A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

How do I love thee, let’s count the ways; why don’t we just spend time together for Valentine’s Day?

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day — a day for lovers and friends — and ripe with pressure to get it right.

Whether you’re making a first impression on your crush or are celebrating the holiday with your longtime sweetheart, you may be stuck on how to show your affection (and at what cost).

Thanks to a recent survey of a cross-section of 1,403 adults (18 and over) conducted by TopCashback.com, a cashback site, we can share some ideas of what Americans really want on Valentine’s Day.

Take note, time is closing in.

Cupid-approved Gifts

With 72 percent of Americans celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, the pressure’s on to find the perfect gift. While men and women both agree on the top presents they’d like to receive, it seems that classic February 14 staples don’t make the cut with only seven percent wanting flowers or chocolates.  

Top three gifts your sweetheart wants:
• Time spent together (35 percent)
• A thoughtful gift (23 percent)
• Dinner/movie (Nine percent)

The Cost of Love 

While you can’t put a price on love, Valentine’s Day can be a holiday filled with expenses of all sorts.
How much are you willing to spend on Valentine’s Day?

• $5 to $50 (41 percent)
• $51 to $100 (30 percent)
• $101 to $200 (17 percent) 
• $201 to $500 (6 percent)

How much are you actually spending on Valentine’s Day this year?
• $5 to $50 (45 percent)
• $51 to $100 (23 percent)
• $101 to $200 (12 percent)
• Nothing (Nine percent)

Is spending too much on Valentine’s Day worth going into credit card debt?

• Yes (12 percent)
• No (88 percent)

“Valentine’s Day is more than just candlelit dinners and chocolate-covered strawberries, it’s about spending quality time with your loved ones,” says Rebecca Gramuglia, Personal Finance Expert at TopCashback.com, “This year be clever and consider out-of-the-box-ideas such as tours, cooking classes or volunteering to offset the costs of dates.” 

There’s a date for any type of couple who wants to not only save money, but also spend time together.

Here are five fun and frugal date ideas for the:

The do-good couple. Nothing says “perfect match” like sharing the same passions and interests. Whether you both enjoy volunteering at animal shelters or soup kitchens, incorporate an activity you can both feel good about. Consider adopting a grandparent for Valentine’s Day and create special memories together. Not only will you both do something you love together, but you’ll also spend the holiday making a difference in someone else’s life.

The history buff couple. Why not make your love bloom in a historical way? Visit a museum or travel those famous lanes where some famous lovers walked once upon a time. Whether you hire a guide or research a famous couple from your own city, make a plan and roll with it. Not only will you both enjoy the date but you’ll save money too.
• The nature-loving couple. An evening stroll with your partner is one of the cheapest dates you could ever have, and it’s also the most romantic. This will allow you to walk hand-in-hand together while you and your sweetheart get the chance to talk about everything and anything (with no interruptions). If you prefer an adventure, consider mountain climbing, camping or hiking.
The foodie couple. Skip the restaurant altogether and adventure outside of your comfort zone by learning how to cook your favorite meal together. Whether you make your own pasta, bake your own bread or even roll your own sushi, challenge yourselves by ensuring everything is homemade. Enjoy the experience and smell the romance in the air! If you’re both strangers in the kitchen, get the gift that keeps on giving and purchase a meal subscription service.
The travel lovers. The couple who travels together, stays together, right? Whether you’re taking a weekend trip or extending Valentine’s Day for a whole week, be sure to look for all opportunities to save. Book your flights, hotels and more using a cashback site to get more bang for your buck. Earn cashback on qualifying purchases from popular online travel agents like Booking.com and Hotels.com to make your travels a little easier on the wallet.   

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