Roses are red…but don’t need to cost the earth

It’s not a national holiday, there are no official celebrations and you won’t see many fireworks in the sky to mark the day.

But around the world 14 February is a red letter day for couples—whether you’re in an established relationship or looking to express your love for the first time.

And we’re no different. If you’re like many Australians you’ll be looking forward to celebrating Valentine’s Day by exchanging gifts or going out for a romantic meal with your special someone.

In a 2018 survey, almost half of people in a couple liked Valentine’s Day and 36% of Australians actively intended to celebrate by spending an average of $75 each.1

So unless you’re like one in five Australians who have never celebrated Valentine’s Day because you don’t believe in it,2  chances are you may be planning a little something for 14 February.

But Valentine’s Day comes at a challenging time of year.

You could still be paying off your credit card after the craziness of the festive season, even if you’ve taken steps to keep your Christmas spending under control.

And you might be dealing with more than just a debt hangover. Six weeks into the New Year and you could be getting a head start on your financial goals—whether it’s putting money aside for a home loan, saving up for a holiday or simply budgeting for rent or mortgage payments using a simple and flexible place to store your cash, like the AMP Saver Account.

But there’s no reason to ditch Valentine’s Day altogether. There are plenty of ways to show your feelings without getting completely caught up in the commercial hype.

Five ideas to save money on Valentine’s Day

1. Take a trip down memory lane.

It’s a bit cheesy but here’s an idea. Why not take a magical mystery tour to some meaningful places from your joint past? You could take in your old school, your old workplace or your old coffee haunt. And for an inexpensive meal you could end up at the no-frills diner where you used to spend so much time together when you were studying. Just don’t order the dodgy prawn salad that made you so ill that time…

2. Make a mixtape. 

Depending on your age, mixtapes are either a relic of the 80s or something your parents reminisce about. But while the technology might be old school, the concept is timeless—a selection of songs that tell the story of your relationship together. And luckily there’s a bang up-to-date way of making a modern mixtape via the magical algorithms of your streaming provider. The night you first kissed to Rihanna’s We Found Love? Check. The long drive up the coast listening to The Beatles’ classic Abbey Road on repeat and singing Here Comes The Sun with the windows down? Check. The beach holiday where the guys in the next-door tent kept you up every night by playing ACDC’s Long Way To The Top on their boombox? Maybe not.

3. Enjoy a game night.

It’s fun, it’s interactive and most’s free. Fill up the popcorn bowls, pop open a drink or two and dust off your old games. If you’re into a four-hour marathon on Settlers of Catan, great. But you don’t have to be a Big Bang Theory level geek to enjoy a spot of Twister, Monopoly or Cluedo. And hopefully your own game night will be a tad less frenetic than Jason Bateman’s action-packed evening in the recent movie of the same name. 

4. Have a romantic dinner…at home.

Candles, sparkling wine, table set for two…but without the 50% booze markup, the miniscule $40 steak or the mandatory 10% tip. Sure, it involves a bit more legwork to put the meal together. But it’s a great way to make it a special night with your favourite meal and without the extra cost.

5. Change the date. 

OK, it’s a bit of a cheat. But if you’re set on going out, try a different day of the week to avoid any price hikes. If you’re going to a movie what about Cheap Tuesdays rather than Valentine’s Day? If you’re going out for a meal, another midweek day could be cheaper…and quieter. It’s the same movie. The same food. The same company. So does a day here or a day there really matter so much?


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