If you’re used to celebrating Valentine’s Day in a big way, it can be nice to take a step back and have a low-key V-day with your love, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring or unromantic. In fact, you can have an (almost) no-spend Valentine’s Day and have just as much fun as an elaborate and expensive holiday, all it takes is a little planning ahead!
Have a Romantic Dinner IN
In many locations, Valentine’s Day reservations start filling up as early as the middle of January and restaurants often offer specials for couples dining out together on the holiday. The time can be romantic, but it can also be the most expensive cost of your celebration.
It’s easy to underestimate the romantic experience of cooking an elaborate dinner together. And, you’ll probably be surprised that the meal is much tastier when you’re not packed into a full restaurant and waiting on good service. If you only have small amount of money to spend, try one of these ideas:
- Chicken cordon bleu
- Cheap wine (check places like Trader Joe’s and Aldi for the best 2-buck chuck)
- Shrimp or prawns
- Honey mustard crusted pork chops
- A cheap cut of steak (marinade and tenderizer can take $5 steaks over the top)
If you have a little more to spend:
- Lobster (still pricey, but much cheaper than a restaurant and so easy to cook)
- A good cut of steak
- Sparkling wine (champagne without the high price)
Don’t Forget Dessert
Is it really Valentine’s Day if you don’t spoonfeed each other delectable raspberry cheesecake while making sinful noises because it’s so dang good? What if you could make those same mouth-watering desserts at home?
Classic Valentine’s Day desserts like cheesecake, red velvet cupcakes, and chocolate-covered strawberries are so easy to make and are much more affordable when done at home. Make these desserts together for a fun activity OR surprise your significant other with their favorite!
Roll In a Staycation
Heading out to a secluded cabin by the beach or even one of those fun romance-themed resorts is the Valentine’s vacation that many couples dream of, but those places can be costly and sometimes it’s just not feasible. Instead, turn your home into a romantic getaway.
- Send the kids to grandma’s for the weekend (bribes may be necessary)
- Plan to stay in the guest room
- Keep your phones off
By secluding yourself and enjoying some alone time, you can make the space that you spend every day in feel like a special getaway.
The movie theater is a popular date night any time of the year, but even more so during Valentine’s Day. With buckets of popcorn costing up to $20 and drinks just as expensive combined with rising ticket prices, home is the place to be if you want to catch a movie. You can always check your cable provider for any new releases or even theater screenings at home, or try one of these romantic movie choices for free with streaming services:
- Pride and Prejudice
- The Notebook
- The Last Holiday (Sure, it’s technically a Christmas movie, but it’s so dang good!!)
- Two Weeks Notice
- Love Actually
- Valentine’s Day
Pop your own popcorn, get the good soda (or a bottle of wine since you don’t have to drive home), and make a sharable plate of nachos. Then, snuggle up on the couch under the blankets for an amazing movie night in.
Take a Free Dance Class
Yeah, going to dance lessons can be a great date and a fun way to connect on Valentine’s Day, but prices for a single class for two can be more than $100. While you won’t get quite the same level of engagement, you can take similar classes on YouTube for FREE. So, kick the rug up and strap on your fancy heels to take a romantic waltz or spicy tango lesson right in your living room.
Have a Paint Night at Home
Paint night parties are so much fun, but they can be really expensive. You get what you pay for with supplies included and professional instruction, but you can literally do the same thing right at home. As a beginner, you don’t need fancy art supplies. Grab the kid’s paint brushes, some 99-cent paint, and a 2-pack of canvases then watch an instructional video (psst…I’ve even heard rumors that you can find Bob Ross instructions on streaming services and YouTube).
Get Creative With Gifts
Flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and more can really add up at Valentine’s Day. Getting creative with gifts is one of the easiest ways to have a no-spend Valentine’s Day. And while we all know that it comes from the heart, you can do some really cool things aside from a handmade card or love coupons (which are always appreciated).
- Get inspired with a favorite things basket from the dollar store (beef jerky, nice pens, a mug are all great gifts and you can put something together really nice for less than $10)
- Send your love a playlist of all the songs that make you think of them
- Plan an “exclusive” tour for them. Then, lead them around your town as if you were the tour guide and they were the tourist. End with a picnic in your favorite spot.
- Make a slideshow. You’ve probably got tons of pics of you together and your life. Grab a free music file and put together the best slideshow you’ve ever done (Google Slides is much more fun when you’re not using it for work)
- Massage. This one doesn’t need explaining, but dedicating some time and touch is a sure way to show anyone you love them.
Having a no-spend holiday can come because of need (no money in the budget) or desire (to save money, etc.). Whatever your reason, I’ve got tools to help you navigate creating a budget, sticking to a budget, saving money for emergencies, and so much more! AND – don’t hesitate to reach out directly if you can’t find what you need!