6 Ideas for a Budget-Friendly Valentine's Day

Updated 10/13/19

Peter Van Beever

Valentine's Day is coming, and if you're recently engaged or a newlywed, that makes the holiday even more exciting! But it can also be stressful figuring out how to properly appreciate Cupid's big day without dipping into your wedding budget or spending a lot of money you don't have after paying off credit cards from your big day.

There's a gross misconception that once you're engaged or married Valentine's Day becomes a more significant holiday, something to be acknowledged with jewelry or other "permanent" gifts. Of course, we all like to open up a present and find some bling inside — but it certainly isn't a requirement for demonstrating your love for one another.

Take it from us: Having a special Valentine's Day has almost nothing to do with how much money you spend on special activities or gifts. In fact, some of the most romantic Valentine's Day gifts or date ideas don't require an expensive trip, dinner, or present. Instead, check out these six ideas for Valentine's Day on a budget.

1. Plan a Romantic Dinner at Home and Get Dressed Up

Cook a special meal and get dressed up; whoever plans your night gets to dictate the attire. So if you want to get sexy and wear fishnets and a fancy dress, go for it. Just do the messy cooking first! Consider making playlists for one another and listen to all the songs together. You could even make a technology-free agreement, keeping phones and TV off-limits for the night. Cocoon yourself in music and romance and block out the rest of the world until February 15th.

2. Plan a Workday Lunch Date

Just the fact you get to see each other in the middle of the day will be something special, romantic and different. If the weather is nice, you don't have to go to a restaurant. A romantic picnic could be a fabulous chance to sneak away for a mid-day bite.

3. Plan a Scavenger Hunt for Each Other

You don't even have to leave your house — although that can make it more adventurous. At each stopping point, add a special note for your significant other. At the end of the hunt, you get to meet up and exchange little gifts that you've purchased on a pre-agreed upon budget.

4. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

Recreate one of the best-ever dates you and your significant other had before you were married or engaged. If your first date was record-breaking, start right there! Go back to a restaurant you particularly enjoyed for dinner. Or, rent the movie you first saw together in the theater the night you realized you both had the same sense of humor.

5. Go Shopping for Gifts Together

Set a budget, and shop for yourselves! The rule is that you may give any leftover money to your spouse to add to their own shopping budget. When couples do this, typically neither one of them ends up spending money on themselves. The result is basically a glorified window-shopping trip. If neither of you spends any money, you can pool the funds and go out to dinner, or buy something together for your household that you actually need. It's a Valentine's Day gift to yourselves from both of you!

6. Spend the Day with Someone Who Doesn't Have A Valentine of Their Own

Love's biggest holiday can be very, very painful for someone who has recently lost a loved one or partner. Unwilling to interrupt anybody else's love life, they're not likely to ask for attention that day, even if they really, truly need it. If you're happily married or soon-to-be-married, every day is a special holiday for you. Try dedicating some time on Valentine's Day to spread the love around to someone who really needs it. Think of an elderly relative or neighbor who might not receive a hug and kiss from anybody else on February 14th, and make brightening up their day a special couples' project for you and your partner, who are lucky enough to have each other.

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