While you may not want to feel like a cheapskate on Valentine’s Day, there are other things to consider – such as sticking to your budget and not adding to personal debt . It is important to make your spouse or partner feel special on this day, but sometimes personal spending limitations can put a damper on the best of intentions.
Fortunately, the Internet makes it easy to research inexpensive (and even free) entertainment options in your area, as well as low-cost, high-quality restaurants. With some planning, you should be able to enjoy a memorable evening that won’t leave you in the red until payday.
Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Date Options
1. Dine In Before Going Out
When planning an evening that incorporates a meal and other activities, such as a concert or a movie, think about eating at home before going out. Not only will you save a substantial amount of money, but you get to control the atmosphere, allowing you and your date to relax and dine without having to worry about crowds, lost reservations, or overworked waiters.
2. Avoid Fixed Price Meals
Many restaurants promote special fixed price, multi-course meals to Valentine’s Day couples. While it’s understandable that a restaurant would want to reduce the workload of its kitchen staff by encouraging customers to order the same meal, it doesn’t hold that these meals are a better value than ordering à la carte, particularly if you and your date aren’t big eaters.
Have a look at the restaurant’s regular menu and compare costs and offerings – you may not be saving much by going with the fixed price. Be sure to also pay attention to the portions offered in the special fixed price meal, as sometimes these meals “for two” only include one appetizer or dessert for you and your date to share.
3. Consider Using Coupons
Using restaurant coupons on a first date or at the beginning of a relationship can be awkward, but couples in long- and medium-term relationships are usually comfortable enough with one another to acknowledge that they’d like to save a little money. If you have coupons for restaurants, bars, or various attractions (such as movies, plays, or concerts), don’t be afraid to use them. Just be sure that they are valid on Valentine’s Day, as some businesses restrict coupon use on holidays.
4. Splurge on Cocktails or Desser
If you choose to eat a light main course or dine at home, you can free up your budget so that you can enjoy some special craft cocktails, champagne, or scrumptious desserts as part of your evening. Many restaurants will be happy to seat you and your date at the bar so that you can enjoy a bit of luxury on Valentine’s Day, particularly if you show up later in the evening (after 9pm or so). Bar seating is also a great way to get a seat at a popular restaurant that’s otherwise completely booked.
5. Enjoy Some Budget Entertainment
If you can’t afford pricy theater or concert tickets, don’t despair. Quality entertainment for a few bucks (or nothing at all) can be found in most areas. What you choose to do depends on both your budget and your interests.
In some places, museums and cultural centers may be open late, offering exhibits and performances either for free or at very reasonable ticket prices. Coffeehouses, improv clubs, fringe theater companies, and local bars may also be running their normal program of entertainment that you can enjoy for a minimal cover charge and the price of a drink or two.
Other options include art galleries, libraries showing classic films, and wine, beer, or food tastings offered at gourmet markets. Follow it up with a long walk through a nice part of town and your frugal, but thoughtful, evening will end on a beautifully high note.
Source: Money crashers