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Valentine’s Day Savings: 20 Ideas to Spend Less

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While the origins of Valentine’s Day show it as a day to celebrate love and romance, today, centuries later, it’s a day as much about spending money on your loved ones as it is about showing them your love.

Last year, couples spent $1.7 billion on flowers, $3.4 billion on dining out and $3.5 billion on jewelry, according to a survey released by

Men spent about $160 on their valentine, while women spent nearly $75 on theirs, the survey found.

And this year, total spending will hit $17.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

Despite the statistics, showing your love doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget.

Try these 20 low-cost ideas for turning your Feb. 14 back into a celebration full of love, not an empty bank account.

  • Take a hike or a walk on the beach, or just get outside to enjoy whatever environment in which you live.
  • Treat your loved one to breakfast in bed.
  • Make paper flowers full of heartfelt messages your loved one can keep instead of spending money on real flowers that will wither.
  • Make a CD of you and your loved one’s favorite love songs.
  • Turn loose photos and memorabilia into a scrapbook documenting your relationship or a special time you shared together.
  • Create a coupon book of tasks or special things you’ll do for your loved one throughout year.
  • Make it a movie night in to avoid the crowds and curl up with popcorn and your favorite classic.
  • Go on a picnic and make it elegant with candles and a tablecloth.
  • Make something homemade for your loved one, such as jewelry or a painting or a collage.  Even if you don’t think of yourself as crafty, just a homemade card made with your best efforts will be appreciated.
  • Try something new together like a dance, art or music class.
  • Check with your neighbors and friends about going in on a group babysitter so the kids can have a fun night together while the adults get a night off.
  • Make your loved one’s favorite homemade meal instead of dining out at a pricey and likely crowded restaurant.
  • Create a DVD of your favorite memories together.
  • Search online daily discount and coupon sites for special deals on restaurants or activities in your area.
  • Give your loved one a massage and a basket of soaps and lotions in his or her favorite scent.
  • Celebrate a day, week or even a month later so that you can avoid holiday price hikes and take advantage of restaurant, travel or shopping deals down the road.
  • Find a free activity like an art show, park or public concert in your area to enjoy.
  • Write a love letter.  Paper and pen are cheap, the tradition never gets old and you can’t beat a truly heartfelt gift.
  • Commit to shortening the “honey do” list that may have been building since last Valentine’s Day.
  • Turn an old shoebox or other container into a keepsake box and start the collection off for your loved one by including a few special mementos.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio