Inexpensive Valentine's Day Ideas

via Buzzfeed
If you're like me and my boyfriend Will, you don't really care about Valentine's Day. Sure, the overall theme of love is a great one and I love seeing all pink everything in stores, but we love each other every day so why make a big show of it on February 14th? Our perfect Valentine's Day celebration is pretty simple: skipping the rush for restaurant reservations and the drama of picking out what to wear, ordering a pizza or some of our favorite take-out, going for a walk at sunset, and settling in to watch a movie or a TV show we love. We don't really do gifts; Christmas seems like it was over last week and Will's birthday is less than a month away. Instead, we spend the day listing off all the things we love about each other. It's a lot more intimate and romantic than a stuffed bear and some flowers he could pick up at Target on the way home.

If you want to get back to the basics of Valentine's Day, skip the drama and stress of expensive gifts and fancy dinner and pick out some fun activities that don't break the bank. Here are 30 of my top low-budget (or free!) date ideas:
  1. Plan a walk in the evening that lets you end up somewhere really pretty for sunset. 
  2. Cook dinner together. One of you can do the entree and the other can do dessert, or split up the tasks between you. 
  3. Pick out a Netflix movie and watch it with some popcorn. 
  4. Go to the local botanical gardens. Why want cheap roses when you can have it all? 
  5. Break out the board and card games. Bonus points if you have couple friends who want to come play! 
  6. Get in touch with your inner kid and go bowling, putt-putting, or to an arcade for a little competition. 
  7. Have a picnic in the park (or on your patio, or in your yard, or...). 
  8. Go to an art, science, or history museum, depending on your interests. 
  9. Go to a local concert. The divier, the better - some of my favorite date nights have involved walking into random bars and watching bands we didn't know! 
  10. Go window shopping. Challenge each other to put together the tackiest outfits you can find. Go into the most expensive shops and pretend to be a rich couple so you can try on designer labels. 
  11. Go to your local food truck park and eat al fresco. 
  12. Map out a day trip and go see some new things you've never visited in your area. 
  13. Karaoke. You can decide if you want to do it in public or if you want to save it for your living room with a glass of wine in your hand. 
  14. Go to a drive-in movie and have dinner while you watch. Our personal favorite drive-in movie meal is In-n-Out.
  15. If you're on this level, go walk around Ikea or another furniture store and plan out what your future home will look like. 
  16. Go out for ice cream and don't be afraid to get the biggest sundae possible. Alternatively, make your own - no judgment in the privacy of your own kitchen! 
  17. Go support a local sports team. High school basketball, minor league soccer, whatever, just cheer them on! 
  18. Take an imaginary vacation. Dress French-style, practice your accents, play some Edith Piaf, and find some French recipes (or take-out) and pretend you're in France. You could do this with Italy, China, India, whatever. Get creative with it. 
  19. Start a brand new TV series you've been wanting to watch - maybe from the comfort of a blanket fort?
  20. Find a class at your local rec or community center (or on YouTube) and learn something new! Yoga, painting, cooking, anything the two of you have a shared interest in. 
  21. Pick out a few cheap bottles of wine or beer and do your own tasting party. Bonus points if you put together a charcuterie with it. 
  22. Write love notes or compliments to each other and hide them all around the house to be found throughout the day. 
  23. Throw a potluck party with your couple friends and celebrate the importance of friend-love. 
  24. Go to a local theater, especially a high school or college one, to see a performance. 
  25. Go stargazing at night. That Pinterest-y inflatable swimming pool full of blankets will serve you perfectly here. 
  26. Go to a local dance hall and spend the night on the dance floor, drinks optional. 
  27. Pick up some bargain bin records (or use some you already have) and listen to music all night. Alternate new with old and don't be afraid to sing along. 
  28. Be a tourist in your own city and go see and do all the tourist-y things you can. It's amazing how many famous places you go your whole life without seeing just because you "can go anytime!" 
  29. Plan out your next (or dream) vacation. Make an inspiration board with pictures and plan out everything you want to do there. 
  30. Recreate your first date. Some people can physically go back to where they were, like a restaurant or a movie theater, but some have to get creative. Will and I met at a wedding so we could decorate in the same colors, get dressed up, play some music, and cook the food that was served there. It's up to you! 
Hope I gave y'all some good ideas here! As much as I downplay Valentine's Day, it really is a fun holiday and you can do some great things to celebrate without breaking the bank. Remember,  it's not about who gets the most roses or the biggest promise ring, it's about who shares their love the most and who makes the best memories!


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