Valentine's Day is the pinnacle of romantic holidays — today's the day you get to show all the love you have for your significant other in the form of gifts or experiences. It's a bit materialistic yes, but everyone loves feeling special and being showered with presents! However, if your budget's a bit tight, it can be hard to show your partner you appreciate them. So, we've compiled a list of five tips you can use to ensure that you have an amazing Valentine's Day without spending that holiday money.
1. Make sure you buy flowers the right way
Don't get cheated and buy your flowers online for delivery — even if they're ensured fresh and come with discounts, shipping trucks don't come with refrigerators. So if you order from a company with a warehouse far away from you, they might be wilted by the time your SO sees them.
Instead, get your flowers from grocery stores or the florist — both will keep their flowers cold until pick up time and some florists would even deliver in a chilled van. Be sure to ask for flowers that haven't quite open yet — that way they'll bloom in the hands of your SO and will keep for days.
2. Don't skimp where it doesn't count
A definite no-no is buying flowers from the side of the road — even though they're the cheapest, they definitely won't last more than a day. These flowers also won't come with flower food nor replacements if they turn out to be spoiled.
Regarding dinner, don't order cheaper foods just because you need to save money — worrying about money every step of the date will definitely spoil your night.
3. Eat at home
Come to think of it, spend your special night at home instead of a kitschy Valentine's Day restaurant. Even if it doesn't seem that special, eating at that dining table you never use or in front of the fireplace, or even in bed will give it that special feel.
Light some candles, throw around a handful of rose petals and put on some Frank Sinatra — your SO will definitely give you brownie points for your thoughtful DIY.
4. Order smart
If you're bent on going out for dinner, you can totally pull that off too — one tip is to go for the cheapest champagne or Prosecco. No one can really tell the difference between expensive and cheap champagnes so there's really no use ordering the one that's going to break bank.
If the night is going to end in romance, be sure to order light. Not only will it stop bloating, but lighter dishes will also be less expensive — choose fish over steak, or sorbet over chocolate mousse.
5. Do your research with jewelry
Look online for the jeweler with the best prices, but never buy online — it's much better to go in store to make sure that ring or necklace looks the way it's supposed to. Also be sure to check its certificates — this is to make sure the piece will last for a long time, not something you should obsess over.
Now that you're equipped with all these tips, enjoy your day of romance with your SO — and don't forget that this holiday is for love first and foremost. Even though you're encouraged to splurge a bit, losing sight of the spirit of Valentine's Day will definitely screw you over.
- 6 Clever Ways to Save Money This Valentine's Day | HuffPost ›
- 5 Ways to Save on Valentine's Day - NerdWallet ›
- Save money by ordering Valentine's Day flowers now — and more ... ›
- Valentine's Day gifts under $20: Gifts for him and for her on a budget ›
- Valentines Day Ideas: 6 Ways to Save Money without Looking Cheap ›
- Get farm-direct flowers and save money this Valentine's Day - Salon ... ›
When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.