SALT LAKE CITY — The National Retail Federation estimates Americans will spend $19.6 billion for this Valentine’s Day holiday, which averages just over $143 per sweetheart.
But there’s no law that says you have to spend that much. In fact, KSL dug around and found several ways to show your love for your valentine for less than half that amount.
Make your own candy
First, candy gets pricey. A 36-piece assortment of Godiva’s gourmet chocolates will set you back $49. Six chocolate-dipped strawberries from Shari’s Berries price out at $29. But look online and you’ll find scores of candy recipes you can make relatively easily while spending no more than $10 — including your own chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Shop around for flowers
KSL TV priced out a dozen roses from five Salt Lake area florists. The quotes ranged from $65 all the way up to $135. As an alternative, Trader Joe’s sells a dozen roses with a vase for $17.99. At Costco, you can buy 50 roses for $39.99.
Scrap greeting cards from the store
You can expect to pay $5 to $10 for a greeting card at the store. Making your own card costs a fraction and can often be more meaningful. If you’re in a creative rut, look for ideas online.
Rent a movie
A night at the multiplex is fun, but a night in with your sweetheart may be more romantic. Rather than dropping $50 or more on tickets and concessions, consider renting or streaming a movie at home.
Dance lesson for two
How about some “Be Mine” salsa dance fun? DF Dance Studio in South Salt Lake is hosting an hour-long beginner’s class on Feb. 14. The cost is $50 per couple, but it promises to be much more memorable than going out to a movie.
Stroll for two
Here’s something that will cost you next to nothing: a stroll with your sweetie. You can take artistic photos and share the results and talk over an inexpensive dinner.
How about painting together? You can find a set of watercolor paints from Wal-Mart or Target for around $6 and paint each other’s portraits.
Make a sweet mixtape
Here’s a sweet ’80s throwback: make a mixtape. Create a song playlist of music that reminds you of your valentine. You can burn the music on a compact disc or share the playlist on a music service like Spotify or Pandora.
Drop the digital distractions
Here’s something that will really impress your date, and it’s free: put the phone down. Stop checking Facebook, Instagram and everything else. This is one holiday where electronic communication can take the back burner. Spend the night fully focused on the one you love.