Valentine's Day is a special day in the calendar as it comes at a time when dark and uncaring gray skies appear to overshadow the finer things in life. But not on February the 14th. That day, couples relish their luck and, if you're fortunate enough to be in love, it can make you feel like you've briefly escaped the tyranny of everyday life. With that said, love is a costly game, and Valentine's Day heavily plays into that truism, with expensive dinners, weekend getaways, and lavish gifts now just as synonymous with the day as love itself.
But Valentine's Day needn't be so costly. With the right planning, not only can you save heaps of money, but you can also be more original and romantic. Here are 10 Valentine's Day date ideas that won't break the bank.
1. Visit a jazz club
If you've recently seen the film La La Land, you'll know how romanticly enticing a dimly-lit setting filled with soothing jazz music can be. The even better news is that you don't have to be Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling to enjoy a jazz club's perks.
What's more, they are usually pretty cheap, with entrance fees, a meal and a couple of drinks typically coming to no less than $60.
2. Get creative
There's nothing a partner (especially female ones) likes more than a beautiful reminder of the time you've spent with one another, so why not get creative and compile a list of photos and stick them into an ornately decorated book? You could even caption each photo with what the image means to you and why you included it.
However, if time isn't on your side, why not write a love letter? The letter could be no less than 200 words but have enough pathos-inducing sentiment to bring a tear to their eyes- especially if you make them read it as they await a homecooked meal.
3. Embrace the wonders of karaoke
Karaoke isn't everyone's cup of tea, and if you're not good with crowds or suffer from general shyness, then, of course, you may want to skip this entirely. But for those of a more gregarious nature, karaoke can be a brilliant activity, in particular on a day which celebrates love. So what better way to celebrate than by belting out love ballads to your significant other?
You could even do a duet together and sink into one another's eyes as the lyrics to Witney Houston's I Will Love You pour forth from your mouth.
4. An indoor picnic
You don't have to spend big on Valentine's Dinner, but at the same time, you want the meal to feel romantic so bearing in that mind it could be a very good idea to get imaginative and create a fashionable and cosy seating area in the living room with a hamper full delicious snacks and treats.
You could even play board games on the floor! Whatever you decide, it's certainly a beautiful (and cheap) alternative to dining at a busy, overpriced restaurant.
5. A trip to an open-air cinema
While February isn't a month typically associated with watching an outdoor movie, going to one, whether it's at a drive-in or a sit-down theater, can make for magical moments that can't usually be attained from fancy flowers and chocolate.
Granted, you can't talk much, but with the romantic setting, you'll certainly give yourself a shot at a great evening. Just make sure the movie is romantic. Casablanca always works a treat.
6. Repeat what you did on the very first date
What did you do the very first time you met him/her? If you went for drinks in that cheap pub minutes away from your house because you couldn't afford anywhere else, then, by all means, go there again, no matter how awful the place is. The nostalgia alone will make it incredibly heartfelt and beautiful.
However, if you went ice skating and one of you broke your leg, it might be best to avoid doing that again...
7. Compile a mixtape
Who doesn't like a romantic mixtape? They're songs composed especially for you and have a significant resonance to them which makes every song included a timeless classic. You could even design the front cover with a photo of the two of you.
Of course, it goes without saying that they should like the music. So don't just include songs with saccharine lyrics if you know he/she won't like them.
8. Order a takeout and watch a cheesy love story
Nicholas Sparks marathons are never easy for men, but coupled with great food and the realization that you are both looking at a love story that isn't half as good as yours, you could very well be smiling from ear-to-ear.
The best part of this option is that you don't have to dress up. You can simply wear your pajamas and snuggle up on a cold winter's evening while others spend hundreds on a sub-par meal while sporting clothes they probably won't wear again.
9. Take the day off work and go for a cycle
Depending on the weather and where you live, taking in the rural scenery via the aid of a bicycle can be a therapeutic experience. The added space and peace can allow you and your significant other ample time for reflection and the scenic beauty and limited amount of distractions could even make you grateful for what both of you have in a world that sees every human looking for the same thing you've already discovered.
You could even stop at a local coffee house on your way back and sit by a warm fireside as you hold hands over a hot mug of chow.
Possibly the most romantic option on this list, stargazing into the heavens with your lover by your side is bound to be a success. Depending on the weather, you could even venture further afield and set up camp while the other takes care of the picnic.
As Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday, however, it may be easier just to spend the rest of the evening stargazing after first going for food. If anything, it's a beautiful way to round off an evening.