Has anyone else noticed how hard it is to recover from the holiday money crunch? To be perfectly honest, it usually takes most people a few months, which is why it’s always a good idea to think about affordable Valentine’s Day date ideas. In a world where a single movie ticket can cost more than $16 (not including service fees), it can seem like there are few things to do on a budget. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money if you use a little imagination.
After all, celebrating February 14 is all about spending time with the one you love (or the ones, if you’re spending it with some friends instead of a significant other). Other than the obvious option of making dinner at home, there are plenty of fun, creative things you can do that won't break the bank.
Keep reading for 25 affordable Valentine’s Day ideas you and your special someone will love.
Rent a Canoe
Paddle out to the middle of the lake and take in all the beauty of nature. Bring a bottle of bubbly to enjoy together to make it even more special.
Enjoy Breakfast in Bed
This is an especially good one if you’re in a busy season at work. Wake up just a little bit earlier and cozy up with your S.O. for an hour or so before you start the day. Just don’t forget to make extra coffee.
Do a DIY Wine Tasting
Wine-tasting classes can be costly, but all you need are a few different varietals to do your own at home. Swirl and sip your way to finding your next favorite date-night bottle.
Look at Old Photos
Scroll through your photos on your iCloud or Facebook account—it will be fun to see how you’ve changed over time. This is an especially good one if you’ve been together for a while. Finish the night with a new photo to add to the mix.
Give Each Other Massages
Settle in for the night with your S.O. and pamper each other with massages. You can set the spa vibe with a scented candle and some massage oil.
Rent a Movie
There will be no lines and no need to brave the cold weather (if you live in the north). Instead of just watching something on Netflix, bite the bullet and spend a few dollars renting a new release.
Stage Your Own Photoshoot
Nothing says "I love you" quite like cute photos together. Have a friend take some adorable pics or snap some selfies. You can then display the images around your place (and on social media, if you’re into that).
Play Some Board Games
You can make it nostalgic with games from your childhood. The best part? Designate a prize for the winner (yes, we like to encourage competition).
Go on a Hike
Explore the great outdoors together. Being outside is known to boost happiness, and being together will make it even better. Plus, the views from the top of a mountain are super romantic.
Hold a Karaoke Contest
If you want to up the ante, invite some friends over to compete. Make sure to break out all the goodies, like Taylor Swift and the Backstreet Boys.
Make Your Own Pizza
There’s something about making your own pizza and toppings together from scratch that’s so romantic. You can even go all-out and make your pizza heart-shaped.
Take a Tandem Bike Ride
Is there anything sweeter than riding a bike through some gorgeous scenery with your partner? Assuming you don’t have one at home, you can rent a tandem bicycle at a local bike shop.
Put Together a Picnic
Lay out a cozy blanket in the park (or the living room if it’s too cold). Pack a basket of all of your favorites, including cheese, wine, and cured meats. Don’t have time to prepare? If you’re at home, Seamless or Postmates can deliver whatever you need, but just remember that it will cost you more.
This one is a win-win. Save money and help out a local organization, especially when other individuals are spending the night out.
Feast on Fondue
First big decision: cheese or chocolate? If you have time, we vote for both.
Write Love Letters—and Read Them Out Loud
Spend a few days before writing love letters to one another. Make a night out of reading them aloud and toasting to your future together.
Enjoy a Gallery Exhibit
Visit a local art gallery to enjoy beautiful photos or artwork. Some of these locations offer free admission, and you’ll also be escaping the restaurant madness. Grab a hot chocolate on the way home for a sweet treat.
Purchase a Deal
If you’ve been together long enough, you won’t mind using a Groupon deal for dinner, a spa experience, or the like. Just make sure it’s valid on Valentine’s Day before you purchase.
Have a Candlelit Dinner at Home
Few things are more romantic than cooking together. You’ll spend at least half as much as you would at a restaurant, and you won’t be kicked out to make room for the next seating.
Attend Trivia Night
Head to the bar and compete against others for the title of trivia champion. Forgo a big dinner for bites like sweet potato fries and sliders. (Hey, it’s a holiday, right?)
Show Off Your Skating Skills
Bundle up and head out for a night of romance on the ice. If you think of it, ask a passerby to take a photo.
Indulge in a Bubble Bath for Two
This is fun in itself, but it can also pair well with the ice-skating excursion above. Whatever you do, sprinkle some rose petals on top of your bubbles.
Bake a Sweet Treat
Buy a box of baking mix for less than $5 and eat as much as you want. Preferably, make a chocolate dessert, in honor of the holiday.
Visit a Record Store
Are you or your partner a music lover? There’s something so cool and vintage about the whole experience of shopping for records. Most stores will let you preview whichever albums you’d like, too.
Try out some new moves at home, in a dance lesson, or even at a salsa club. Valentine’s Day is all about getting close, and this is a great way to do so.