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Valentine's Day: Seven cheap date ideas for any budget

The Independent logo The Independent 5/2/2019 Chelsea Ritschel
a person wearing a red hat © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Valentine’s Day is coming up, which means restaurants, florists, and nearly everything else marketed towards showing your love will be marked up in price.

And the ever-increasing commercialisation of the holiday means people are spending more than ever on the day of love, according to the National Retail Federation, which projects Americans will spend more than $20bn this Valentine’s Day.

Fortunately, participating in Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you have to shower your loved one in expensive gifts or splurge on pricy dinners out - as there are plenty of things couples can do inexpensively or free.

These are seven cheap or free Valentine’s Day date ideas.

1. Have a picnic

If you don’t live in an area of that is currently experiencing the freezing temperatures of a polar vortex, a picnic outside is the perfect way to spend the holiday. If the weather isn't picnic-appropriate, you can host the picnic in your living room, complete with throw pillows.

a boy lying on the grass: Share a picnic lunch with your loved one (Stock) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Share a picnic lunch with your loved one (Stock)

All you need for the inexpensive yet memorable date is a picnic blanket and some homemade sandwiches.

2. Go to a museum

A day spent exploring a museum is another affordable option - as most museums offer inexpensive or donation-based entry fees.

Exploring a museum is an option this Valentine's Day (Stock) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Exploring a museum is an option this Valentine's Day (Stock)

You can find a list of free museums in New York City here. In the UK, it is free admission to national museums.

3. Make dinner and dessert at home

If you plan to save money by skipping the restaurant scene, working together to create a home-cooked meal is a great date alternative.

a person preparing food in a kitchen: A home-cooked meal is more fun and more affordable than eating out (Stock) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited A home-cooked meal is more fun and more affordable than eating out (Stock)

You can add a unique flair to the holiday by making a dish you wouldn't normally, such as sushi.

For dessert, get into the Valentine’s Day spirit with a recipe for chocolate-dipped strawberries or pink cupcakes.

4. Start binge-watching a new TV show together

For millennial couples, there is little more romantic than watching a show together. This Valentine’s Day, you can spend the day relaxing and enjoying each other’s company by starting a new show from the beginning.

a person standing in a room: You can spend the day relaxing as a couple (Stock) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited You can spend the day relaxing as a couple (Stock)

Starting a series together also means you’ll need to dedicate days to doing it again in the future.

Just make sure to avoid watching future episodes without one another, as that behaviour is known to cause rifts between couples.

5. Volunteer together

If you wanted to spread the spirit of love this holiday, volunteering is an option worth considering.

Volunteering is an option that also allows you to give back (Stock) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Volunteering is an option that also allows you to give back (Stock)

In addition to costing no money, you’ll have the chance to help others while spending time with your significant other.

For volunteer opportunities in New York, you can find more information here. For information on getting involved in the UK, you can go here.

6. Complete a puzzle or play board games

For a laid-back Valentine’s Day, couples can celebrate by working on a puzzle. The activity means you’ll spend hours together and it will leave you feeling accomplished when it’s finished.

a group of people around a table: You can bond over a puzzle or board game (Stock) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited You can bond over a puzzle or board game (Stock)

Or, you can reveal your competitive sides and engage in some loving competition over a board game.

7. See a comedy show

Comedy shows are a perfect affordable date idea for couples who want to go out on Valentine’s Day but don’t want to spend a lot.

a crowd of people in a room: A comedy show is perfect for the day of love (Stock) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited A comedy show is perfect for the day of love (Stock)

With laughter and alcohol involved, a comedy show is a great choice if you don’t have the money to spend on play tickets.

Valentine's Day is February 14.

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