Are you looking for a romantic way to say “I love you more than anything in the world” without saying “I love you more than anything, but saving money comes to a close second?”
I know just the cheap date, err...I mean, thoughtful, budget-friendly outing that will woo the socks off your special someone this Valentine’s Day.
Here are 10 Valentine’s Day date ideas that are practically free.
Sea of hearts
Grab whatever paper scraps you have at your disposal. The more colorful, the better. Then make dozens and dozens of origami hearts with wings.
Hang them with string from the ceiling or hide them in places only he or she will find.
Cupid tip: Write secret messages, inside jokes, or pet names on each heart.
Collect as many makeup supplies as you can from the bathroom and track down stunning images online to use as a guide.
Take turns painting masterpieces on each other.
Cupid tip: Cheeks are a nice place to start, but this activity does not have to be limited to one area.
Create a string of clues that will retell the story of when you fell in love or met for the first time.
Perhaps you’ll lead him or her to a significant location for you two, or end with a small present.
Cupid tip: Clues can include photos of you from when you first started dating.
Borrow a projector from work and hang a white sheet on your fence or hedge. Set out chairs, blankets, a heating lamp (if you have it) and invite your special someone to a private screening of his or her favorite movie.
Have hot snacks on hand to keep the temperature warm and rising. Hot cocoa, hot toddies, and steaming soup are a few ideas.
Cupid tip: IMDB has a list of the top romantic movies.
Take turns asking questions each of you has to answer. One thing you want to do before you die? Stupidest thing you ever did? Place you’d most like to visit?
You’ll be surprised how much you learn!
Cupid tip: Make this game an annual Valentine’s Day tradition and save the complete questionnaires in a binder so you can look back on them each year.
Floral arrangements are pricey and barely last a week. Even if you buy a potted plant, it’s not guaranteed to stick around more than a month.
But flowers made out of paper will last years. I still have the paper rose my husband gave me the first Valentine’s Day we were dating.
Learn how to make paper flowers from Tipnut, which has 50+ flower tutorials and templates.
Cupid tip: For a personal touch, spritz the flowers with the perfume or cologne of your choice.
Valentine’s Day swap
Invite friends over for a Valentine’s Day spin on a white elephant gift exchange. Set a dollar limit or tell everyone to pick gently used gifts from around the house.
Have each person wrap their gift, but don’t label who it is from. Then draw names from a hat to determine who gets to open a new present or “steal” one that has already been opened.
Each present can be “stolen” twice before reaching its final owner. The most popular present is never what you expect.
Cupid tip: Ask guests to bring gag romantic gifts — the funnier, the better.
Maybe you aren’t musical or well-read. Who cares? That makes your artistic feat that much more impressive.
If she appreciates brevity, go for a haiku. If you’re feeling ambitious, attempt a 14-line sonnet.
Does your sweet someone appreciate humor? Pen a limerick. Push past “Roses are red…” and tell him or her how you really feel.
Cupid tip: Include details from your life as a couple: where you met, your first date, your wedding day, etc.
Take a shot at YouTube fame as part of a flash mob — when strangers break into a seemingly random dance routine without warning in public.
Practice in secret and then surprise her when you are part of the performance. Find a flash mob near you at flashmobamerica.com.
Cupid tip: Have a friend on standby to video or take pictures of her response.
Sneak out in the middle of the night – like you did in high school – to watch the stars.
If you have a convertible or moonroof, no need to pack blankets or hot snacks. While there are no meteor showers expected until April, the full cast of night-time twinklers never fails to amaze. The darker the location, the better.
Cupid tip: Make an old-fashioned mixtape (again, just like high school!) to play while you are star gazing.
Julia Scott writes the freebie and savings blog, BargainBabe.com.