10 Ridiculously-Cheap Valentine’s Day Plans For The Broke And Lazy

Written by me — currently, the broke and lazy. Well, maybe not lazy, and maybe not broke, but definitely on a tight budget, and not at all interested in an expensive, extravagant Valentine’s-Day-production.

I’m on a bit of a spending freeze at the moment (for many reasons), and that means a few different things. First of all, I’m only spending on very practical things, which means that I am giving my boyfriend cereal bars as a Valentine’s day gift. Second, it means that I’m lying pretty low right now. My boyfriend is a gem, and he’d of course pay for me if we wanted to go out and do anything on any night, especially Valentine’s day, because, you know, that’s the day couples go out on ~the town~. But our desire to save money and not pay $75 each for a shitty prix fixe menu surrounded by a ton of people is keeping us in, cooking homemade Chinese food together, as we prefer to do when we want a special date night. Here are a few other ideas that we are using to enjoy a special day tomorrow (and basically what we do any time we want to enjoy a special day together).

1. Make a themed meal.

I like to go all-out and do a multi-course themed meal, consisting of appetizers, the main course, dessert, and some sort of beverage pairing. It makes it feel more like a special date to make a whole night of the meal, rather than just cooking a regular dinner.

2. Catch up on TV.

Every great romantic couple has a “show” that is “their show”, but takes years to watch in full because it is impossible to coordinate two schedules to allow for binge-watching TV at the same time. So, complete with very important TV-watching snacks, like popcorn and gummy bears, this makes an excellent romantic date. This is especially important for the overworked folks who would actually feel like it is a true luxury to be spending hours watching TV, and not as good an idea for people like me, who basically professionally Netflix-watch for a good portion of the day every day.

3. Have a baking project.

I can’t say no to pink baked goods, so Valentine’s day is something I love because it is the only time of year they are extremely socially acceptable, if not totally normal.

Bake disgusting Funfetti cupcakes with neon pink icing, and enjoy that each bite brings back sweet, sugary memories of your 2nd grade classroom parties.

4. Go to your favorite cheap AF place.

One of the best Valentine’s days I can remember was when an old boyfriend of mine took me to Chipotle on the big day, and we sat in my car in the parking lot of a plaza full of restaurants watching everyone filter in while we ate our burritos. Our date cost under $20, and we had a great time goofing around in the car and not having to curb our 19-year-old behavior for a sophisticated restaurant environment.

5. Do shit you have to do, but do it together.

The worst parts of my week include grocery shopping, cleaning the bathroom, and folding laundry. These activities would be way better with company. It isn’t a terrible idea to use the time you set aside for a ~Valentine’s day date~ to just do all the not-fun shit you’ve been putting off as a team, so you can have fun doing it and actually cross something off of your to-do list.

6. Tour a brewery.

If you love beer but also don’t really have money, go to a brewery tour. They’re usually free, and you’ll get free beer samples too. Then go home and drink the cheap stuff you already have. Yaaaassss.

7. Have a “snow day”.

Snow sucks, but the best part about it is that you’re basically forced to stay in your home all day doing nothing. I can’t predict a snowstorm for February 14th, but I can say that staying in your pajamas, eating comfort food, drinking booze, lighting candles, and watching movies is the best possible way to spend a day with your loved one. This is exactly what Drew and I would be doing if I didn’t have class tomorrow (since he actually has the day off from work for once). Also, a very wise woman named Chelsea Fagan once said (last week) that “Calories don’t count during snowstorms.” I take this seriously.

8. Do the star thing.

My favorite place to be is outside, but during this time of year, it is hard to comfortably do that. But some of the greatest dates I’ve had involved being wrapped like a burrito (don’t mind how much I’m talking about burritos in this post) in many layers of blankets, and sitting outside drinking beer and enjoying the view. This is, however, in Connecticut, where you can see a shit ton of stars on almost any given night. So maybe not great for city people, but you guys can look at buildings I guess?

9. Go for coffee.

Wintertime in a coffee shop is one of life’s most magical pleasures. You get to sit inside and listen to weird café music while sipping a hot beverage, and look outside at all the plebs trudging through the snow to do other shit. Also, if you’re super thrifty and don’t usually spend your money on takeout coffee (i.e. all TFD-readers, wink wink) then it’ll feel like an insanely special treat to spend $3 on a latte. A $6 date — who can beat that? It honestly sounds like the ultimate luxury right now to get a delicious cup of Starbucks, considering the fact that I’ve been avoiding spending on those types of things for a while now.

10. Don’t celebrate Valentine’s day at all. But buy all the 50% off candy the next day.

Needs no explanation. Save your date money and buy a lot of Reese’s cups shaped like hearts. You won’t regret it.

Mary writes every day for TFD, and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at mary@thefinancialdiet.com!

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  • Frita Carrio

    How many times can you use “shit” in one article? Let me count the ways!

  • Mary

    Mary I always love your writing and this article was one of my favorites! (Even though I am single AF this Valentine’s Day…the only one of these ideas I’ll be participating in is #10) I cracked up at my desk when I got to the part about going to Chipotle so as to not have to curb your 19 yr old behavior for a fancy restaurant.