First of all, let me just say that I’m NOT against the idea of Valentine’s day at all. I actually like to come up with some special way to tell my wife that I love and appreciate her … even though I tell her often anyway. So, no, you won’t hear me bashing Valentine’s Day anytime soon. But, what I AM against is spending a lot of money on this day to make it special. Because you can absolutely have a special Valentine’s Day on a budget, if you really want to and thought outside of the box a bit.
Now, I’ve done surprise getaways to another city via plane and $100+ red roses, but those were exceptions.
These days, both my wife and I are much more about celebrating Valentine’s Day on a budget.
And that is also what this post is about: 14 creative ways to have Valentine’s Day on a budget that won’t break the bank.
My hope is actually that LOVE will be the focus for you this year and not much more.
And I don’t want you to feel that you’re limited by a small budget if you wanted to make it special for your other half.
So, you use my ideas to inspire your own.
Try these inexpensive “Valentine’s Day on a budget” ideas:
1. Eat dinner at home, but go out for drinks and dessert.
Forget the reservations and the high cost of a meal in the town.
It can get real tricky getting into a nice restaurant without a reservation, AND pricey too.
Instead, buy some nice ingredients and cook a delicious, romantic meal at home.
And if you have kids, just work around it.
Send them to bed a tad earlier and have your romantic dinner a tad later.
Or, if you have the option of a babysitter, then have a normal family dinner but head out to a nice bar for dessert or drink afterwards.
2. Find a flower option besides roses.
I’m sure you’ve learned by now that roses cost a small fortune on Valentine’s Day.
Just find another flower your significant other loves.
In fact, many women don’t actually like roses all that much.
Yet, you pay an arm and a leg for them on Valentine’s Day.
So, ask your partner about her favourite flower(s) and make a plan.
Find and buy them.
Avoid stealing from people’s gardens.
3. Choose a few romantic movies and stay on the couch.
It’s easy to find a list of romantic movies with things like Netflix, Neon, Lightbox, iTunes etc these days.
You don’t even have to get dressed up and go out.
In fact, the less you’re dressed the better!
The popcorn is also less expensive at home, too.
You can even “talk” during the movie …
4. Go local instead of a trip.
If you have a few dollars to spare and want to, then save on massive travel expenses (not to mention inconvenience) and visit a local hotel, B&B, or farm stay etc. for the night.
It’s more likely to have a vacancy, be cheaper, and it’s far less of a hassle to get to there and back home the next day.
Now, a long-term married man’s golden tip – consider finding one with a (hot) tub for two.
5. Have an indoor picnic.
Here is New Zealand, we usually have very nice warm weather in February.
That means having an outdoor picnic is definitely an option.
It’s generally cheaper, more romantic, and meaningful.
However, if you’re living in the North … why … just kidding … no, you have some options too.
Clear out space on the living room floor and have your picnic inside.
In fact, if you have a fireplace, even better!
Fire, fondue, naked in warm blankets … now THAT’s Valentine’s Day idea worth looking into.
Anything is possible with a little bit of creativity … and a touch of nudity.
6. Look for free or inexpensive entertainment.
If you do want to go out, then that’s fine as well.
Chances are you can find quality entertainment on a budget if you planned ahead by keeping your eye on local events happening on the 14th.
Museums, local theatre companies, art galleries, bar with live music, and food and wine tastings can all be both entertaining and inexpensive.
Just use Google and start looking.
7. Deliver your own flowers.
The florist is more expensive than the grocery store or the farmer’s market.
Go shop around and deliver the flowers (with homemade card) yourself and enjoy the smile you’ll most likely receive.
More effort (i.e. thought) that went into it, usually translates into being more meaningful (in my experience).
That’s NOT the case for more expensive.
Expensive is often just that … expensive.
Note: if you can do both, great! But this is about Valentine’s Day on a budget remember!
8. Choose a different date.
I know this sounds a tad weird, but even though Valentine’s Day officially falls on February 14th, why not consider celebrating the following day?
Chances are that restaurants, flowers, and cards will be significantly less expensive.
Plus you get the added bonus of avoiding the crowds as well … that’s excluding the many other awesome people who have read this post too, of course.
Just a footnote … make sure to let your partner in on your plan BEFOREHAND.
They might think you forgot.
Don’t want that.
Unless you’ve decided to forget together.
9. Write a love letter.
I generally love this idea, and I’ve done it many times myself.
When it comes from the heart and you’ve put some thought into it, few things compete with a genuine love letter.
Also, most people have a sheet of paper and a pen.
So, take a few minutes and put your romantic thoughts down on paper.
It’s free (mostly), and you’ll score some big points.
But, again, do NOT do this as a last resort or at the last minute.
That is sure to blow up your face.
You’ve been warned.
10. Give each other a massage.
Not many other things that come much cheaper than this, but is AS awesome!
All you need is four things:
- yourselves (assuming you’re willing)
- massage oil
- music (candles optional)
Pick the music and the massage oils.
Light a few candles and turn on some music.
Let your fingers do the talking.
Who knows where all this talking might go?
11. Make your own card.
This one is very close to the love letter idea.
In fact, you can probably combine the two.
The point is, there’s no law that states you HAVE to support Warehouse by purchasing a card that costs $5-10.
They usually end up in the trash anyway.
Instead, make a card this year.
It will be remembered a lot longer then a paid-for cart (if not forever).
12. Go out for breakfast.
It’s the most important meal of the day, and usually the least expensive.
So why not go out for breakfast instead of dinner this year?
When you think about it, this is actually a pretty good idea.
You can also combine this with giving your spouse your love letter while you’re enjoying breakfast.
Also, should you have kids, chances are they’d either be in daycare or at school.
Now, if you can’t go into work a bit later (or take the whole day off), then lunch is the other option.
My wife and I have been having Valentine’s Day lunches for years.
It makes it a lot simpler juggling work, kid responsibilities, and cost.
And there is no rule that says you can’t still enjoy dessert at the end of the day when the kids have gone to bed.
13. Make a gift.
Depending on your levels of creativity, this is another option.
Personally, I’m not really the gift making type, but I am pretty good at buying a few cheap unrelated items and putting them together as one gift that makes sense to my wife.
At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts.
Use your creativity, and see what you can come up with.
14. Set a budget and brainstorm.
Just sit down together and determine what you want to do, and how much you’re willing to spend this year.
My wife and I are already working on our plan for Valentine’s Day (and the days around it), which I love.
It takes the pressure off me to “perform” or do something for “her.”
This is about us as a couple, and there is no rule that says we can’t plan Valentine’s Day together.
It’s how WE want to celebrate our love for one another that matters.
Take Away …
I hope this list of ideas for having Valentine’s Day on a budget has given you some inspiration and ideas of your own.
See how many more ideas you can list that stay within your budget and idea of what Valentine’s Day is all about.
Love doesn’t require money.
A fun and memorable Valentine’s Day CAN be enjoyed on a budget.
Just make a list of inexpensive ideas (alone or together) that will thrill your significant other, and plan around that.
Avoid little money spoiling Valentine’s Day for you or your spouse.
And let me know what you’ve come up with in the comments below.
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