15+ Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day on a Budget

True love is priceless, but Valentine’s Day gifts are not. So this February 14, consider some of these ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a Budget.

Valentine’s Day on a Budget

As a poor college student in a new but serious relationship, I know the pressures of wanting to show your love without breaking the bank. Thankfully, there are plenty of thoughtful gift ideas and date nights that are price-conscious but will make your Valentine’s Day special.

Here are some Valentine’s Day on a Budget so you can enjoy your special day!

What Can I Do on Valentine’s Day Without Spending Money?

Valentine’s Day bills can pile up fast. Luckily, there is a plethora of free date ideas that can also double as gifts! Knowing what love language(s) your partner responds to is the key to designing the perfect gift on a budget. The five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts.

First and foremost, everyone feels every love language to some degree; just some speak louder to others. A love language is how someone receives and expresses love. For example, someone whose love language is words of affirmation appreciates verbal expressions of love. Someone whose love language is quality time feels loved when they receive undivided attention.

coffee date Valentine's Day on a budget
There are many ways to show someone how much you love them.

Physical touch as a love language is displayed by people who feel a connection from physical contact, such as cuddling or a hug. People with acts of service as a love language appreciate selfless acts and believe actions speak louder than words. Finally, someone with the love language of receiving gifts enjoys tangible tokens of love. People with this love language appreciate the thought behind gifts, not the price.

Depending on your partner’s love language, or combination of love languages, you can pick the perfect free gift or date from the list below!

There is also a secret sixth love language. Read our list to find out what it is!

1. Flowers

Purchasing flowers can quickly get expensive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get flowers for your special someone. If you have a garden or a friend with a garden, you can pick your own bouquet. The act of picking beautiful flowers adds something extra special.

Tips: If you have one, you can use a mason jar as a rustic flower vase.

Love Language: Receiving gifts and acts of service

Valentine's Day on a Budget Hand Picked Flowers
Photo by @haggispiper

2. Scavenger Hunt

Another affordable gift on Valentine’s Day is to plan a scavenger hunt for your sweetheart to special spots during your relationship, such as where you had your first kiss.

Love Language: Quality time and acts of service

3. Love Notes

A love note date on Valentine’s Day requires some advanced planning. We advise setting aside at least one or two days to write the notes. Then, on Valentine’s Day, you sit down over a special meal or hot chocolate and read them to each other.

Tip: If you’re looking for ideas for kids, this is a great option! There are so many fun Valentine’s Day crafts for toddlers you can try.

Love Language: Words of affirmation and quality time

Valentine's Day on a Budget Love Notes
Write thoughtful and personal love notes to read aloud to each other.

4. Playlist

Many, including myself, consider music as the sixth love language. I show and receive love when sharing and listening to music. If your loved one loves music, consider complying all your favorite songs into a playlist. Then, spend the evening listening to it with them over dessert. Perhaps some chocolate-covered strawberries.

Love Language: Music, quality time, physical touch (if you dance together), and acts of service

Valentine's Day on a Budget Playlist
Create a playlist of your favorite songs to listen to together.

5. Movie Night and Dinner

It is hard to beat a classic movie night date and a homemade meal on Valentine’s Day. Especially in today’s day and age, where there are so many romantic movies you can stream instantly. If your girl or guy likes to cuddle and spend quality time together, this is very safe as far as cheap Valentine’s Day ideas go. Also, if you have special meals, your significant other will appreciate the act of cooking a romantic dinner.

Love Language: Quality time, physical touch, and acts of service

Valentine's Day on a Budget Movie Night
Watch your favorite movie together while eating dinner.

6. Sunset (or Sunrise for Our Early Birds)

If your lover loves the outdoors and spending quality time together, there is nothing more romantic than watching the sunset. However, if you and your partner are early birds, why not beat the crowds and start Valentine’s Day by watching the sunrise? Pack your favorite snacks and some hot chocolate for added fun.

Love Language: Quality time

Valentine's Day on a Budget Sunset Sunrise
Photo by @_missjessenia

7. Photo Date

If you want to spend quality time on Valentine’s Day with your significant other, look no further than a photo date! A photo date is when you spend the evening going through photos you have taken of your relationship. It’s extremely easy and one of the best first Valentine’s Day ideas to remember your time together. With iPhoto and other technology, you can easily compile these memories in digital photo albums.

Love Language: Words of affirmation and quality time

Valentine's Day on a Budget Photo Date
Take time to reminisce about the past by looking at photos from your relationship.

8. Karaoke

Is music a love language of your partner? If it is, I can’t think of a more fun idea than some at-home karaoke! You can make it a competition and even have a double date with friends to enhance the experience.

Love Language: Music and quality time

Valentine's Day on a Budget Karaoke
Go to a karaoke bar and have some fun.

9. Hiking

Hiking is one of the best Valentine’s Day ideas on a budget. Being outside is known to boost happiness, and being together is great if your partner enjoys quality time. Also, what’s a better gift than the view from a mountaintop and time together?

Love Language: Quality time

10. Dancing

Valentine’s Day is about connecting with your partner; dancing is a great way to do that. Whether you choose salsa, swing, or waltz, plenty of YouTube videos exist to guide you through the motions.

Love Language: Physical touch and quality time

What Are Some Fun Valentine’s Day Ideas?

The free ideas presented above are a blast on Valentine’s Day! However, here are a few more of my personal favorite budget-friendly date ideas. I have had great success with most of these dates and plan to combine a couple of these this Valentine’s Day!

1. Pajama Movie Night

Tell your girl or guy to bring some comfy pjs, grab a blanket, and then pick a romantic movie. Grab hot cocoa, popcorn, or some of your favorite snacks to make the evening even more special.

2. Recreate Your First Date

For me, this would involve going out to lunch at Panda Express. I love this date idea because it is personal and unique to every couple.

Valentine's Day on a Budget Hand Holding
Photo by @marky_nov

3. Picnic Lunch Date (Indoor Picnics Work, too)

Who doesn’t love a picnic? Also, you and your partner can tag team, bringing different food items and snacks. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, move the party indoors.

Tip: Bring a deck of cards with you to prevent dull moments.

Valentines Day on a Budget Picnic
Photo by @sooyoumean

4. Ice Skating

Not every gift comes in a gift box, and one of the best Valentine’s Day gift ideas is to feature your relationship on ice!

Tip: Ice skating is another great opportunity to grab a cup of hot cocoa.

Valentine's Day on a Budget Ice Skating
Ice skating is a wonderful date to start holding hands.

5. Board Game Night

My girlfriend loves board games, and they have led to some of our most wholesome moments. I also met my girlfriend over a game of chess, so I am just a tad biased. You can either pick out a game and gift it to your significant other or pick out a personal favorite to spend the night playing.

Valentine's Day on a Budget Board Games
Photo by @thegametable

How Do I Send a Valentine if I’m on a Budget?

There are three primary ways to show a special someone love on Valentine’s Day without being physically present. The first is to send flower bouquets with their favorite seasonal blooms. Keep in mind you’ll get more bang for your buck if you select in-season flowers that aren’t necessarily roses.

The second is to send a gift. Consumable or handmade gifts like chocolates, a gift basket, or an edible fruit bouquet can all be thoughtful solutions that don’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money. But they can also add up quickly.

But if you’re looking for the most economical solution, take advantage of our digital age. Send a thoughtful message to your loved one- via texting, email, or even a video chat.

With the help of free software, you can send free digital gifts that are sure to please your significant other. For example, the tools in Canva are more than enough to create a lovely digital photo collage with your favorite memories. I made one for my girlfriend in less than 30 minutes, and we both loved it!

Valentine's Day on a Budget Canva Collage
An example of a Canva photo collage template.

Another cute idea is the flowers emoji joke. You send a message to someone you care about using the flower bouquet emoji and say, “Surprise! I got you flowers.”

A Word of Wisdom: Include a laugh-out-loud or silly emoji if you try the flower emoji text on Valentine’s Day. It will not go over well if your significant other misses the joke and actually thinks you got them flowers!

Cheers to Valentine’s Day on a Budget!

Valentine’s Day is about love and your significant other, the ultimate gifts. However, who doesn’t love a romantic Valentine’s day date? Hopefully, this article showed you how to make Valentine’s Day special on a budget!

Which Valentine’s Day dates or gifts are you most excited to try out this year? Let us know on social #getfamilyapp. 

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