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5 Smart Savings Tips for Valentine's Day

Americans are expected to spend $19.6 billion this Valentine's Day, according to the National Retail Federation. That's an average of $143 per person.

When considering what to spend on your loved one, think beyond the obvious. When it comes to Valentine's Day, it's helpful to remember that it's often experiences that bring happiness to those we love. Below are five smart savings tips to help you express your love—without overspending.

1. Flowers are the expression of love.

While roses are often expected, consider non-traditional flowers such as Blue Hyacinths (for the constancy of love); or Peonies (for happy life/marriage). Choosing flowers other than roses may also save you some dollars. And, you can incorporate the flowers' meaning into the accompanying card. Also, check for discounts and sales for your flower or gift delivery.

2. Sweets for the sweetheart in your life.

While fancy chocolates in a heart-shaped box are a go-to gift on Valentine's Day, think creatively and gift cupcakes, cookies or your Valentine's favorite treat. That extra effort shows you pay attention to what's enjoyed by your loved one.

3. Cook up a little romance.

Dining out can be pricey, so stay home and eat in. Whether you're the chef or it's the two of you, cook up a special Valentine's Day recipe or a favorite dinner. Not only will you save some dough, but you can make some special memories. And to make the evening more romantic, move from your regular dining spot to somewhere cozy—perhaps by the fireplace for a picnic experience.

4. Homemade is extra special.

Create a homemade gift certificate. It can be for a special experience such as a hike to watch a sunset, a promise to tackle a chore or some quiet time for your loved one--away from the kids.

5. Have a heart-to-heart conversation.

Put away the cell phones during your time together and share your feelings. Listen closely when your loved one responds. This simple action can be the most romantic part of the day.

Whatever your expression of love is, don't let the pressure to spend excessively overshadow the feelings in your heart. Effort, experiences and adding a personal touch to affordable gifts can have a great impact this Valentine's Day.

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