How to plan a romantic Valentine's Day for you and your significant other without breaking the bank.

Money doesn’t buy happiness, but saving can help you buy the things that add some excitement to your life.  You and your partner’s combined ability to save might be what draws you two closer together.  The path to saving might be one that’s less traveled, but it can include some romantic views along the way. Believe it or not, romance is affordable. This Valentine’s Day, you can wow your date without breaking the bank.  eSmart Tax has some suggestions  on how to pull it off.

Skip the dinner rush. This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend. Even if you’ve made reservations, you’re bound to run into traffic, larger crowds, and longer wait times. Instead of being inconvenienced by the rush, opt to celebrate over lunch or brunch. Smaller portioned restaurant lunch or specialized brunch plates may cost much less than dinner prices.

Use gift certificates to pay for your dinner. Remember the gift card that Aunt Nellie gave you for your birthday? Use it to knock down the out-of-pocket expenses for dinner. You could also visit deals sites like, Groupon, or LivingSocial to find gift certificates at deeply discounted prices. Do not discount the service you get and remember to tip on the full price of the bill.

Pick a day during the week to celebrate. Many restaurants only allow you to use gift certificates or gift cards during the week and/or for certain meals.  Plan your date within the acceptable window for your gift certificate.

Hire a babysitter and stay in for dinner. You could always save a ton of money by showing off your cooking skills and staying in for the night.  If you have kids, plan on getting a sitter for the evening, cooking a nice dinner, staying in and spending some quality time talking.

Give each other homemade gifts. Use your creative talents to craft homemade gifts that you and your partner will use. Homemade gifts require thought, and by nature, have more of a personal touch.  Even if the extent of your creativity is hot gluing bows onto each beer in the six pack for your significant other, the thought should count.

Send each other messages throughout the day. There’s no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than letting your significant other know that he or she is on your mind. You can easily do this by sending each other messages all day. Send thoughtful, “I love you,” exchanges selfies, or make/find internet memes that remind you of each other.  Most text messaging applications allow you to schedule your texts to make Valentine’s Day delivery even easier!

Do a Community Service project together. Want to help others in need? Instead of spending money on gifts for each other, spend time together by helping others in need. You both can sign up to volunteer at a local food bank, volunteer at a local pet shelter,  or even eat dinner at a restaurant where your proceeds will go to a local charity.

Do a Fun Photo Shoot Together. Most people have access to a digital camera, smartphone, or webcam these days. Take you camera with you and explore a new part of town!

It’s spending quality time together—not spending money—that helps couples grow. Share this encouraging message with your friends and your significant other through your social network.