Everyday Money

14 Budget Friendly Valentine’s Day Ideas

January 28, 2020

While many will splurge this Valentine’s Day (the average American spends $161.96 on Valentines day, according to the National Retail Federation), why not look for simple and affordable ways to show your appreciation for your loved ones and celebrate in a way that doesn’t break the bank? Read on for 14 budget friendly (Wisconsin focused!) Valentine’s Day ideas to try this February 14th:

  1. Have your date at a local coffee shop or bakery (after all, most can agree that the delicious desserts are the best part of a meal right?!) Seek out a café or bakery with a comfortable atmosphere and enough space for you and your valentine to sit down and have a conversation.
  2. Star gazing. Yes, lying on blanket outside may not work in the middle of February in Wisconsin; however, the Milwaukee Public Museum allows you to do some inside star gazing together during their Valentine’s Day special “Romancing the Stars”.  Couples can embark on an out-of-this-world date at the Planetarium, complete with a romantic tour of the universe and a look at which star clusters are actually “constellations of love.” Attendees will receive a red rose and box of chocolates to complete their perfect evening.
  3. Movie Night.  A trip to the movie theater can add up quick for the pair of tickets and snacks. Have a movie marathon at home for just a few dollars.  Rent your favorite movie off of Amazon, pick one up from Redbox or even at your local library. Don’t forget the popcorn and heart shaped candy!
  4. Dine in & cook together.  Open up a bottle of wine, put on your favorite music, dance around and start cooking.  Pinterest can be a great spot to go for a new recipes, or YouTube for online cooking classes!  By dining in you’ll save money and skip the crowds. Want to make it really feel like a special date night? Dress up for your dinner. Bonus: Make your dinner at home a themed dinner. Watching 50 First Dates when accompanied by a pineapple upside down cake or watching two pups fall in love during The Lady and the Tramp while eating a plate of homemade spaghetti and meatballs is much more fun. Click here for some Romantic Movie Menus
  5. Create a Scavenger Hunt. This can be made into a family or couple activity. You don’t even have to leave your house (even though you can to make it more adventurous).  At the end of the hunt, exchange little gifts, cards or baked goods that you’ve purchased within a pre-agreed upon budget.
  6. Wine tasting. If you and your Valentine love wine, look for an affordable wine tasting in your area. Many wine shops will host tastings for free and the experts can even point you in the direction of the best affordable wines the shop has to offer. Looking to be even more cost effective? Have a wine tasting at home!
  7. Bowling. While this may not seem like the most romantic date night at first, after a fun night of friendly competition, you may find it’s the kind of fun you and your valentine were looking for.
  8. For active couples, try the Cupid Shuffle Race. Get out there and conquer the cold with the perfect jog with the ones you love.
  9. Ice Skating, sledding and hot cocoa. Valentine’s Day in Wisconsin is always pretty chilly. Why not use it to your advantage and bundle up to go sledding or ice skating with your valentine? Many sledding and ice skating rinks have a lodge or coffee shop nearby to sip on some hot cocoa after.
  10. Do a little painting.  Channel your inner Picasso with a little paint, a little wine (or soda), and a canvas! Splash Studio in Milwaukee even offers a week of Valentine’s Day sessions.
  11. Arcade Night.  All you need is quarters for an awesome time at an arcade.
  12. Be a tourist in your own town. Not only can this be inexpensive, chances are, that the place you live probably has a lot to offer that you have never even noticed! You and your Valentine can spend the day taking pictures and discovering. Try some new places!
  13. Don’t forget your furry friends this valentine’s day!  Bake some dog treats together and take your furry loved ones to the dog park. 
  14. Volunteer together. Dedicate this Valentine’s day to helping others, whether it’s serving meals at your local food pantry, animal shelter or hanging out with senior citizens – not only does this benefit the community, it also costs nothing. Spread the love!

Remember, in the end, Valentine’s Day is really about spending time with the loved ones in your life!

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