Whether your date for Valentine’s Day is your long-term love, a new sweetheart, or a good friend, the expectations for the evening may not match the reality of your bank account.
For Millennials, the good news is a romantic dinner is more desirable than something spendy like diamond jewelry, according to a recent survey by Varo. In fact, the top three most-desired treats for Valentine’s Day included a romantic dinner, a weekend getaway, and quality time together.
Here are a few date ideas for an intimate, fun, and inexpensive way you could celebrate February 14—for less than $50.
Stay In Together
Last-minute reservations can be hard to come by, and the cost of a meal out and drinks can quickly add up. Decorate your home ahead of time (candles do the trick every time) to create a date-night vibe, and order takeout from a place you know you both enjoy. Or, better yet, cook. Send your date a handful of recipes to choose from, then purchase the ingredients and spend the evening sipping wine while you prepare and savor a delicious meal. Get some inspiration with Food & Wine’s Valentine’s Day ideas.
Give Back to Your Community
If you don’t already know too much about each other, try to uncover a few issues that both you and your valentine are especially passionate about supporting. Reach out to local organizations that are related to the issue and ask if they need volunteers on Wednesday evening or this coming weekend. You can also check out VolunteerMatch to get ideas. Or, create your own project to give back to your community. For example, you could use a $50 budget to buy supplies, build winter weather packs for the homeless, and then hand them out together.
Try Out a New Class or Activity
Instead of staying in, get your endorphins going with a little physical exertion. Depending on where you live, there may be dozens of fun, challenging, or simply playful activities to choose from at local studios. You can get discounted passes on Zenrez or Groupon and spend the evening supporting each other during acro yoga, learning how to do handstands, dancing, or flowing through a yoga class. Or, perhaps a guided meditation or visit to a spa is more your style.
Host a Potluck With Friends
In Latin America, Valentine’s Day is “El Dia del Amor y la Amistad,” which translates to the day of love and friendship. You could honor this sentiment by hosting a potluck with your friends. Whether coupled or single, they may also appreciate the opportunity to celebrate love and friendship without a pressure-filled date. Ask each guest to bring a part of the meal, and then purchase beer or wine for the group as your contribution. After dinner, keep the night going with group games like charades or watch the Olympics together.
Skip It and Plan a Trip Together
If you and your special person don’t especially care for Valentine’s Day, but still would like to do something romantic, skip the actual day and put the savings toward an upcoming shared expense. (Protip: Save in your Varo Savings Account.) Spend Feb. 14th exploring your options, which can sometimes be just as exciting as the actual travel. Or, if you don’t have a trip planned, start looking for places to visit together. Need some frugal travel inspiration? Check out Scott’s Cheap Flights for international travel deals.
Advertisements may tell you otherwise, but you can find ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day that reflect your feelings without straining your finances. Whether it’s an evening in with your cell phones off or heading out to try something new, in the end, you’re looking for ways to spend time together that are a little unusual or special.
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