The pandemic is far from over, but Americans aren’t letting it get in the way of celebrating that special someone this Valentine’s Day. In fact, the National Retail Federation released a new survey that found over half of all U.S. consumers are still planning to celebrate this year’s love day, with spending expected to reach $21.8 billion on gifts and activities.
Regardless of what you're planning to do or buy, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to spend a lot of money to show that special someone just how much you care for them. A little creativity can go a long way in planning the perfect date without blowing your budget.
Here are seven frugal date ideas that pack a lot of romance without the pricey bill even during a pandemic.
1. Take a cooking class.
You don’t have to drop hundreds of dollars on an expensive restaurant meal to create a meaningful connection. Instead of going out, set up a table in your backyard and enjoy a home-cooked dinner under the stars. You can even take a virtual cooking class to learn how to make a new dish together. Stores like Sur La Table offer online cooking classes that start at just $29 per household.
2. DIY wine tasting.
Explore wine regions around the world without stepping foot outside your home with a DIY wine tasting in your dining room. Ask a wine expert from a local shop to help you choose a selection of new wines from places you and your partner have always wanted to visit, whether that be South Africa, New Zealand, or Spain. Don’t forget to include food pairings for a complete wine tasting experience and use this food and wine pairing guide on MatchFoodandWine.com for help.
3. Get lost in the great outdoors.
Some of the best dates are those that include an element of adventure, so lace up your sneakers and get outside with your date. Use the AllTrails App to find a nearby trail to explore and pack a picnic lunch with a bottle of bubbly to celebrate your summit.
If you’re really feeling like being fiscally responsible, you can even offset the cost of the date by actually earning money during your hike. With other couples traveling and wanting some alone time on Valentine’s Day, there’s a demand for dog sitters and walkers. Set your Rover.com profile to “available” and bring a dog along for the fun walk.
4. Go on a virtual museum tour.
Though traveling to a new city or country may not be an option this Valentine’s Day, you can take your date on a virtual tour of a museum or art gallery that’s somewhere on the other side of the world right from your living room. Sites like Google Arts and Culture offer free online tours of popular museums and art galleries, from the MoMa in New York City to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to the Ohara Museum of Art in Japan.
5. Host couple’s game night.
You may not be able to go on a group date with friends in person this Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun together. Instead, host a virtual game night to stay connected to the people who matter most while enjoying some laughs with your date.
Basic games like Pictionary, charades and trivia are easy to set up and play with groups over Zoom. Otherwise, use a virtual trivia app like QuizUp where you can play against your friends in real time. Don't forget to come up with small prizes for the winners like an IOU for a cocktail or an e-gift card for takeout.
6. Relax the day away.
Though most spas are closed due to safety concerns, you and your honey can enjoy a relaxing spa experience in your own home. Draw a bubble bath, light a few candles, play soothing music and pop a bottle of champagne to set the tone for a relaxing date. Setting out bathrobes and slippers for you and your partner, and having some other refreshments like cucumber-infused water as well as fruits and chocolates can make the experience feel extra special. Here are 23 other ways to create the perfect at-home spa.
7. Stream a comedy show.
Did you know, couples who spend time laughing together are more likely to enjoy strong, positive relationships? At least, that’s what one study found! So, this Valentine’s Day, what better way to spend the evening with your honey than cuddling up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and watching a romantic comedy on Netflix. Otherwise, many comedy clubs are hosting virtual comedy shows on Valentine’s Day. For instance, Laugh Factory in Los Angeles is presenting My Funny Valentine on February 14th and tickets go for $20 to $30 a pop.
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