February 16, 2018

By Bonnie Spain, American Center for Credit Education

Q. My husband and I are determined to reach our New Year’s Resolution to reduce our spending and improve our finances this year. We talked about what we can do for Valentine’s Day and do not want to use our credit cards. Any suggestions on ways to curb our expenses and not incur more debt while still celebrating?

A. Congratulations on your dedication to sticking to your resolution. So often we set a goal and at every turn we find a distraction or obstacle. Keeping focused on what you really want is crucial to be able to reach your goals.

It is important to set a budget you agree upon for the day. You can celebrate without spending any money or limit spending to a small amount.

There are ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day without spending any money. Consider exchanging handwritten notes regarding a special memory. Create homemade coupons for each other. For her, perhaps it is an afternoon all to herself without the kids. For him, perhaps it is an afternoon to watch his favorite sport without interruption. Be creative and think about something the other person values.

There are also ways to celebrate with spending only small amounts of money. Consider finding a small gift to commemorate your first date or the first trip you took. Or maybe your partner has a favorite coffee or a bottle of wine. Look for a way you can say to the other, “I know you, I appreciate you, and I love you” without breaking your budget.

You don’t even have to go out for dinner to celebrate the day. Set a special menu for a dinner you both can enjoy and roll up your sleeves and make dinner together. Not everyone cooks, but anyone can help with the preparation and clean-up. Add a little romance and dine by candlelight.

It only takes a little thought and some creativity to make Valentine’s a special day. Keep in mind the best gifts often do not cost a lot of money, rather they reflect your appreciation of those you love.

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