Face it: Not everyone is super stoked about Valentine’s Day.
While the impending day of romance offers a world of promise to besotted lovers, it can loom over lonely singles like a dark cloud of lacy hearts and syrupy-sweet Facebook posts.
If you’re feeling the latter, we’ve got the perfect way to save the day from feeling like a total bummer: Make money!
Take advantage of the lovesick holiday and put some cash in your pocket.
Even if you’ve got a date, you could stand to profit this year if you’re flexible. February 14 falls on a Sunday, so if you can shift your plans elsewhere in the weekend, you might be able to double the benefits of the holiday.
Try these tips for making money on Valentine’s Day:
1. Sell Gift Cards
Whether you’re free on the 14th or not, profit by selling an unused gift card now. Help someone shop for the perfect gift or plan a classy night out on a budget.
This is a great time to unload gift cards you have left over from the holidays — or still floating around from last year.
2. Be a Hair Stylist or Makeup Artist
While it’s not quite the occasion a wedding or junior prom may be, a big date night means people will want to look pretty.
You could earn more than $20 an hour helping them make it happen!
If you’re already a professional hair stylist or makeup artist, prepare for a surge in business on this lovestruck weekend.
For amateurs, this may just be a way to make some extra money on the side. Charge a small fee, or barter to exchange favors, helping friends or family members prepare to paint the town a sultry shade of red.
3. Be an In-Home Chef
You may be well-versed in the culinary arts, already successfully working as a private chef or just looking to make some extra money on special occasions.
If you’re comfortable in the kitchen, offer your talents as a service for the night.
If you’re already in the business, you could command a higher fee on Valentine’s Day due to potentially higher demand.
If you’re just getting started or prefer to keep cooking a hobby, reach into your network for lovebirds who might want to splurge on a romantic dinner.
4. Take Stock Photos
Taking stock photos while people are on dates might sound creepy, but stay with me.
Valentine’s Day will be a unique opportunity to capture photos of packed restaurants or other venues.
Dining rooms will be beautifully lit and decorated, setting the mood for a romantic night. Patrons will be dressed to the nines and smiling a little more than usual — hopefully.
You can sell stock photos of happy people dining out for a plethora of uses throughout the year.
Note: you may need a model or property release, depending on the content and intended use of the photographs.
Also, restaurant owners or managers reserve the right to ask you not to take photographs on their property. They may not take too kindly to you showing up unannounced on a busy night.
To avoid conflict, contact businesses ahead of time to ask permission. Or, find areas where people are gathered outside.
In warmer climates, look for busy streets with lots of outdoor dining areas. In cooler places, find opportunities for iconic rom-com shots, like ice skating.
5. Set Up a Photo Booth
If you’re still not convinced on the stock photo thing, consider selling your photography skills directly.
Set up a photo booth, or just hang out with your camera near a popular date spot, and offer to capture the romantic moments.
6. Drive With Uber or Lyft
A busy night out for consumers means high traffic times for Uber or Lyft. If you’ve been thinking about driving with a rideshare service, this could be a good time to start.
As long as you know your city well, a busy night can give you a crash course in the work.
If you’re already a partner and don’t have a date, take advantage of your free time to profit from surge pricing!
7. Babysit or Take Care of Pets
Take the load off parents: Offer to watch their kids while they go out for a romantic evening.
You could make $50-$100, and chances are, the younger kids will be sleeping most of the time you’re there.
And for those friends who think of their pets like kids? Offer pet-sitting services so they don’t have to worry about getting home early.
You could earn $40 an hour just stopping by to put food in a bowl or take the dog for a walk.
8. Deliver Food
Sign up with a service like Dapper Deliveries to be a freelance food delivery driver for those who prefer to… stay in.
As with other contract services, how much you earn depends on how many deliveries you make and how fast you work.
But Dapper states the average pay-per-delivery — including a delivery charge and potential tips — is $8.
9. Sell Romantic Gifts
We’re suckers for small, sweet gestures — so roses sell like hotcakes on Valentine’s Day.
Join the crowd and have some fun providing a tiny spark of romance to the special evening by supplying them. Partner with restaurants in your area, or hawk gifts on the street.
And be creative! Roses may be overdone, but what about stuffed animals or chocolates?
Or put your talents to work offering to draw caricatures, put on a quick show or play a love song.
10. Work on Your Passion Project or Side Hustle
Want to steer clear of the mushy love stuff altogether? Maximize your me-time on Valentine’s Day to make progress on your personal projects.
Holidays are a killer time for creative work! Everyone who would be vying for your attention via email or social media is occupied with other plans, freeing you to focus.
If you’re not happy about being alone on Valentine’s Day, put it to use.
Channel your disappointment, sadness, anger or boredom into something creative that will grab everyone’s attention in the morning.
Just edit out any bitterness before it goes public, and you should have a masterpiece.
Your Turn: Will you be putting your free time to work for you on Valentine’s Day?
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more.