Some people like to say that Valentine’s Day is nothing but a commercial holiday and not worth the effort. Some like to say that it’s the most romantic day of the year and worthy of going overboard.
Then there are those of us who are right in the middle: we want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with our main squeeze, but we don’t want to spend our rent money doing it. For those middle ground-ers, we have seven romantic – and cheap – Valentine’s Day date ideas you’ll love.
1. Make a mix tape…
…then stroll hand-in-hand listening to it together.
Remember how much you loved getting a mix tape (or mix CD or mix playlist) from your crush in school? That excitement never goes away. Put some time and effort into a playlist that reminds you of your girl or guy, or that has callbacks to special moments in your relationship. Just starting out in your relationship? You may not have much history to draw from, but you can still make a love-themed playlist. If you want to spend a little bit of money, include a set of earbuds, too.
2. Hit up happy hours or specialty nights.
If you want to keep your budget low but you also want to dine on something delish, a happy hour tour is like having multiple cheap dates strung together. Find out which nearby eateries have daily, weekly or happy hour specials, then put together a progressive dinner. For example, have $5 pints of craft beer at place #1, then a taco or two as appetizers on Taco Tuesday, then a selection of discounted dishes at place #3.
3. Go on a picnic.
If you live somewhere where mid-February is on the warm side, pack up a picnic basket or backpack, along with a big blanket, and spend the afternoon at a beautiful park. This becomes the cheapest of cheap dates if you make all your food at home, but even stopping by a deli or grocery store along the way won’t add up to much. Make it even more decadent by getting some gourmet cheese and a bottle of wine – the price tag will still be low overall, but you’ll feel super fancy.
4. Wait on them hand and food.
If you two have been together for a while, you’ve probably had your fair share of dinners out and romantic getaways. Sometimes the best gift is just to be pampered at home, and if you’re in a committed relationship, you may both be happy with inexpensive Valentine’s Day date ideas. Tell your other half that you’ll do anything they want: cook dinner, give them a backrub, draw the a bath, pour a glass of wine, watch their favorite movie, etc. You can either keep this as low cost as possible or add in a few inexpensive niceties, like their favorite magazine or delicious takeout.
5. Find a local trivia night.
You don’t have to live in a major city to find a nearby trivia night, and some towns have one going on just about every night of the week, making it one of the best cheap Valentine’s dates around. You’ll have at least a couple of hours of entertainment, you’ll be able to put your heads together to come up with the answers, and you may even win a prize at the end of the night. Plus, besides the cost of a drink and appetizer, it won’t cost a thing.
6. Treat them to a spa day.
This may sound super expensive at first, but spa treatments don’t always come with a huge price tag. Plus, if you’re only gifting a spa service instead of booking it for the both of you, you’ll save half the cost. Pick something that’s enjoyable but not uber expensive, like a basic massage or a 30-minute facial. You also may get lucky price-wise, since a lot of spas will run Valentine’s Day specials this time of year, with discounted single services or packages.
7. Host a game night for two.
If you two love to laugh and play together, have a game night in. Pull out board games or video games from your childhood, pop some popcorn and put on a funny movie as background noise. Or, if you want to spend a bit of money (under $20 will do it), head to a toy store and pickup a card game or board game you’ve always loved or are dying to try. Make it even more interesting by turning it into a drinking game or by placing bets. Have a little money to spare? Pick up some of your favorite snack food, too.
Remember, you don’t have to break the bank to show your S.O. how much they mean to you. Even cheap Valentine’s dates can be super romantic, thoughtful and fun.