Expensive flowers and heart-shaped confectioneries, candlelit steakhouses with steep price tags, and a luxurious yacht cruise that’s worth your half-month salary – are these date ideas the only way to express your love for your partner? I think not.

Here’s a hard to swallow pill: Valentine’s Day is popular for putting a dent in people’s pockets and convincing them that love comes with a price. But hey, we have monthly financial responsibilities to deal with. We also have other great things worth saving up for, like travel and moving to your dream home. Wasting too much time and money for your date ideas this Valentine’s Day isn’t the smartest choice.

If you want to be practical this Valentine’s Day while enjoying the occasion with the one you love, check out these 9 cost-saving date ideas.

1. Don’t buy presents – make them

Creativity pays off – your partner will surely enjoy your homemade cookies more than expensive chocolates bought from a fancy shop. He/she will also love your very own poetry more than vague greeting cards. Just sway them with your packaging and a heart-warming message.

2. Have a romantic picnic
Instead of splurging on a romantic dinner by candlelight, why not have a picnic? This time, add some twist to make it more romantic. Pick a location with a picturesque view. 

  • Think of a not-so-crowded grassy park with a scenic overlook where you can lay a blanket, sit to eat, and lay down to watch the stars.
  • If it’s not romantic enough, find a beach, bay, or riverfront, where it’s best to catch the setting sun or stargaze.
  • Hang out in parks with attractions, like fireworks, smart light installations, musical fountains, street performers, or free movie screening.
  • It can also be in a roof deck, where you can revel in the view of skyscrapers, slowly lighting up as the darkness falls. 

Next to bringing homemade snacks or takeout food, fancy up by packing some cheese, cold cut meats, fruit slices, chocolates, and a bottle of wine or champagne. 
3. Look for Valentine’s Day promos
Running out of date ideas? Don't dismiss the classic dinner date. A great number of fancy restaurants and bars offer promos for the V-day. From free desserts and drinks to discounted meals for two, you could have a romantic food trip without breaking the bank.
You just need to look for them. Follow your favorite restaurant’s social media pages and look out for upcoming deals. Sign up for coupon websites. Read food blogs and magazine websites, which are always up-to-date. Lastly, don’t forget to take advantage of the Happy Hour.
Tip: Chances are, you’re in for competition among other discount seekers. Book prior or arrive earlier to avoid the crowd.
4. Bring your own booze
Luxe dinner date ideas will never be complete without liquor. However, it’s saddening that a few gulps of red wine at a fine restaurant take up a large chunk of your bill.

If you’re going to eat out, let’s say in a nice restaurant or a hotel, bring your own drink. Some restaurants may charge a small corkage fee, but this is nothing compared to the steep prices of restaurant liquor.
5. Celebrate Valentine’s Day on a later date
Delay your date for a less busy day or night – going out on the 14th could be a bit of a nightmare. Expect all dining, accommodation, and entertainment locations to be jam-packed, which might mean bad service, hiked prices, limited options, and cramped and noisy spaces.

This Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday. Why not schedule your date on the next day, Friday, where you could stay up until late hours? Or spend the whole Saturday together?

6. Listen to live music
If you and your partner are music buffs, your date ideas may include hunting for music festivals or free outdoor concerts featuring your favorite musicians or genre. Isn’t it fun to watch your favorite artists while drinking beer?

You may also dine at restaurants and bars with live entertainment, including bands and solo performers, DJs, and spoken poetry performers.

7. Devote time and money on fun activities
Do something different this V-day. Instead of spending a lot of time and money on a fancy restaurant, check out other exciting activities you and your honey may enjoy.

Go bowling or karting. Escape an escape room together. Visit arcade-type places. Have fun in the shooting range. If you’re more of a chill couple who loves arts, check out some museums, galleries, theater shows, and restaurants with jazz or acoustic bands. You may also check out night markets with a wide range of food offerings.

8. Relive your childhood

Sometimes, the best dates are the ones that remind you of your childhood. Visit amusement parks and carnivals. Forget adult stuff and have fun like kids. Enjoy the vivid lights and sounds. Take as much ride as you can. Stroll hand in hand, while enjoying cheap hotdogs.

Finish it off by taking a ride on a Ferris Wheel. It may sound cheesy, but who cares? You’re enjoying the company of each other and it’s the only thing that matters.

9. Set up your date night at home
Forget these date ideas and, just for once, find comfort at home. It’s not so bad, especially if you’re having a great connection while cooking dinner, baking desserts, and dining in your balcony (with candlelight).

Watch a movie afterward while hugging on the couch, jam with your guitar, or play a game, like the classic Monopoly or modern ones like Cards Against Humanity.

Tips: Set the mood by dimming the lights and incorporating candles, flowers, and great music. Have a slow dance – like the one you did at the prom. It’s also the best time to beat the chilly weather and cuddle by the fireplace (which may lead to something more intimate).

Author Bio: Mina Natividad is a creative writer for West HQ Venues Western Sydney, an iconic one-stop destination for world-class dining, entertainment, accommodation, and leisure experiences in the heart of Western Sydney. This free-spirited damsel loves writing about lifestyle, mainly food, entertainment, travel, and health and fitness.
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