personal finances — February 02, 2018

Valentine's Day on a Budget

by Susannah McQuitty

Valentines flowers decorate a coffee table.

You probably never imagined you'd get romantic pointers from a tax blog, but, hey, when it comes to saving money, we've got you. Valentine's is like Christmas but with extra pressure: You want to get the perfect present, and it's tempting to reach for something expensive. After all, you really care if you were willing to drop some dough, right?

Well, not necessarily. Here are four ideas for your romantic Wednesday evening that won't break the bank (if they cost anything at all).

Make a playlist to dance to after a home-cooked dinner

Of course, you could go with a few straight-up swoon numbers, or you could compile your favorite songs from the year you met. String together a song-title poem playlist where the titles spell out a sweet message. You know what they say: Music is the food of love.

Best of all, making a playlist online or with your music streaming service is usually free, or at least an expense that works with your budget. Add that to a home-cooked meal instead of a night out to sweeten your evening and save your wallet.

Go on a walk around town

Destination or no destination, holding hands and bundling up for a walk downtown is a great way to break routine and spend some quality time. Get dressed up and show each other off — what better time to bust out that dress he got you for Christmas? And it's Valentine's Day, people. You can walk around dressed to the nines, and no one will question it.

Stop by your favorite spots and anywhere you made memories together. From your first kiss to the time you got completely soaked on the way to a movie, visiting those places is a great way to reminisce without the price tag of dinner out.

Sunlight fills a room of Valentine's flowers.

Dig through the $5 movie bin

Feeling less adventurous? No problem. Nothing beats a night in with a good movie (or a terrible one that you can both laugh at). Hit up the movie bin at your grocery store and see what you can find.

Occasionally, there are some real gems hiding at the bottom (I found the Princess Bride there recently, and, let's be real, that's the best date movie in existence). Or maybe you want to know what this whole "natural disaster meets flying rows of razor sharp teeth" series is all about. Either way, you can get snacks and a movie for less than $10–$15. That's a win.

Budget your tax refund ahead of time

If you still want to spend some money on your Valentine while staying true to your budget, why not file your taxes before the big day? You may end up with a refund, which you can budget ahead of time toward any necessary expenses. Any leftover funds are yours to use as you like, and while you won't have that money for a couple weeks, you'll know exactly how much you can splurge while waiting for that check from Uncle Sam.

When you file with, we guarantee your maximum refund, and if you choose direct deposit at checkout, you can get your refund money the fastest way possible — so get started now and make Valentine's Day a bit sweeter!

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