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.
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.
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.
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 a 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.
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.
In addition to costing no money, you’ll have the chance to help others while spending time with your significant other.
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.
-Chelsea Ritschel for Independent