10 Valentine’s Day Ideas on a Budget

10 Valentine’s Day Ideas on a Budget

Whether you have a date or not, you can still celebrate Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank.

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Stepping out of your comfort zone to take a dance class is the perfect way to stay busy on Valentine’s Day and help you make new friends.

Valentine’s Day isn’t a holiday just for couples. Love for your family, friends, and even love for yourself, is worth celebrating, too. While it’s easy to rack up an expensive tab on a fancy dinner to celebrate your love or wallow in self-pity over not having a date with an obscene amount of pricey chocolate for yourself --Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be reduced to these stereotypes.

We’ve come up with a list of things to do with a date, by yourself, or with friends, so that this Valentine’s Day is less expensive and lots of fun.

If You’re Single

1. Treat Yourself

That massage you’ve been wanting is calling your name. Sites like Living Social and Groupon offer great deals on things like massages and manicures this time of year. While they feature these deals as gifts for Valentine lovers, use them as an opportunity to get a gift for yourself.

Average Cost: $20 to $50

2. Have a Date With Ben, Jerry and Your Favorite Series

This may seem like a cliché way to spend your Valentine’s if your single, but sometimes a Downton Abbey marathon is more appealing than hanging out with a big group of friends.

Average Cost: No more than $5

3. Volunteer

Valentine’s Day can also be about spreading love by volunteering. Head over to your local animal shelter and hang out with cute puppies all day, or if you haven’t volunteered in your area before, Volunteer Match can connect you with an organization that speaks to your heart.

Average Cost: A couple of hours out of your day

4. Throw a Battle of the Sexes Party

Believe it or not, you aren’t the only single person. We bet many of your friends would gladly to join in a Battle of the Sexes Party. Set up different challenges such as trivia, food presentation (creating food with play dough), home building (using blankets and chairs), fashion design (using toilet paper, paper towels, plastic bags) and communication skills (using Pictionary). This game could lead to intense competition, and will definitely get your mind off being single.

Average Cost: $25 to $50

5. Take a Dance Class

Stepping out of your comfort zone to take a dance class is the perfect way to stay busy on Valentine’s Day and help you make new friends. Taking a salsa or swing dance class will introduce you to a new group of people in your community and will definitely be fun, even if you think you have two left feet.

Average Cost: Up to $25

For Couples

1. Splurge on a Fancy Dessert-Only Date

Heading out on the town for a five-star meal might not be in your budget, but grabbing just dessert can be much easier on the wallet. Win over your date’s heart by sharing a crème brulée or tiramisu while enjoying a glass of choc au vin. This will be much more impressive than any box of chocolates.

Average Cost: $20 to $40

2. Find a Free Concert on Campus

College campuses are known for their free events. Check your school’s calendar to see if there’s an ensemble performance from the orchestra or an a cappella group. Get dressed up and if it’s nearby take a walk under the stars to the event. This will make for an out-of-the-ordinary evening that’s romantic and memorable.

Average Cost: Free

3. At-Home Dinner and a Movie

Sometimes staying in for the evening is the perfect solution for a low-budget Valentine’s Day. Challenge your date by cooking a new dinner and dessert together — just remember to have fun with it, and don’t fight. After the dishes are cleaned up, snuggle up on the couch with a movie and popcorn.

Average Cost: $20 to $50

4. Experience the Great Outdoors Date

Spending time outside will keep you both active and will break the ice if this is your first date. Take a hike or go on a bike ride together, and have a picnic later in the afternoon. Whatever activity you choose to do could spark a common interest and give you something to talk about with your date.

Average Cost: Up to $25

5. Scavenger Hunt

You don’t have to buy diamonds or roses to impress your Valentine. The most thoughtful gifts are often more personal. Make a deal with your date to spend a certain amount on smaller items. Plant them around your dorm room or your house with clues, and make a Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt. A gift card to your Valentine’s favorite coffee shop, a bottle of their favorite wine, a music mix or a painting that you created are all small gestures that can mean a lot.

Average Cost: Up to $50

Quick Tips

  • If you’ve recently gone through a break up, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to catch up with some of your single friends you haven’t seen in a while.
  • Be wary of going on a dinner date with someone as just friends. You don’t want to send the person mixed messages if they secretly have feelings for you.
  • Don’t forget about your family! This holiday can be about all kinds of love. Set up a lunch or dinner date with one of your family members if you’re feeling alone on Valentine’s Day.

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