No extravagant romantic getaway in your plans for this Valentine’s Day? You are not alone. With the state of the economy and strained budgets nearly everywhere, many are scaling back on holidays and celebrations. If you are on a tighter budget, that does not mean that you need to skip Valentine’s Day-it simply means that you will need to be creative in your planning. There are a number of free or inexpensive Valentine’s Day activities that will be so much fun you won’t even realize you are cutting back!
Prepare Your Valentine’s Day Dinner at Home as a Couple. You have to eat anyway, right? If you check your local grocers for sales and specials in the days or weeks before Valentine’s Day, you can prepare an amazing meal at a fairly low cost. Plan the meal as a couple from start to finish. Decide the menu together, shop for the ingredients and share the kitchen duty. If she is generally on kitchen duty, then watching him cut and chop can be a lot of fun for both. Enjoy the time together and the meal prep will hardly seem like a chore. Dress for dinner, break out the good dinnerware, play some romantic music, dim the lights and dine by candlelight. You may even consider setting up a table away from the family table for a change of pace. No babysitter? Simply wait until the little ones are tucked into bed or plan your Valentine’s Day dinner for a later date when you can ship them off to the grandparents for a night!
Take a Trip Down Memory Lane
If you are fortunate enough to live in or within driving distance to the town or city where you met, then take an afternoon to visit to some of the places of sentimental value. Even if you take the kids, simply experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of the past will bring back so many memories of your early history as a couple. Was there a favorite restaurant? If your budget allows, you may consider visiting it for breakfast or lunch when the fare is less expensive and seating it easier to come by. If you cannot afford a meal there, simply step inside to revisit the scents and atmosphere.
Make it a Picnic or Tailgate
If your weather is nice for the holiday, head to the local park or a favorite outdoor venue for a romantic picnic. If the weather leaves something to be desired, pack a lunch for car and sit in the warmth near a special site with a romantic view.
Check out Your City’s Event Calendar
What’s happening in your city during the days surrounding the holidays? Is there a travel expo or a local festival? Perhaps the local art museum is offering free or discounted admission or there is a free musical performance at the mall. Take a look at the available options-especially the non-Valentine’s Day themed ones. Being together, sharing experiences and making new memories are the most important tasks of the holiday.
Plan a Treasure Hunt for the Holiday
Combine all of the above suggestions into a day long-or a week long game of exploration. Compose clues relative to sites that you wish to visit or revisit as a couple. End your hunt at home or at a romantic venue of your choice for your final celebration of the holiday. You completely control the activities at each “clue stop” and can keep the holiday free or as inexpensive as you choose.
With just a little creativity and pre-planning, your Valentine’s Day celebration does not have to break the budget or be abandoned. Take your time and enjoy your day. You may just find that the inexpensive Valentine’s Day events and activities provide some of your greatest memories in the future as they come from the heart.