Valentine’s Day Date Ideas on a Budget
Valentine's Day Dates that won't break the bank!
Are you looking for Valentine's date ideas on a budget? LOOK NO FURTHER!
Here comes the big romantic holiday. Valentine’s Day..woo hoo! For all of you guys and gals who don’t want to be in the dog house here are a few suggestions to win you points with your lover and not break your wallet. You can’t buy love, so remember it isn’t how much you spend, it’s how much they enjoy what you got them and the time you get to spend together.
Valentine's Day Date Ideas on a Budget
Pssst… have you seen our post: 10 Things You Should Know Before Dating Interracially
Note: This post is written by Kevin (with a little help from Sadie). Read more about Kevin here.
Valentine’s Day is Coming
Valentine’s Day is on February 14th in case you forgot, though I doubt Hallmark would let any of us forget this holiday. It makes them big bucks! It’s one of the most expensive holidays outside of Christmas.
Make sure you know your significant other and what they like. Take some time and ask questions. Do they like flowers? My girlfriend doesn’t, so ordering them for her would be a waste of time and money – and would show her I don’t pay attention to anything she says. If your partner does like flowers, order a few weeks in advance because it will cost you less for the same arrangement. Order from a supermarket florist rather than a stand alone shop. This alone will save you some moolah. Florist raise prices for holidays so that $30 bouquet of roses is now $60 plus. If you want to forgo the flowers all together make sure you do something that is meaningful to your partner instead.
Do not, I repeat do not just do something you think you would like. Take some time and think of what you could do to make them happy. I think this is the most important aspect of this holiday as well as that other romantic holiday – Sweetest day on October 19th.
Utilize Coupon Sites
We’re going to talk about specific date ideas but first let’s talk about Groupon and other deal sites. You can buy the Groupons ahead of time and utilize them on or around Valentine’s Day. Right now when I look at Groupon, I see deals for Escape Rooms (which I LOVE!), Rage Rooms, the aquarium (which I would love), and the shooting range.
I'm a veteran so I use vettix.org to get free tickets for dates. These work year-round, not just for Valentine's Day. It's free to sign up and we have gotten some awesome tickets for date night this way. Our last date, we went to see a magic show called Carnival of Illusion. We made a weekend of it, but our only expense was the hotel (which was cheap!) and food (we split meals).
Chocolate is a holiday staple, every holiday has the advertisers for chocolate making new ads and touting their wares. Buy chocolate now!! It is less expensive now and it freezes. It won’t go bad between now and February and it is a great pairing with any of the other tips listed here. Saving money and still getting your loved one some great gifts involves a little planning and a little thought.
The only cost here is a pencil or pen and a piece of paper, oh, and a bit of creativity on your part to write a love letter. Want to make it even better? After you have written it mail it to your sweetie. We all love getting mail! Want the postmark to be unique also? Mail your letter to this address and they will send it with their postmark on it. Get a Valentine’s themed postmark on your love note by mailing your pre-addressed and stamped love letter to Loveland Colorado, where they will postmark the letter and mail it to your sweetheart for you. The address: Postmaster, Valentine Re-Mailing, 446 E. 29th St., Loveland, CO 80538. Don’t care to mail it? You can still be creative and tape it somewhere they are guaranteed to find it. My girlfriend, early on when we first started dating, taped a note to my steering wheel that just said “I Love You”. A handwritten letter means so much these days. She wrote it on a sticky note that I still carry in my wallet. The little things mean so much and usually require the least amount of money.
Potted plants tend to cost less and last longer than a traditional bouquet of flowers. It’s a gift they can enjoy long after cut flowers have died and been forgotten. These plants tend to bloom throughout the year and can be a an instant reminder of the love you share and of the day you bought them. Compare $60+ for a dozen roses that will die in a week or $14.99 for a potted plant that will bring joy throughout the year. If your lover has a green thumb, or if you do, these will last for a very long time and keep the memory of the occasion alive and well long after February 14th.
Do A Chore
This is also a big one that doesn’t cost anything but a little of your time. If there is a chore that your significant other usually does, get to it and get it done before they have a chance to even think about doing it. My girlfriend appreciates when I get things done that she usually does. I try to perform random act of kindness so she always knows that I am thinking of her and what it takes to make her life better. This holds true for Valentine’s Day also. Doing something you wouldn’t normally do shows that you not only were thinking of them but that you appreciate what they do. Yes, guys, that means doing a load of laundry. Gasp. Trust me, you’ll survive.
Set up a spa day at home. Get the bath ready and hot, get a face mask, nail polish, foot scrub… most of these things you can find around the house already and you won’t have to go buy them. If you have to go pick up a foot scrub or a face mask they are fairly inexpensive and a great way to spend time with you partner showing them love and affection. You can get face masks at Walmart for around two bucks. Get them all together with a bottle of their favorite wine and pamper them. A good idea is to wet a few hand towels and microwave them for 30-60 seconds to make them warm. While they are in the tub, you can lay the towel on your loved ones face for a relaxing spa like atmosphere. Here are some towels that work great.
Get a babysitter for a few hours during the day. Take your lover on a picnic in the park, or if it is too cold, try a living room picnic. Or go to a hotel! :) The babysitter can watch the kids while you enjoy each others company for a few hours.
Dinner and Netflix
Oh yeah, that’s right, Netflix and chill, baby. Pick their favorite movie to watch make them dinner in bed, put on the movie, and enjoy a wonderful night. Spice this one up with a glass of wine. It doesn’t have to be expensive wine just one they like. We found a bottle of wine at BevMo for only $5 and it tasted pretty good. Plus, the more you drink, the better it tastes. ;) The movie does matter, so make sure if you are the one setting up the date you choose their favorite movie. Sadie’s is Demolition Man. Mine is Nightmare on Elm Street Part 7. Make sure you know what they would like to watch and what snacks or dinner they would like. Go all out! Make their favorite meal. Sadie’s is roast beef. Mine is pancakes. Yep, I’m easy. Make sure you know all of the details… this is what makes the day special.
So this can be done with regular body paints and can be very fun and intimate. With regular body paints or the edible kind, make sure you put down a sheet or something to make clean up easy. Here is a link to a great edible body paint. Remember to order early so you don’t have to worry about arrival times. On the 14th you will only have to set it up and enjoy each other. This paint is inexpensive, but will bring you and your lover hours and hours of intimate entertainment.
Kama Sutra is an inexpensive way to spice up your night. Here is a link to a kit that is bound to get your lover in the mood. It’s also travel friendly so if you are going on a getaway, think of taking this with you for an added surprise. This kit contains a feather for those who like it soft, a vanilla oil, and some honey dust powder, as well as other romantic products. If you are staying home, this is a great way to get test out if you like this sort of thing, trying new things is a great way to keep the relationship fresh.
Food Truck Friday
Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday this year. Here in San Tan Valley we have Food Truck Friday. Take your partner to the food trucks and share a meal together. If you share the meal, it costs less and you still go out and enjoy the evening together. Plus, sharing the meal makes it more romantic. You sit closer to each other and can talk like you did when you first got together. Sadie and I have gone and spent about $50 and that was with us and one child. Estimate about $40 which is less than the cost of flowers, dinner, and a movie. To make this work, give your lover a coupon for Food Truck Friday with a personalized note and a watch them smile. :) Add one of the other gift items on this list like chocolate, for an added bonus, like doing a chore or the spa night. Imagine a spa night the night before and then a Food Truck Friday romantic evening. All for less than $70… it’s a win win!
One of the things we do that I enjoy the most is the treasure hunts. We go on and explore different cities in our area. There is an app (it’s called Let’s Roam) you can download ( I recommend turning off notifications for this one) that will take you on a tour of your city where you can discover interesting facts about different landmarks and buildings. There is a nominal fee but it is so worth it. Sadie and I love doing this and spending the day together. It is truly a getaway that is close to home and doesn’t cost a bunch. You can also use the app while on vacation! There are hunts all over the U.S. The app also has trivia questions and such about different places once you get to them that makes the trip more fun. There other tasks in the app you can do, like taking pictures of each other in various poses or things to find that keep the scavenger hunt interesting and makes for a great daytime date.
Visit a Museum
Some museums are pricey but check their websites and find their free days or discounted days. Check Groupon or your favorite app to get a discount. I will always recommend the Natural History Museum because who doesn’t like dinosaurs? It is always fun and a great way to spend some time with your love. If you are here in Arizona, the Natural History Museum is free on the first Sunday of the month. If your sweetie is into cars or planes or whatever, find something they are into and take them. Watch their face light up and enjoy making some fond memories.
Skating?! I know, I know… you haven’t been in years and you are afraid you are going to fall, but it’ll all be okay. Go ahead, live a little! You will find it is easier than you thought to get back into it and if not, hold each other up along the wall, laugh and have a blast. Check your local rink for their dollar night, go on their site and get a coupon. Afterwards, go get an ice cream cone. A cheap date night that is sure to leave you both laughing and loving.
This one can be a bit tricky, so you might want to do some research on the club before going. I found a few in the Phoenix area that are in the $20 dollar range per ticket. Check Groupon to make it less expensive. Check Yelp and Google for the reviews pick one and go. Make that Valentine’s Day dinner before going and your date won’t be hungry during the show. Take them out after for a drink at the local watering hole or back home with an ice cream in hand. Either way, you will have a lot of laughs and a happy ending to a great date night.
Pro tip: Get on the VIP list (it’s free!) for your local comedy clubs. We get calls almost weekly with free tickets being offered to us. The catch? You have to buy two drinks (each). If you don’t drink alcohol, soda counts. You can spend less than $30 on the whole evening.
Are you dead set on going out to dinner and having that romantic night? Try this to make it less expensive. Get one dinner for two of you (or even better eat at home) and go to a fancy restaurant just for dessert. I want to do this one with Sadie. We are working on saving money and still living life and having fun so this is one of the ideas I came up with to still be able to go out but keep it cost effective. Sharing a meal means you only have to pay for one, and you both get to eat. Also you tend to sit closer if you want sit on the same side of the table. It is harder to stare lovingly into each others eyes but easier to whisper :)
Some ideas from Sadie…
Enough of the mushy gushy stuff, let’s get busy! No, not that kind of busy… sign up for a 5K to run together on or near Valentine’s Day, set up a gym date, go rock climbing, or take a hike (if you’re fortunate enough to live in an area with amazing year-round weather like we are!). You can take a bike ride together, or even do a double date to a kickboxing class. Work up a sweat together, then run home and take a shower. Conserve water by showering together. ;)
Recreate Your First Date
Our first date was a movie and bowling, so for me, going on a bowling date on Valentine's Day would be super romantic. I love bowling and so does Kevin. It's low-key, affordable, fun, and you get a few steps in. What was your first date? Try to recreate it as best you can. It may end up being super cheesy, but trust me when I say your partner will love it!
If you and your love enjoy taking photos, plan a photography date. Kind of like the scavenger hunt idea Kevin mentioned above, but you can create a map of spots in your area that are perfect for photos. Make sure you plan the sunset photo because it's going to be the BEST! This means you need to figure out dinner and other plans around the time of sunset. Google what time sunset is that day and make sure you allow time to get to that perfect spot. There are so many perfect sunset spots in Arizona, we barely have to leave our back yard. Try to find a place close to home. Bonus points if you pack a picnic and hike to the location.
Make a Time Capsule
Okay so if you know me at all, you know I'm not the mushy type. But… the idea of making a time capsule makes me warm and fuzzy inside. Put together a capsule and bury it (or hide it in the closet) and don't open until the next year (or like, five years if you can wait that long – I couldn't!!). Add photos, and you can each write a love note before sealing it up. Swoon.
Have a Cook Off
Kevin and I both love to cook, and though he's way better at it than I am, I'd still challenge him to a Chopped-style cook off. Chances are, we will have at least one kid home on Valentine's Day, so they could be the judges! #TeamMom
Flip a Coin
I saw this idea and loved it, though we haven't tried it yet. I mean, it could be great or you could just drive in circles (or squares), I guess… LOL Get in the car and head to the main road. Flip a coin. Heads – take a right. Tails – take a left. Repeat until you get to a date location. Maybe pack a picnic in case you end up in a random parking lot? haha
When I was in San Diego, I took a ghost tour and it was FREAKING AWESOME! Get your tickets on Groupon or if you have a blog, pitch their PR department for free tickets in exchange for a blog post.
Attend a Concert
This one may not be romantic to your significant other, so you might wanna figure that out before planning it… but I absolutely love going to concerts! It's the perfect date, any day of the year. Make it special by planning a dinner beforehand or a late night dessert after.