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Spend Less on Valentine’s Day by Buying the Gift of Experience

By Mylo Fisherman

Valentine’s Day is a day of love and romance. When it comes time to buy a gift for your significant other, money shouldn’t be the main concern. Some people spend up. Much like the title of the 1964 Beatles song, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” your partner does not care how much you spend on them. If you are in a relationship, odds are your partner knows that you love them and no amount of money thrown at a gift will change that fact.

Ditch the teddy bears and roses and opt for the gift of experience as a way to save money this holiday.

When attempting to save money on a gift, think about the gift of experience. There are a handful of experiences where you do not have to spend a ton of money. Experiences are a more valuable gift, regardless of how much money is spent on them, as spending face-to-face time with your partner while doing an activity will allow you to create memories that will last longer than a materialistic gift. The following are just a few gift ideas you can choose from.

Cook a Romantic Dinner/Dessert ($20±) You do not have to be the best cook in the world to make a meal with your partner. There are thousands of recipes you can find for free online. Go to the grocery store and check out some ingredients to make a dinner/dessert for your significant other. For a more personal touch, you can get the ingredients to your partner's favorite meal. You can also share the trip to the grocery store. Cook a meal you never made before but want to try. Regardless of how the meal turns out, you’ll have the memory of cooking with each other. This is one of my go-to's with my partner. We’ve cooked everything from cajun shrimp to homemade lo mein.

Go to a Museum (Free+) Many New York City museums have free admission with the request of a donation, but the donation is not necessary. Additionally, a handful of museums on Long Island are free with a pass from your local library. This is a fun and educational experience to share with your partner. You can spend a minimum of an hour there and the memories will last a while. My partner and I went to the Cradle of Aviation and the Firefighters Museum in Garden City for free a month ago and we still reminisce on what we learned and did while we were there.

Go on a Picnic ($10+) Pack a bag filled with your favorite foods, desserts, tableware, tablecloth and cleaning supplies and go. There are plenty of places you can go for your picnic (weather-permitting, of course). Adelphi is an arboretum so you can plan a picnic among the trees (and flowers in the spring), and although we are in the middle of winter you can also have a picnic on the beach. Of course, you can also go to your local preserve and have a picnic as well. Be one with nature and put your phones away. Enjoy the in-person, romantic relationship you have with your partner and immerse yourself in the experience.

Watch a Movie Together ($5+) Order in your favorite delivery food and stock up on your favorite snacks, beverages and, if you want to spend a little more, buy matching pajamas. Pick your favorite movie to watch and enjoy the night of snuggling. You can pick from movies you know you’ll enjoy, childhood choices that always make you smile or a horror movie that will make you hold your partner extra tight if you are scared.

Make a Playlist Together/For Your Partner (Free+) If you both take a lot of car rides together or in general just spend a lot of time listening to music, then this is the gift for you. Making a playlist together ensures that you’ll both always enjoy the music that is playing when it comes time to listen. If you decide to make a playlist as a gift, this allows them to listen to songs that you choose that remind you of them and that is quite a beautiful thing. Music is a universal language and often it is a great conveyor of love. If you are willing to spend a little bit extra you can buy a Spotify Duo account or burn a CD with the playlist on it. (Check out the “Love Songs” feature article for ideas.)

Use Valentine’s Day to spend meaningful time with your partner. When purchasing the gift of experience you not only save money, you are also creating time for you both to bond and communicate. You are carving out alone time away from the digital world that we all live in and that is truly beautiful.

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