12 Frugal Valentine’s Day Ideas If You Plan to Go Out

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Want to go out for Valentine's Day, but don't have a lot of cash? Here are 12 thrifty Valentine activities that are creative and fun!

It can be hard to celebrate Valentine’s Day and keep it under budget. Maybe that’s why many couples give up the whole V-Day thing after a few years of marriage. But it’s super important to do something special with your hubby – not only does it strengthen your relationship,  it’s just plain fun!

Here are a few of my favorite frugal Valentine’s Day ideas for planning an inexpensive {and romantic} outing:

1. If you have kids, make sure your babysitting plans are solidified now. No one wants to be stuck in a last minute scramble to find someone suitable to babysit, and let’s face it, you probably don’t need another excuse not to go out! If babysitting just isn’t something you can afford right now, put these babysitting vouchers on your wish list for your birthday, Mother’s Day, and Christmas. Then get ready to cash them in!

2. Skip the Valentine’s Day card. I don’t buy cards from the store that often, and even so, I prefer to scout the dollar store or buy in bulk from Current Catalog. If you’re going to be spending money anyway, there’s no need to waste it on a $5.00 card. Make your own or skip the card all-together.

3. Sign up for restaurant email lists. Practically any restaurant website will give you a coupon in exchange for an email address. Search out your favorites and join their list. Chances are, you’ll get coupons from at least one of them sent to your email right away, and definitely before the big day.

4. Eat out on a different day. Heavy Valentine’s Day traffic combined with noisy, crowded restaurants is not appealing to me at all. I’d much rather celebrate on another night of the week in a quieter atmosphere. But….if you can’t resist going out on the day, then….

5. Go out for a Valentine’s Day lunch. Lunch will almost always be less crowded than dinner, and much, much cheaper. They might even have a V-Day special!

6. Split a meal. Most restaurant entrees are over 1,000 calories a piece, which means you probably shouldn’t eat everything on your plate anyway. Those portion sizes can feed a person 2 or 3 times at most. Splitting a meal eliminates leftovers, which means less food sitting uneaten in your fridge, and more room for dessert!

7. Catch a matinee or visit a discount movie theater. Cinema savers generally have the same movies that play in a regular theater only a couple weeks after it premieres. Sneak some snacks and water bottles to save on exorbitant theater food costs. I even got through with ice cream once!

8. Scan your local newspaper’s website or event calendar. If the classic dinner and a movie isn’t your thing, a unique outing might be a welcome reprieve. You’ll be able to find lots of free and cheap activities, especially if you live in a bigger city.

9. Grab takeout with a twist. Take out will be much cheaper than a sit down restaurant, and you can still make it pretty special. Snag some fancy glasses and your own choice of bubbly, then sit (in the car if it’s cold!) and watch the sunset or the stars come out.

10. Spend time outside. If you live somewhere warm, have a picnic in the park or on the beach. Take a hike through some local trails. If it’s cold, bundle up for a walk downtown and visit some shops you drive by everyday, but never have time to stop at.

11. Find the best chocolate chip cookie ever.If you want a day activity, pick four or five eating establishments or bakeries and buy a cookie from each one. Keep track of your stats and see if you both agree which is the best! We managed to do this under $10 dollars.

12. Make a Barnes & Noble book date. Swing by a Starbucks first, then browse the selections at a local bookstore. Keep your phone handy to jot down books you want to read, then check the library or buy them cheaper off Amazon later!

One you start brainstorming ideas, you can find lots of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget. All it takes is a little creativity, and a lot of fun!

How do you save money on Valentine’s Day?

If you’d rather stay in for Valentine’s Day, here are 12 frugal ideas for celebrating at home.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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  1. Going out to celebrate on V-day is a big deal since my birthday is 2 days after on the 16th which is usually harder for us b/c its usually a weeknight & we are tired/&/or have 1 of our 3 kids to get to an activity. Our anniversary is on 12/31 so we always have to compete with the New Year’s eve crowds too. When our kids we younger, we did a lot of Chinese food in with the family and a movie. Now I prefer going out and refuse to cook on either day.

    1. My husband always playfully “complains” about his birthday being forgotten because it’s 2 weeks after Christmas – I’m sure you feel that even more as an adult right next to Valentines day and with your anniversary on New Years Eve!! I hope your husband makes your Valentines day AND your birthday great this year!! {You can even show him this comment as a gentle hint if you like 😉 }

  2. Love these idea’s. This year its on a Saturday so I’m think Friday night movie with our own snacks or a beautiful lunch on Sunday.

  3. I love these ideas! I never go out to dinner on actual valentines day, not only is it so busy and loud like you mentioned but the idea of being at a restaurant with a million other couples is not appealing or romantic to me at all. We usually celebrate the weekend before or after and it’s nice because instead of everyone celebrating that day it’s just us which to me makes it more special. Love the barnes and noble idea, haven’t done that in a while and its always so much fun!

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