Valentine’s Day is just days away, and for many, that means it’s time for gifts or an expensive date. In fact, people spend an average of $146 on Valentine’s Day. If you’re on a budget, that’s a lot to spend on a single night out, but you still want your loved one to feel special and appreciated.
Below are ten cheap gift ideas and activities you can do to celebrate without going broke.
1. Check out local food trucks
If you’re looking for cheap date ideas, consider visiting local food trucks. You can sample many different delicious foods without spending a fortune. Bring a blanket and a bottle of wine, and you have a romantic and affordable date.
2. Book a staycation
Instead of a pricey weekend trip to the mountains or the beach, plan a staycation and make the most of your hometown. Tour the sites only tourists usually visit, such as landmarks, museums, or local parks.
To give yourself a break from the same old routine, book a room through Airbnb. You can get a great room for the fraction of the price you’d pay for a hotel.
3. Tour a local brewery
When it comes to cheap date night ideas, touring a brewery can be a perfect activity if you enjoy craft beers. Many local breweries offer free tours or charge a nominal fee. You can learn how the beer is created and sample some of their offerings.
To find a local brewery, check out CraftBeer.com.
4. Buy a potted plant
If you’re looking for cheap gift ideas, you cannot beat flowers, a holiday classic. But instead of a bouquet of roses – which can cost up to $2 or more a flower in February – consider a potted plant. Not only are potted plants cheaper, but your partner also won’t have to worry about finding a vase or throwing out the pricey bouquet when the flowers die.
A potted plant of her favorite flowers, such as orchids or gardenias, can be a lasting gift that costs just $20 or less.
5. Purchase a discounted gift card
If you are determined to buy your partner expensive jewelry or a new electronic device, you can still save money. Before shopping, check out discount gift card sites for deals at retailers like Jared, Ulta, or Best Buy. You can save up to 30 percent off the card’s value, allowing you to stretch your budget further.
If you want to have a romantic dinner out, you can also score discounted gift cards for restaurants, reducing the price of an expensive meal. You can get 12 percent off at Maggiano’s or 15 percent off Seasons 52.
6. Make chocolate-covered strawberries
Chocolate-covered strawberries, while delicious, can cost as much as $40 for a dozen from big-name delivery services. But in just ten minutes, you can whip up your own for under $10.
All you need is a tub of Baker’s Dipping Chocolate, strawberries, wax paper, and a microwave. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, following the instructions on the tub, and then dip the strawberries into the chocolate. Lay them on the wax paper, then put them in the refrigerator for an hour or two to harden. It’s a delicious, easy, and inexpensive gift everyone will love.
7. Cook a meal from a service
Cooking dinner for your partner can be much more thoughtful and personal than a night out at a fancy restaurant. But if you’re clueless in the kitchen, it can be overwhelming. Services like Blue Apron make it easy. They send you all of the ingredients, including individually wrapped spices, and send detailed instructions on how to cook, complete with videos.
Three meals for two people costs $60 a week, but right now the company is offering $30 off your first order.
8. Whip up some fudge
Fudge is a delicious dessert that most people think is more difficult to make than it really is. But this peanut butter fudge recipe is simple and delicious, even if you haven’t made candy before. Once you’re done, cut the fudge into squares and place them into a holiday tin from the dollar store to make them extra special.
9. Create a photo book
Sure, your partner can look at photos of you both on Instagram or Facebook, but a personalized photo album will be much more meaningful. And with Walgreen’s Photo Center, you can create a professional-looking book in just a few minutes.
10. Volunteer together
A great way to spend quality time together is to give back to the community. Sign up to volunteer as a couple for a cause your partner cares about. You can spend an afternoon at the animal shelter walking dogs or serving the homeless at the local soup kitchen. To find opportunities near you, check out Volunteer Match.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day on a budget
Whether you need cheap gift ideas or want to spend a night out with using a credit card, you can still have a romantic evening without going broke.
For more cheap date night ideas, check out this article on 14 things to do on a budget.
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