12 frugal Valentine’s Day date ideas

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Cupid’s favorite holiday is quickly approaching on February 14 and if you’re dating or in a committed relationship, you’re likely planning to celebrate in some way.

Whether you’re contemplating a fancy meal at your favorite restaurant, brunch with bottomless mimosas or spa treatments for two, it’s important to consider the overall costs as Valentine’s Day festivities can get pricey. In fact, the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey found Americans will spend nearly $20 billion on the holiday this year.

12 cheap date ideas

Planning the perfect date doesn’t have to come with a high cost though; consider these frugal ideas for a memorable Valentine’s Day and a closer connection without compromising your budget.

Cook a meal

Cooking a new recipe together is often more intimate than dining out, especially on Valentine’s Day when restaurants are crowded and menu prices are inflated. My husband and I love cooking together and luckily for us, he actually knows what he’s doing! Check out these intimate meals curated specifically for Valentine’s Day and make a date to create it together.

Movie under the stars

All you need is a patio and a laptop to create a romantic outdoor movie showing under the stars. You can access favorite flicks through iTunes and Netflix or pop in a DVD. Pair with your favorite childhood candy, fresh popcorn and a bottle of wine. Light a few candles to set the mood and wrap up in blankets and cuddle close to keep out the cold!

Do dessert

If your sweetie has a sweet tooth, skip the pricey prix-fixe menu and opt for just dessert instead.

Prepare dinner at home and make a reservation for dessert later in the evening. This way, you can still dress up for an evening out but pay a fraction of the cost of dinner. You can even make reservations at the priciest place in town and still pay less than $25.


Search for local volunteer opportunities through VolunteerMatch.org and choose a cause that’s near and dear to you or your loved one’s heart. Dedicating your time to help someone else on Valentine’s Day is the ultimate way to share the love, while connecting with your partner on a deeper level.

Host a game night

Channel your inner child and host a game night with your partner, or invite other couples over to join in the fun. Play classics like Clue, Risk, Scrabble or Yahtzee while munching on finger foods and sipping bubbly. You might find it so enjoyable that you schedule regular game nights!

Be tourists together

Most of us overlook the most interesting parts of the towns in which we live, simply because we’re too busy or get stuck in the same old routine. Head to your city’s visitor center for recommendations and make a plan with your partner to discover hidden gems and local landmarks. You may find a new favorite hangout, coffee shop or overlook point to visit in the future!


Organize a wine tasting

While couples pay a premium to hear sommeliers pontificate over tannins and earth tones, you and your Valentine can draw your own conclusions for much less with an at-home wine tasting. Cover wine bottles so you don’t know what you’re pouring, and number each bottle to help keep track. Download a free wine tasting sheet and then sniff, swish and sip the night away!

Create an at-home spa

Spas and massage parlors will be particularly busy on Valentine’s Day, and often charge $50 to over $100 per person. Instead, create an at-home couples’ massage for the ultimate Valentine’s Day experience. Stock up on scented candles, massage oils and lotions from discount retailers to set the mood without going over budget. Choose a relaxing Pandora station and trade off giving back massages!

Discover your love language

Everyone has a love language, or a preferred way in which they perceive love from others. Take the love language test and learn how compatible you are, plus discover how best your partner likes to receive love: Affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time or physical touch.

Explore local art

If you and your honey enjoy looking at pretty things, spend the day exploring art galleries in your area. Take note of favorite paintings or sculptures and discuss your favorites over a cup of coffee afterwards. Who knows, you may just end up with a piece that will forever remind you of your special day together.

Brew some beer

You may already be experts at drinking beer, but have you ever tried to brew your own? This fun project will take up to six hours from start to cleanup. Since the beer will require an additional two weeks to ferment, a follow-up date to taste your creation is necessary. At-home brew kits come equipped with all the tools and ingredients you need to get started.

Couples’ crafts

Couples who enjoy do-it-yourself projects will take pleasure in working together to create something new. From re-purposing a piece of furniture to building a bookshelf to making your own canvas portraits, you can find tutorials and tips for just about anything online. Get some inspiration from Pinterest or consider one of these interesting DIY ideas and let your creativity flow wild!

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