic? Make them homemade protein bars to fuel their workouts. If they love books, make them a bookmark with a special saying. Or make them something heartfelt like a photo book filled will all your favourite pictures together or (if you're technically proficient) a video set to a song you both love that features a memorable photo from each month or year you've been together.

4. Give a Meaningful Gift

You don't have to spend a lot of money to touch your partner's heart. Meaningful gifts where it's apparent you put time, thought, and effort into them are often better. For example, you could make them a gift basket with all their favourite snacks for the frequent binge watching marathons you share together. If they're a board game fan, you could buy them a game they've had on their wish list for months.

Or if you both loved the jam they served at that bed and breakfast you went to last year, see if you can get a jar shipped to you and surprise them with it. Gifts which show you were thinking of or remembering some piece of your shared history will touch your significant other more than something generic.

5. Celebrate After the Fact

Ultimately, Valentine's Day is just a random day. If you want to save money, consider celebrating the week after when everything Valentine's Day-related will be heavily discounted and you won't struggle to get a reservation at the restaurant you both love. You'll be able to laugh together at how much you saved by waiting a day or two to celebrate. Your love isn't going anywhere—there's no reason you have to celebrate it on February 14th.

Remember the Purpose

Despite the fact that Valentine's Day is marketed as a day when you should be buying things for your loved one, it's really about celebrating love. There are so many ways to do that while spending very little to no money. If you get creative, put in the time and effort, and do something thoughtful for your partner—you're more likely to sweep them off their feet than if you just went out and bought them an expensive gift.

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