Love and Money: Valentine’s Day Advice

Yes, it’s possible to be romantic on a budget

Last Valentine’s Day, American Express polled thousands of Americans to answer this pressing question: Who should pay for a date?

Should it be “the man”? A majority of 47 percent said yes. “The woman”? A minuscule 1 percent agreed. Only 10 percent said, “split the bill,” while 33 percent said “whoever initiated the date.” Meanwhile, 9 percent were undecided, which means they’re probably not getting smooched this Valentine’s Day.

Consolidated Credit wishes its 50,000-plus clients and the rest of the nation a romantic holiday. But we also believe romance and savings make a cute couple. So here’s some holiday advice to consider…

Life is like a box of chocolates

Consumer Reports is best known as the independent nonprofit that rates cars for safety and computers for customer service. But this year, they also rated the Best Boxed Chocolates.

If you’re looking for a combination of price and taste, check out the magazine’s Top 5, which range in price from $42 to $90 – which doesn’t include shipping. Of course, you can buy much cheaper chocolates at your local Walmart or Target or Costco, but if you’re going to splurge on the good stuff, you should still keep one eye on the price tag.

Get creative about your confections

You know what’s cheaper than chocolates but just as sweet? Donuts. But Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts are cooking up heart-shaped donuts designed to cut into the sales of those heart-shaped candy boxes. Among our favorites: Dunkin Donuts’ heart-shaped Brownie Batter Donut and Krispuy Kreme’s Xs and Os (hugs and kisses, get it?) donuts.

Look for romantic dining deals

Unlike New Year’s Eve, when dining packages are almost always overpriced, it’s possible to be both frugal and romantic on Valentine’s Day. Check your local newspaper’s website. OpenTable, an online reservation tool, compiled a list of the Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America based on millions of its users’ reviews.

Think outside of the candy box

A romantic Valentine’s Day date doesn’t need to happen in a restaurant or at home. If you live in San Francisco or Sacramento, the Six Flags amusement park is hosting Cupid’s Weekend. If you live in South Florida, the Miami Seaquarium offers Dine with the Dolphins. Wherever you live, check with local museums and amusements to see what they’re offering – they’ll range from cheap to pricey, but you’re guaranteed a different experience.

If you’re not in love with your debt, and you want a divorce, call Consolidated Credit. Our certified credit counselors can offer you a free debt analysis – and they’re working on Valentine’s Day.