As J. Lo once said, “love don’t cost a thing.” Unfortunately, dating does. Whether you’re on a budget or just really hate consumerist holidays for making you spend a bunch of money just to show a little affection, there are other ways you can show your love this Valentine’s Day — little to no money required! Because it’s the thought that counts anyway. So if you and your S.O. are looking for a more exciting date night idea than the usual restaurant dinner, here are a few Valentine’s Day date ideas to keep your romance and bank account in good standing!
Keep reading for six cheap Valentine’s Day date ideas that are anything but cliché!
Cook a dinner for two.
There’s no reason to drop a fortune at a fancy restaurant when you can just make a meal yourself. If you’ve both fallen into a routine of eating out, the best gift can be a thoughtful meal that you’ve put together for your special someone. Not really the cooking type? Use a meal delivery service like Plated or Blue Apron that make it easier than ever to refine those culinary skills. Light some candles to set the mood (which is very important, as Clueless has taught me), get a nice bottle of champagne (Coeur Clementine Sparkling Rose NV is only $18 or 2016 Finke’s Widow Sparkling White Blend is only $16), and put together a romantic playlist!
Plan a mini excursion.
Urbanites: toss a blanket and a bottle of wine in the car and drive until you find a scenic location away from the city lights. Weather-permitting, a relaxing drive does wonders for the soul and offers a great opportunity for you two to catch up in a quiet and relaxed environment. You can make an entire day of it. Bring a picnic basket filled with goodies and dine in front of the sunset. And if it’s terribly cold, pop open the trunk and bundle up with a cozy blanket. What’s more romantic than that!
Set up an at-home spa.
As a skincare freak, I’m always an advocate for setting up your own spa in the middle of the living room (because why would you not?). But it feels especially appropraite on Valentine’s Day to extend the pampering to your special someone. Raid your kitchen for supplies to make DIY face masks and massage oils, clean out your tub for a romantic bath for two, and bring out your best candles. And for a very romantic spa day at home, look up a few massage techniques so you can really work your magic!
If you don’t mind spending some dough on an actual spa, tons of spas capitalize on the romantic holiday with specials for couples (and extended hours). So take advantage of the reduced fares to chill out with your S.O. You can simply look for spas in the area on Yelp and be sure to check out Groupon for any upcoming deals! You can even bring a professional masseuse to your home with on-demand app Zeel!
Go on a brewery, distillery or wine tour.
Food, fun and booze. What more could you need? Upgrade your usual bar date by going straight to the source like a brewery, distillery or wine tour. For extra points, ask which one he or she like the most and buy a bottle of their favorite for an added Valentine’s Day gift. Most tours are completely free and even offer samples in hopes you’ll purchase a few bottles. It’s a great way to learn about local breweries, distilleries, and wineries and to spend some quality time together tasting! Or you can simply hop from place-to-place, grab seats at a bar, and order different kinds of alcohol and tapas along the way.
Book a hotel for one romantic night.
Okay, so this probably isn’t necessarily cheap, depending on where you go. But booking a hotel room is always a good idea for a romantic date night. A lot of inns and hotels host their own Valentine’s Day specials, from champagne service to three-course meals at the hotel restaurant. Or you could even book an Airbnb for the night. This is a great way to get away without going too far plus it’s free of dirty dishes and laundry!
Nature provides the ultimate backdrop for a romantic date. If you two enjoy the great outdoors, a camping trip is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and snuggle up close. Buy supplies for s’mores, a campfire, and if neither one of you have a tent, try asking a few friends if they have one you can borrow first before going out and buying a new one.
Go on a museum tour.
Get lost in the hallways of a museum or attend an art gallery and soak in some culture! Many museums offer free or discounted days, so you can ponder Impressionism or dive into ancient Egypt on the cheap. Bank of America cardholders can also enjoy free general admission to more than 150 museums nationwide with the Museums on Us program.
Stay in bed all day.
You don’t necessarily have to leave the house to create a romantic atmosphere. In fact, you don’t even really need to get out of bed! Take a day off from work together and enjoy some R&R. Have breakfast in bed, walk around in your pj’s (or nothing at all if you so choose), and plan to cuddle the day away!
In case you’re still thinking of what to get your special someone, I’ve put together a Valentine’s Day gift guide for him and for her. I’ve also picked up some of my favorite picks for fun and flirty Valentine’s Day dresses!