10 ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget

Man surprising woman with valentines gift

Valentine’s Day is one of the most romantic days of the year—and it’s also the third priciest holiday with people shelling out a total of $23.9 billion each year. Love or hate this holiday, there’s no denying that Valentine’s Day impacts your budget. But, there are still plenty of fun options that won’t break the bank. Keep reading for 10 ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget with your special someone:

1. Cook dinner at home

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, making it difficult (or expensive) to score reservations. Skip the overpriced dinner and enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner at home! There’s no better way to bond than by making a home-cooked meal with the one you love the most—all while saving a few bucks. You don’t need to be a world-class chef, either. There are plenty of online cooking classes that will guide you both along the way.

2. Have a game night

Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? Break out your favorite board game and have a game night in with your Valentine. Make it nostalgic with some classic games, or if you’re feeling bold, try a game neither of you has played before. To make it more fun, designate a prize for the winner.

3. Volunteer together

Save money and help out your favorite charity? We call that a win-win—and an excuse to skip out on the cliché giant teddy bear. Not only does volunteering feel good, but research shows that special bonds often develop while volunteering with others. It provides couples with a shared experience that both of you can enjoy. Stuck on what to do? Volunteermatch.org allows you to search for opportunities in your area based on your interests, including working with animals, homeless and housing initiatives, working with immigrants and refugees, and more.

4. Create a scrapbook

Scrapbooking is a fun hobby that can bring out your creative side and preserve your favorite memories. Collect your favorite photos, whether it’s from a memorable trip or your daily life, and tap your inner artist. Take a trip to your local craft store, grab some supplies, and start scrapbooking! If you’re unsure where to start or need some inspiration, there are various step-by-step guides that will walk you through from start to finish.

5. Take a hike

There’s nothing better than exploring the great outdoors—and Georgia has plenty of it. If the weather is nice, take a hike this Valentine’s Day and spare your budget. Not only will you have a fun day that will end in some amazing views, but you’ll also reap the benefits of hiking as a couple. It encourages you to solve problems together, communicate effectively, and unplug from your daily life—all for as little as $5. Bring along a camera to capture the memories (scrapbook idea!). You can even pack a picnic to enjoy when you get to the top.

6. Rent a movie

The average cost to see a movie (not including snacks!) is nearly $30. Coupled with long lines, noisy people, and the possibility of only front-row seats being available (hello, neck pain), you’re better off staying home. Instead of trekking to the movie theater, rent a movie at home—and no, we don’t mean re-watching the same movie you both have seen a billion times on Netflix. Spend a few dollars and rent a new release you’ve both been dying to see.

7. Ride bikes

Is there anything sweeter than riding bikes with your sweetie? Rent some bikes and explore your city. Bike rentals cost as little as $10/hour, making it an affordable and fun date. If you’re in the Metro Atlanta area, the Beltline is a perfect spot to start. If you’re feeling adventurous, try riding a tandem bike instead of a regular bicycle!

8. Go on a scavenger hunt

Create a scavenger hunt with riddles that must be answered to advance to the next clue. The scavenger hunt can be completed at home, the park, or any other location that is special to you. If you’re stuck on riddles, there are dozens of free, printable scavenger hunts to choose from.

9. Take a dance class

Put on your dancing shoes and take a dance class. A dance class is a fun way to surprise your partner and learn something new together. Check Groupon or your local dance studio—most will offer low-cost (or even free) one- or two-hour classes.

10. Try the TikTok “Target Challenge”

The Tiktok “Target Challenge” has taken the internet by storm, and for good reason. It’s a fun (albeit silly) date that you can make as cheap as you want. You’ll visit your local Target (or Walmart, or any other store closest to you), and each person picks out items based on certain parameters. The list varies, but below is an example:

  • Favorite drink
  • Favorite snack
  • Favorite color
  • Something that reminds you of them
  • Something to try together

The beauty of this challenge is you can make it as inexpensive as you want, making it a great Valentine’s Day on a budget, and it’s fun to see what the other person picks. It’s an entertaining and adorable way to see how well you know each other!

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