Fun & Fabulous

How 8 Canadian money bloggers save money on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day can be the most expensive day of the year for couples! Whether you’re frugal or not there are always more affordable options

Would you spend $164 on your love for Valentine’s Day? Apparently, a lot of Canadians would. According to Statistics Canada, we spent $71.7 million on cut roses alone in 2016, many were bought for Valentine’s Day. Sure. Roses are lovely but is it possible to find more cost-effective gifts that say we care? We spoke to eight personal finance bloggers to find out how they celebrate this day of love. Here are their frugal, affordable and creative ideas for how to spend and save money on Valentine’s Day.

For the couples who still want a night on the town:

janine-rogan-calgary“When my husband and I were still students we would make our gifts instead of buying them. I made him a chocolate dipped fruit basket. Purchasing fruit, chocolate, and supplies from the grocery store was much cheaper than buying an expensive one online. This year we have saved up enough points with OpenTable to cash in a $130 dining cheque. Since restaurants tend to have expensive Valentine’s Day dinners, and we really enjoy good food and wine, we will be using our dining cheque to take some of the financial burdens off of love-day!” – Janine Rogan, CPA and Financial Educator

For the couples who prefer to stay in:

andrew-daniels-winnipeg“The most frugal Valentine’s Day we spent was shortly after paying off our mortgage. As a young family, time is always at a premium, and we are constantly rushing around. My wife had the great idea to have the grandparents take the kids for the night so that we could decompress from the daily activities. We made a nice home cooked meal, bought a bottle of wine, and caught up on one of our favourite shows on Netflix. We both agreed it was probably one of the best Valentines we had because we didn’t give into the stereotypes that end up costing a mini fortune. We spent the time with each other, and that’s what really matters.” – Andrew Daniels, Personal Finance Blogger

jessica-moorhouse-toronto“My husband and I generally do pretty frugal Valentine’s Days (we’ve been together a decade, so we don’t go all out anymore!). But, I would say the first Valentine’s Day we shared in Toronto a few years back was the most frugal and also the most memorable. He surprised me with a picnic in our living room when I got home from work, which probably didn’t cost more than $30 to $40. With Valentine’s Day and most other special days, I really do believe it’s the thought that counts the most.” – Jessica Moorhouse, Personal Finance Expert

stephen-weyman“One Valentine’s Day years ago when my wife was still my girlfriend, I took the afternoon off from work, swung by the dollar and grocery stores to pick up some supplies, and moved our kitchen table from our super tiny kitchen to the living room to set up a “restaurant” for us to share a meal. I bought a cheap tablecloth to improve the looks of our battered and ageing table, fancy napkins, and a few other frugal decorations — complete with pink and red helium balloons — to improve the atmosphere. Then I got to cooking a nice “Chicken Italiano” recipe I found in a food magazine. I later shared that recipe with a friend of ours who immortalized it in a homemade cookbook she later gave us as a wedding gift.” – Stephen Weymen, Personal Finance Blogger

Immortalized recipe from Stephen Weymen’s Valentine’s Day

For the couples who love a good DIY project:

jordann-brown-halifax“After several years of fancy dinners out and expensive bottles of wine, I spent Valentine’s Day last year in a significantly more frugal fashion. I was the new owner of an old and poorly cared for house, which meant my to-do list of DIY projects was long. One such project was removing layer upon layer of paint from the original brick fireplace. That’s how I came to spend Valentine’s Day 2017 stripping paint from brick. My husband and I scraped in turns, splurged on takeout, and drank homemade wine — it was great.” – Jordann Brown, Personal Finance Blogger

jennifer-chan-toronto“Last year, my girlfriend and I spent a total of $20 on Valentine’s Day. Instead of buying presents and eating an overpriced meal at a fancy restaurant, we exchanged cards and tried our hand at making homemade vegan sushi. Devoid of all the conventional frills, we had a fun, intimate and casual night where our gifts to one another consisted of undivided attention, shared experience and the consumption of a love-filled meal. In our relationship, we emphasize experiences over things.” – Jennifer Chan, Personal Finance Blogger

For the couples who aren’t into Valentine’s Day at all:

barry-choi-toronto“When my wife and I first started dating, we celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together in a typical way, but quickly realized that it was a huge waste of money. I wasn’t even really into personal finance back then, but we found that cost of everything associated with the day added up to a small fortune. Perhaps this is why we haven’t formally celebrated Valentine’s day in more than a decade. Instead, we use the money saved for things that really matter to us, such as travel.” – Barry Choi, Personal Finance and Travel Expert

desirae-odjick-ottawa“One of the best ways my fiance and I have saved money celebrating Valentine’s Day is to know and plan around our Love Languages. Which sounds totally touchy-feely, but it’s a real thing! Basically, it’s all the different ways you can express love, and how you like to receive expressions of love. Getting gifts is one way we express our love, but it’s the lowest form of expression for both of us, so we typically opt out of gifting altogether. Most years, we’ll do something that lets us spend time together instead since quality time is a big one for both of us — and it can be as easy (and frugal) as cooking dinner together that day.” – Desirae Odjick, Personal Finance Blogger

Alyssa Davies
Alyssa Davies

Alyssa is a personal finance blogger who focuses on mixing finances with laughter. Through her blog, Mixed Up Money, she helps people relate, learn and become inspired. She recently joined Zolo as the content specialist and brings her passion for property and smart money matters to this growing brand.