It's time to celebrate the significant other in your life! If you're thinking that means pricey gifts, expensive dates and blowing an entire day's salary on a restaurant meal, think again. There's no need to drain your wallet while trying to create the perfect Valentine's Day. Instead, use these eight hacks for a dream Valentine's Day that doesn't break the budget.
1. Dine In
Restaurants typically up their prices when the whole world is going out to eat, so you'll likely be paying extra just because it's Valentine's Day. Plus, trying to carry on a conversation in a noisy restaurant while keeping your elbow out of the soup on the next table is hardly a recipe for a romantic evening.
Instead of shelling out big bucks for a sub-par experience, cook up a gourmet meal at home. You can easily spend less than half of what you'd pay for the same food in a steakhouse by opting to DIY. If you both like puttering around the kitchen, prep your delicious dinner together. Don't forget to set the ambiance with scented candles and soft music!
2. Explore the great outdoors
It may be cold out, but you can still spend some shared time together outdoors. Bundle up and take a refreshing walk under the stars. Afterward, go home and warm up with steaming mugs of hot chocolate.
3. Laugh it out
Comedy clubs are always a ball of fun—and they're cheap, too! Check out the local comedy club together for a rollicking good time.
4. Hit the gym
Gym memberships and day passes usually decline in February when many people have abandoned their New Year's resolutions to get fit. Take advantage of the lower prices to hit the gym as a couple this Valentine's Day. A shared workout can be a great bonding experience that's good for your health and your wallet, too.
5. Make a memory box
Instead of expensive gifts and overpriced cards, take a long walk down memory lane together by making a memory box. Cover a small box or container in some decorative material, or spray-paint it in your chosen color. Then, sift through your collection of ticket stubs and other mementos you've saved up from your months or years of dating each other. Throw in tourist pamphlets of places you've visited, random photos and any other trinkets that bring up warm memories.
Grab a tub of ice cream, two spoons, and enjoy a wonderful evening reliving some of your best shared moments.
6. Get cultured together
Give your date a refreshing twist by hitting a spot you've never visited together: like a local museum! Choose a place with an inexpensive entrance fee and displays that appeal to each of your interests. Then, spend an evening soaking up the culture and absorbing fascinating information. It's a great way to breathe fresh life into a dating rut. Plus, studying works of art or historical artifacts makes for fabulous conversation.
7. Gift them with a thoughtful gesture
Everyone has a guilty pleasure they can't get enough of. Give your partner an all-out indulgence fest this Valentine's Day for a truly thoughtful gift. If your significant other loves nothing more than waking up to a huge stack of pancakes with an iced latte on the side, surprise them with their dream breakfast-in-bed. If they have a thing for Snicker bars, fill a huge, funky container with their favorite chocolates.
You can also go in the other direction with this idea and offer to do a household chore you know your partner loathes, like laundry or washing dishes. Decorate a small piece of cardstock and write up a "certificate" that gifts the recipient with four loads of laundry, washed, dried and put away, or three evenings of dirty dashes rinsed, washed and drained. It won't cost you anything, and it's sure to put a smile on your partner's face!
8. Movie matinee
Instead of paying full price for movie tickets, see your favorite picture at a daytime matinee. You'll save a bundle on tickets just by going a bit earlier in the day. Theaters are also less crowded during the afternoon, making for a more enjoyable experience all around.
You don't have to break your budget this Valentine's Day. Use these hacks, or another creative money-saving idea, to enjoy a wonderful day with the love of your life!
Your Turn: How do you save on Valentine's Day? Share your best tips and tricks with us in the comments!