The most romantic day of the year is approaching, and if you're low on cash and can't think of ways to celebrate Valentine's Day without spending money, don't even stress it! There are lots of fun, inexpensive ways to have a romantic time. Elaborate restaurants, fancy flowers and gourmet chocolates are always nice, but it doesn't have to get expensive to be memorable. Here are 19 ways to celebrate Valentine's Day without spending money!
Sharing a delicious meal and a great film with your guy is fun, simple and intimate, but restaurants and movie tickets can get pricey. Make your own romantic dinner and turn your living room into a movie theatre! Feel like making something you don't have the ingredients for? Head to the discount supermarket and get them on a budget. Light candles, cover the table with a pretty tablecloth, and put on some relaxing music. After dinner, make some popcorn together and throw on a movie you both love. If you can't find common ground, settle on a movie for each of you. This is one of my favorite fabulously frugal ways to celebrate Valentine's Day without spending money!
Pick a pretty, romantic location and ask a friend with a decent camera to play photographer. Get photo ready with dazzling makeup and a gorgeous dress, and have him wear something nice and dressy. Bring fun props that are relevant to your relationship (like a funny stuffed animal he bought you or a souvenir from your first date). Make a sign by cutting a heart-shape into a piece of paper of cardboard, and write your names along with "Valentine's Day 2014" on the heart. Relax, smile, and have fun! Have your friend snap some candid shots so you have a variety of posed and natural photos. The result will be memories you can look back on and smile.
Hop in the car, throw on a mixed CD of songs you both love, and drive to a lookout point where you can see the stars. No car? Take a sweet, slow bike ride instead, or walk hand in hand until you find somewhere romantic to sit together. What an adorable way to celebrate Valentine's Day without spending money!
Load your phone up with a romantic playlist, pack some sandwiches, grapes, and chocolate, and throw in a bottle of wine (non-alcoholic, depending on your age). Bring a cozy blanket, and spread it all out at your favorite park. Is it cold and snowy where you live? No excuses! Bundle up and bring a thermos of hot chocolate, plus some freshly-baked heart-shaped cookies.
Light candles, grab some massage oil or lotion and take turns relieving each other's tension with slow, deep foot, neck, leg and shoulder massages. It's a totally relaxing way to get close without spending money.
Check your local papers and online for free concerts. They happen more often than you think, and what's more romantic than watching a great singer/songwriter perform love songs while you hold hands with your guy?
Skate rentals are cheap if you don't have your own skates, and most ice rinks have free public skates. No idea how to skate? Let him teach you! You'll giggle when he catches your fall, and you can warm your hands and hearts with some hot cocoa when you're finished! So fun!
The library is full of free reading options, so grab a couple of romantic poem books and spend a lovely evening reading each other words of love. You'll probably find poems that will help you rediscover your love for each other or leave you creating a new bond over shared laughter at corny poems. You could also write each other poems and read them aloud.
You're never too old to play games and have fun. Take turns writing down love notes to each other on small pieces of paper. Then hunt them down based on clues you give to each other. You can make this an event or simply hide them throughout the day for a surprise find when you least expect it. Use pink and red paper to make the notes more Valentine's Day worthy.
A board game night is perfect for a free Valentine's Day night in. Grab all your favorites and have some fun together doing something you don't get to do all the time. This is a great choice if you have kids that you'll be sharing the holiday with this year. You'll have some great memories and create a great opportunity to bond with anyone you love.
Put on your favorite CD and have a dance party together. You can get down with fast music or play something slow and dance in each other's arms. Set the mood with lit candles and comfortable clothes. Dancing is pretty intimate and even a night in will be more special if you spend it getting close and enjoying each other. Make each other a special playlist if you have the time.
Sure, making a fancy meal together is fun, but consider baking a sweet treat to share if you so desire. Choose a fun recipe together then make it. Once it's finished, you'll have a tasty treat to end the day with. Don't pick something too hard or you'll wind up frustrated. Remember, this is supposed to be fun and romantic.
Not while you're sleeping, though. No matter how long you've been together, you surely have hopes and dreams for your future together. Fantasize about the big house you'll buy someday or the expensive island vacation where you'll renew your vows in a few years. Experts say that this can strengthen your bond and inspire you to go after what you want most. And it's a fun way to spend a couple of hours with the love of your life.
You know the ones I'm talking about right? Take the time to write a coupon for each other during each month of the year. Think a back massage, a home cooked meal or anything else that your significant other loves best. Doing little things for each other makes you both feel good.
You don't have to have the money to hit the local spa. Simply light your own bathroom with candles and soft lighting, then run a steaming bubble bath. Share it with your loved one and take the time to soak and enjoy each other. Have some wine and chocolates and pretend like you payed big bucks for the pleasure.
Take your spa night idea to the next level by breaking out the body oils and giving each other a massage. It's just like going to the spa, but without the huge cost. Lay out a cozy towel or blanket and take turns rubbing each other down. This is a great way to release the feel good hormone, oxytocin, which will leave you both feeling more in love than ever before.
A simple Google search should give you plenty of choices. Some local attractions feature days when there is no admission. That allows you to see some great stuff without having to spend a dime. Museums, the zoo or the botanic gardens are fun options. Stroll through the place holding hands and it will be a Valentine's Day well spent.
Maybe you can't afford to hit up a high end cocktail lounge, but you can still celebrate at home. Choose your favorite dressy outfits and get spiffed up. Then lounge out on your own couch with a fancy drink in hand. Take turns mixing up new and exciting cocktails for each other and pretend like you're in a fancy location the whole time.
If you both like to make things, plan a fun craft project for the big day. Maybe you'll paint a canvas together or sew something. Perhaps you could make a fun mosaic or some great wall art that will bring about good memories every time you see it. Whatever you want to do, a Valentine's Day craft extravaganza will be something that neither of you will forget.
How would you celebrate Valentine's Day without blowing cash? Let me know!
This article written in collaboration with editor, Eliza Martinez
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