Opinion February 9, 2016 | 1:25 pm

10 Valentine’s Day ideas that won’t break the bank…or the romance

"Can’t Buy Me Love" was a great song by Lennonand McCartney and frankly, a pretty good philosophy for Valentine’s Day ingeneral.

There really are ways to enjoy a unique and memorableFebruary 14 without overspending. Here are 10 ideas to warm their heart andspare your wallet:

1. Begin at the beginning. Maybeyour relationship began at work, a party or a bus stop. Returning to that placeand re-stage that moment using little props can re-capture memories.

2. Try a little due diligence. Askyour significant other or friend about his or her best Valentine’s Day ever.Listen for clues about gifts, activities or places you might try. Don’t waituntil 48 hours before the holiday; you can always collect creative Valentine’sDay ideas 365 days a year.

3. Stay near the stove. Afabulous dinner almost always costs less at home. Plus, it’s a more intimatesetting and shows dedication and thought.

4. Deliver kindness, not presents. Insteadof wrapped gifts, what about chores or crafts? Focus on a gift based onsomething you know how to do rather than something you could just buy.

5. If it’s a night out, do your homework. Valentine’sDay can be one of the most crowded and expensive nights to go out. If you havea restaurant or event in mind, research everything you can about the food,ambiance and specials at various times of day – particularly during early,fixed-price periods and slower days of the week.

6. Grab those coupons, free passes andpoints. Mileage, restaurants and online discount clubs canoffer a range of options. Points can be used for discounts or free nights outon Valentine’s Day or immediate dates. Decide which offers are the best dealsand leverage them the best that you can.

7. Consider substitutions and alternatives. Whyhave that glass of champagne or celebratory cocktail at the restaurant ifthere’s a happy hour nearby where you can save a little money? Consider mixingand matching venues on a night out to save money.

8. Declare a staycation. Visitmuseums on half-price days or out-of-the-way eateries you always thought abouttrying. Even local hotels might be a better deal than traveling a greaterdistance.

9. You don’t have to run for the roses. Adozen roses are a classic gift. But there are potentially cheaper and equallybeautiful flower alternatives. If your loved one has a green thumb, considerpotted plants or seeds they can sow later. Remember, spring is right around thecorner.

10. If you must bling, bling responsibly. Ifthis Valentine’s Day involves a wedding engagement or another grand gesture ofromance, plan well in advance so you can get advice on what you’re buying andensure it’s in line with your loved one’s taste. Maybe a relative with abeautiful ring might offer it or sell it at a friendly price.

Bottom line: Valentine’s Dayis about the people, not the bill. A little time and creativity can help youdevise a memorable day without digging too far into savings.

Nathaniel Sillin directs Visa’s financialeducation programs. To follow Practical Money Skills on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PracticalMoney.

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