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Showing Love Doesn't Have to Break the Bank

Valentine's Day spending reached more than $18 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation. The average consumer spends approximately $140 on gifts for their loved ones. The day originally touted as a celebration of one or more early saints named Valentinus is now a commercial holiday that gives retailers a boon to their profits. But that doesn't mean you have to go into debt to prove your love.

Because we're all about saving money and paying down our debt at Balanced Cents, we've got some great ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day with your special someone without blowing up your budget.

1. Cook a special meal. Most Americans go out to dinner for Valentine's Day, which could easily cost you an upwards of $100. Instead, have a romantic candle-lit dinner at home or picnic with a delicious meal you cooked yourself. That's more meaningful than going out to a busy, expensive restaurant. Word of caution: if cooking isn't your thing, I suggest trying out some of the other tips in our list.

2. Take care of things around the house. If your partner or spouse has been asking you to fix the garbage disposal, change a light bulb, or fold the pile of laundry that's been sitting for two weeks, take the time to do it. This will cost you nothing more than the supplies you'll need (if any). Taking care of little things shows your loved one that you care and puts less stress on them.

3. Channel your inner Chaucer. Love comes from the heart, so write from it. Express your love through the written word. A heartfelt poem costs absolutely nothing. Poetry not your thing? A meaningful letter is great, too. You can recite it to your love or give it them to read on their own. *Handwritten works best for this.

4. Get crafty. Are you good with your hands? Do you like to scrapbook? Handmade gifts mean so much more. Why do you think your mom kept all those macaroni pictures and finger paintings?

5. Take a trip down memory lane. Create a fun scavenger hunt with clues hidden in some of your favorite places. 

6. Get your cha-cha on. Lots of studios will offer a free session or discounted price for your first time. If you're already a master on the dance floor, then go out to a fun club and dance the night away.

7. Netflix and chill. Not everyone needs an evening filled with excitement for Valentine's Day. Just spending time with their significant other binge-watching Stranger Things is all they need.

So there you have it—seven ways for you to spend a fabulous Valentine's Day with your sweetheart! Now, we're not saying you can't spend money on traditional gifts like candy, flowers or jewelry. Just make sure it's in the budget and not on a credit card!

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