Can you believe it’s Valentine’s Day next week already?! We haven’t made plans quite yet. Since we’re on an aggressive budget to pay off our student loans, though, we won’t be able to allocate a whole lot of money to celebrate.

But guess what?! Not having a lot of money to spend on Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t spend the day celebrating in a meaningful way!

Here are 10 ideas of how you can spend an incredible day with your loved one without breaking your budget.

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10 Cheap Date Ideas Budget

1 – Camp Out in Your Living Room

Do you remember how much fun you used to have as a kid building blanket forts?! Try building one now with your significant other and see what you can come up with!

If blanket forts aren’t your thing, and you have a camping tent, why not set it up in your living room for the night? Dan and I did this a few years ago and had a lot of fun with it. We watched movies from the door of our tent, ate dinner, and even made s’mores!


2 – Get Outside

Spending time outside can be both playful and romantic!

We know not everyone will be able to enjoy the outdoors this time of year. If it’s anywhere above freezing, though, push yourselves to get outdoors!

Take a long hike in the snow. Or go snowshoeing! Then come back to your house for some (spiked) hot cocoa.

Buy a cheap sled or tube and find some hills!

Take a hike along a nearby river or forest preserve and watch the sunset.


3 – Romantic Night In

If you’ve never exchanged handwritten, heartfelt messages before, this Valentine’s Day is a great time to start! If you’ve have, it’s a great opportunity to dig those up and read them aloud to each other!

Dan and I wrote letters to each other for the morning of our wedding day and we love to re-read these on occasion! In addition, I wrote in a journal to him throughout our engagement and gave it to him as part of his wedding gift.

He loved the journal so much and told me on our honeymoon that it was the best gift I could have given to him! Don’t underestimate how meaningful this FREE gift idea is!

….Ok, the journal probably ran me about $10 at Walmart, but you could easily write your note on any paper you have lying around.

Another idea for a romantic night? Making a home-cooked meal together and having a candle-lit dinner. Cheesy? Maybe. But hey, lighting candles will set this dinner apart from any other meal you’ve had together this week!

A cool, unique candle for your candle-lit dinner can even double as a gift for your significant other! Check out these awesome candles for under $20.


4 – Back Massages

If you’re on a tight budget, getting a couple’s massage might not be on the table this year. So why not give each other massages at home?!

Massage oil runs about $10 at Walmart, Target, or Amazon, and no, you do not have to be a professional masseuse for this.

If you don’t feel confident about giving a great back massage, there are a TON of videos on YouTube for some quick tips!


5 – Gift of Quality Time

Have you ever thought about giving the gift of quality time? Shut your phone, TV, and computer off and have completely uninterrupted time together for Valentine’s Day.

This could be for an entire day, this could be just in the evening when you’re celebrating, for a few hours, whatever! Having distraction-free time together will do wonders for you and your relationship!

I recently shut my phone off for 6 hours one Saturday afternoon, and I honestly don’t know why I haven’t done that before. I felt my anxieties melt away almost instantly and kind of felt liberated to just be fully present in the moment with Dan.

Have you heard of the book, 5 Love Languages, where they talk about Quality Time? If you haven’t, it’s a fantastic book to share with your spouse for Valentine’s Day. It’s only $10!


6 – Make Something Sweet Together

Candy is great, but you know what’s even better? Making something sweet TOGETHER!!

Unless you’re like Dan and I. Hah! Fun little tid bit about our marriage: Dan usually can’t handle me in the same kitchen as him. Mostly because I goof around too much for him to concentrate on the recipe, so I get the boot most of the time! Needless to say, this date idea is not for us 😉

Anyway, if you like being in the kitchen together or haven’t tried it yet, how about making your favorite dessert together? Chances are, you have a lot of the baking staples already in your home, so picking up the rest of the ingredients at the store won’t cost much.

Here are some delicious ideas from Just A Taste.


7 – Take a Day Trip

The great thing about a day trip is you have a chance to get away, explore somewhere new, and you don’t have to spend money on a hotel!

Do a little research on your current area. What types of landmarks, state parks, cities, or tourist destinations are within a 3 hour radius? My favorite site to search for activities or ideas for an area is TripAdvisor.

This is actually something Dan and I are thinking about doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Arches National Park is 3 hours from where we are currently, and we have been wanting to get over there for a while now.

Best part? Since we have our National Park pass, it will cost us nothing to get in! All we’d have to pay for is gas to get there! Who thinks we should do it?!


8 – Re-live your Year in a Photo Album

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been into scrapbooking ever since I was in high school! I’m not kidding, during high school, I would basically spend my entire paycheck on scrapbooking supplies at Archiver’s….

Don’t do that.

For the past 5 years, though, I’ve been using Shutterfly to create scrapbooks digitally and I make one for every calendar year. I love looking back on our memories!

Confession: I haven’t printed ANY of them out yet. Meaning these scrapbooks have cost me ZERO dollars.

So make a digital photo album for your sweetie this year!

Sit together and spend a while on Valentine’s Day going through the pictures of your travels, any big events throughout the year, silly pictures you’ve taken, etc. and reminiscing about the year! You can view it full-size picture mode on your laptop or screen share it to your TV.

And when you DO have it in your budget, you can get them printed out!


9 – Photoshoot

Speaking of photos, why not spend an hour or two this Valentine’s Day doing a photo shoot with your love?! No, you don’t need to hire a professional photographer. Set the self-timer on your phone and get ready to take some fun shots with your love!

To make taking photos of yourselves (that AREN’T selfies) easier, Dan and I ordered an inexpensive tripod with Bluetooth remote that has come in handy more times than one! It only cost us $10 on Amazon!


10 – Volunteer Somewhere

If you spend any amount of time volunteering, you know how great it feels to donate your time to help somebody else out. Doing something meaningful together can help bring you together as a couple, too!

Why not spend your evening doing something awesome for your community?!

Here are some ideas that you might be able to find in your area:

The Humane Society of the United States

Feed My Starving Children

Volunteer Match list of Valentine’s Day Volunteer Opportunities

Hope this helps! And happy (early) Valentine’s Day! If you have any other ideas on ways to spend the day, please share! We’d love to hear them.



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