Odds are that new restaurants, wine bars, and microbreweries are popping up in your town, and you’re dying to try them all! And while those delicious culinary adventures can make for a great date, it can get really pricey, especially on Valentine’s Day.
But that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with unromantic and boring dates or nights out with your friends. There’s no need to get stuck in a rut — I’ve got lots of fun and creative cheap date ideas that won’t break your budget.
Bonus! All of these ideas can easily be done with a best friend, too. So if you’re down in the dumps about “Singles Awareness Day,” grab a single girlfriend and spend some time together!
1. Romantic dinner — at home!
Estimated cost: $50 or less
Cook together. Spending time together in the kitchen and cooking your favorite meal can save a huge amount of money and is infinitely more romantic. That delicious pasta dinner and your favorite bottle of wine could run you well over $100 at a local bistro, but you can spend less than $50 to recreate the experience at home.
You can cook a Valentine’s Dinner at home for under $50 and still include luxury items like alcoholic drinks and steak. Don’t believe us? Try our budget Valentine’s Day menu!
2. Actually use your board games
Estimated cost: Free!
Have some games sitting in your closet? Dig ‘em out. Playing board games as an adult can be really fun, especially if you invite some friends over.
3. Old-fashioned movie night
Estimated cost: $10 ($2 for movie rental, $8 for snacks and popcorn)
Go to an actual movie store (yes, they still exist!) and pick something out. Get the popcorn and candy, too. It’ll still be less than $10!
4. Go to a local city park, state park, or walking trail
Estimated cost: $5, or possibly even free!
Long walks are a great way to spend time with friends or with your partner. State park admission fees are usually around $5. Don’t forget to bring water and a picnic lunch!
Surprise your significant other with a hearty picnic lunch! Try one of these delicious picnic recipes for a uniquely romantic moment.
5. Be a kid again!
Estimated cost: Admission fees vary, with swimming and ice skating costing around $5 per person (more in some areas)
Go swimming, ice skating, or even go play games at an arcade (skeeball is a timeless classic!) Race go-karts. Play soccer, tag, or find a patch of grass, look up at the clouds and daydream together.
6. Netflix marathon
Estimated cost: Free if you don’t count your $7.99 Netflix subscription
Find a new show that neither of you have watched and binge-watch your Saturday away. It feels good to abandon all sense of responsibility and snuggle in for some good TV.
7. Embrace the season
Estimated cost: Free! (Or $10 if you purchase a large carving pumpkin)
Make a snowman, go to the beach, go for a walk among the fall foliage, carve a pumpkin! There’s something to be said for getting into the spirit of your surroundings.
8. Find a good happy hour
Estimated cost: $20 or less (don’t forget to tip your server!)
Some cities are known for great happy hour specials, and sharing an appetizer and a pitcher of beer is an inexpensive way to unwind and gives you something to look forward to during the day. (And no one has to cook dinner!)
Even if you don’t like to cook, you can still make a great date at home with these no-fuss one-bite appetizer recipes!
9. Have dessert together
Estimated cost: $10 for a local shop, but an ice cream cone runs about $1 at most fast food chains
Embrace your inner child and go out for ice cream! Split a sundae or grab cones and see who can eat theirs without it melting first.
10. Get creative
Estimated cost: Depends on your budget and the limits of your own imagination!
Take turns planning inexpensive date nights. Set a spending limit and explore your city, 10 bucks at a time. Make sure one person isn’t doing all of the planning!
Become a tourist in your own hometown or a nearby city. For big days like Valentine’s Day and your anniversary, why not get a CityPASS and take a tour of familiar sites? You may be surprised at what you discover together!
11. Do ordinary things together
Estimated cost: Free!
Chores, grocery shopping, running errands — it’s amazing how much more pleasant those things can be with someone by your side.