Valentine’s Day is coming up in a few days and I’m sure you have everything planned… right? Right?
With the economy still on the weaker side, the responsible thing to do is for you to go out, spend a lot of money, and stimulate the economy! I’m only kidding.
Valentine’s Day isn’t about spending money on your loved one, it’s about spending time with your loved one. I’ve listed fifteen ideas that my wife and I have done over the years (not just on Valentine’s Day, but for our date night’s and other such occasions) and hope you can get some good ideas too!
Long time readers will recognize some of these ideas from a few years back. It’s still as applicable today as it was when it was originally published and I’ve added and replaced a few ideas!
15 Cheap Dates
- Cook: Cooking is a fun and frugal activity you can do anytime, not just Valentine’s Day. My wife and I always cook on our special days because we enjoy each other’s company, the challenge of making something from scratch, and because we are actively engaged in something with each other. Going to a restaurant is nice, but it’s pricier for less quantity and quality, and you just sit there. When you cook at home, you can always throw ingredients at your partner! Not a good cook? Try making pizza, it’s easy, it’s pretty fast, and hard to mess up.
- Walk in the park: There’s nothing more romantic than taking a long walk and spending time with your loved one. Walks in the park, or by the lake, or anywhere scenic are all great ideas.
- Go for a hike: If you have any good trails near you, take the “walk in the park” up a notch and go for a good hike. Getting the heart pumping and the blood flowing while enjoying the great outdoors with your partner is a fantastic way to spend a few hours without spending lots of money.
- Rent/Stream a new movie from Red Box/Netflix: Rent DVD movies for $1 plus tax a night from one of the 12,000 RedBox kiosks located in grocery stores and MacDonald’s across the country. Find a kiosk near you  and look online for red box codes  for free nights. Also, Netflix (and other streaming services) offer plenty of romantic films/shows to fill up your night.
- Borrow older movies from friends or the library: Pick up (or stream!) a romantic movie like Keeping the Faith (my wife’s favorite – still!) or any number of Hugh Grant movies from the library or one of your friends.
- Make your own treasure hunt: This one requires quite a bit of pre-planning but you can send your partner (you along with them) on a treasure hunt. You can make the setting your home or your town or even the route you’d take walking in the park. The “treasure” can be a gift or simply a nice card sharing your feelings. Remember, much like a walk or cooking, it’s about spending time with each other.
And for the true nerds out there, try Geo Caching  — it’s a fun, free (minus buying an app, maybe) diversion that can lead to all types of interesting adventures.
- Visit museums: We are fortunate to live near Washington D.C. where all the Smithsonian Museums, and many other museums, are absolutely free. Museums are a great way to get some culture in your life and spend time with your partner on the cheap.
- Play board games: If you don’t already have board games, ask your friends if you can borrow some of theirs or visit a thrift shop or second hand store to see if they have any games lying around.
- Volunteer together: Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or some other charitable organization that needs your help. It’s a great way to give back to the community while spending time with your loved one.
- Play a sport: Hit the basketball court to play a game of H.O.R.S.E. or to the field to play some catch, do something that gets you both energized and active. Bring along a picnic and make a lunch out of it!
- Go on a wine tour: If you live near any wineries, consider going on a wine tour. Wineries are often bunched together and so you can visit several of them, sample some wines, and make a great day out of it. It can get pricey if you decide you like the wine and want to buy more! (you can stick brewery instead of wine if you and your partner prefer)
- See a matinée or visit a smaller movie theater: Movies can get pricey but if you catch a matinée, the price can go down dramatically. Alternatively, you can always seek out a smaller/boutique movie theater showing second run films or art house movies on the cheap as well.
- Go to a coffeehouse: Visit your local coffeehouse and enjoy a warm cup of coffee, the company of your partner, and music if they got it.
- Massages: When you go to a spa, these are pricey. When you do it yourself, it hardly cost anything and feels priceless.
- Learn something (hobby, skill, etc.): Spend the day learning something new and fun that neither of you have ever tried before. Whether it’s rolling this idea into the cooking suggestion or taking a community class, spending time together learning something brand new is fun and exciting.
Do you have a great date night activity that I missed?
(Photo: sis )