Money Saving 301
November 30, 2023

10 Safe and Affordable Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Things are now back to a post-COVID normal, but COVID-19 and tough influenza seasons have taught us to be more germ-wary during the holidays. And one such holiday couples around the world celebrate is Valentine’s Day.

Even before the pandemic, many couples looked for ways to avoid the crowds, chaos, and especially the costs of Valentine’s Day.  Yet they still wanted to celebrate and honor their loved ones.

Post-pandemic couples want the same things.  So we’ve compiled 10 Valentine’s Day ideas to safely and affordably celebrate your loved ones while protecting yourselves, your community, and your bank account.

1. Celebrate with a Picnic for Two

If weather permits, public parks, beaches, and lakefronts offer a tranquil setting for a private, homemade picnic with your special someone. Even a beautiful lawn or large backyard patio area can be a great setting.  Outdoor activities can be a safer way to meet others, particularly those who are immune-compromised or susceptible to illness. 

What to bring? Totally up to you! Easy-to-pack (and share) foods, like pre-packaged meats and crackers, sandwiches, and individual or homemade desserts are a good choice.  If you’re doing a lawn or patio party, you can serve pretty much anything.  This offers a lot of budget flexibility.

Just make sure utensils and other items are separated so you don’t spread illness among your party, and provide hand sanitizer for picnic-goers to use before eating.

2. Get Active with Your Partner

Take a hike, a bike, or a sunset stroll on a trail or path you’ve never visited before. If the weather is uncooperative, a free virtual yoga class or an at-home Bachata dance tutorial for couples can be a great way to try something new while staying active indoors.

Trying a new exercise can help inject some excitement into your relationship, too, especially for those of us in a post-COVID rut. Who knows what conversations and possibilities could be uncovered once you get moving?

Outdoor activities and exercise can help protect you from germ exposure as well as future infections, and will protect your budget at the same time.

3. Enjoy an Intimate Meal at Home

True, many of us are tired of cooking, but there are ways to make even this basic task feel romantic and exciting.

You can cook together or create a fun theme for the meal.  For example, try a particular country’s cuisine, try to recreate a favorite meal you’ve had together in the past, or make a delicious “brinner” (breakfast for dinner).

Dining in has many advantages, including protection from the many hands in a restaurant setting and thus from many germs.

Whatever you do, if you cook the meal as a gift, do the cleanup!  It’s no gift to cook for someone if you leave them to clean up the mess.

Whether you prepare the meal yourself as a gift or cook a meal together, keep it simple so you don’t spend the entire evening in the kitchen. Keeping it simple also helps you avoid a big bill for ingredients or extensive cleanup.

4. Romantic Valentine’s Movie Marathon

One movie can feel like just another day in quarantine. But a romance movie marathon? That’s an event! Get some inspiration from IMDb’s list of most romantic movies of all time, fire up some popcorn, and get ready to swoon together.

In a long-distance relationship? Make it a virtual watch party on one of the major streaming platforms, like Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Netflix.

While the theater is nice, at-home movies offer easy bathroom breaks, inexpensive snacks, the pause button – and a much cleaner, safer environment for your movie-watching enjoyment.  And it doesn’t cost a thing!

5. Valentine’s Game Night

Think you know your partner like the back of your hand? Put it to the test. Take a fun couples quiz online.  Psychologytoday.com offers 21 questions to test how well you really know your partner.  Some quizzes look at how well you know your partner, which will give you plenty to talk about as you learn new things about one another.  Psychologytoday.com offers 21 questions that test your knowledge of your partner.  Today’s Parent offers a quiz that evaluates your relationship stage.  A StarWars.com couples quiz can even tell you which Star Wars movie couple you and your partner represent.  There’s something for every couple.

If a quiz isn’t your thing – or it feels like dangerous relationship territory – you can find questions to spark Valentine’s Day conversation with your significant other, like these from Country Living.  The game Our Moments: Couples Edition has conversation starter cards to spark interesting answers and learning about your partner.

Test your pop culture expertise with Valentine’s Day trivia about all things love, from TV and film to music and history, with games like Love Trivia.  Write questions for one another to answer or find some online. 

You can also play a traditional board game, like Monopoly or Jenga.  Up the ante with prizes (or penalties), or write some of your own rules.

If you want to take the romance up a notch, consider meaningful couples’ games.  We’re Not Really Strangers: Couples Edition includes questions to promote a deeper relationship, as well as “wild cards.”  The questions in 36 Questions in Love were originally used as part of a study on creating closeness between people.

A game night Valentine’s Day can bring you closer to one another without bringing you closer to germs – or an empty wallet.

6. Have Date Night by the Fire

Chilly weather is the perfect excuse to cozy up by a warm fire. Fleece blankets, hot chocolate, and a s’mores kit will make for the perfect retreat whether you’re by the fire in your own backyard or your living room!

If you’re setting up by the outdoor fire pit, take advantage of what nature offers.  Get a free sky-watching chart or download an astronomy app and see how many constellations, planets, and stars you can spot in the night sky.

All this Valentine’s plan will cost you is a few s’mores supplies!

7. Home Day Spa

Bring the best of the spa home with a couple’s massage. We recommend starting with this “Couples Massage for Dummies” video to learn the basics and some special tricks (while ensuring you don’t accidentally hurt one another).

Pull up a spa soundtrack on your phone or wireless speaker to create a peaceful ambiance that will melt all your worries away.  Lower stress levels even mean better immunity from germs, and they don’t cost a thing.

8. Virtual or In-Person Cocktail Classes

Learn how to make your own craft cocktails with a virtual mixology class or a series of Masterclass courses. You’ll discover what goes into mixing the perfect drink, whether it’s a classic old-fashioned or dirty martini, or a more imaginative concoction, like a watermelon margarita or mojito—then you can enjoy your creations.

While some online classes are free or inexpensive, others are a bit pricey, so search for cost details before signing up.

9. Set Up a Scavenger Hunt

Now that it’s safe to venture out, you can set up a scavenger hunt for your significant other with riddles and clues leading them to various favorite places.  Whether at home or out and about, your clues lead them to discover your gift—which can be as simple and inexpensive as a love letter.  If you’re short on time or ideas, look online for Valentine’s scavenger hunt ideas and you’ll find some already done for you.

Do what you’re comfortable with, going places that are out of doors or to stores with more people.  You can easily adjust your scavenger hunt to your financial and health needs.

10. Handwritten Valentine’s Day Gifts

In a mobile-first and virtual world, a heartfelt handwritten letter carries a lot of romantic weight. Don’t rely on a card to deliver a generic message for you—give yourself the time to write something thoughtful about what you love and appreciate about your valentine.

If you’re not sure how to get started, think back to your first date or wedding proposal, and take your partner back to that moment. Describe the setting and any other visual details as you remember them, and reveal the romantic feelings you had in the moment. As a bonus, you can include a favorite old picture or have your wedding video ready to watch to make the message extra special.

Check out Grammarly.com for professional tips to help you write the perfect love letter.

The best part? Romantic letters are safe for anyone, and totally free.

While Valentine’s Day may be a little different post-pandemic, there are plenty of ways to celebrate love in a healthy environment without breaking the bank. Choose your favorite activity above or mix and match for an evening you and your valentine will remember for years to come.

Safe and Affordable Valentine’s Day FAQs

What activities can you do for Valentine's Day? Refer to the article above for tons of great ideas!

How to do Valentine's Day with no money?  Use your imagination and the ideas above to come up with a great – and affordable – Valentine’s Day plan.  There are plenty of activities that don’t cost a dime – and your extra effort will be extra special to your sweetheart.

What should I do on each day of Valentine's week?  Valentine’s Day has become a big deal, and a big business, but it should really be about letting your loved ones know you appreciate them.  Don’t be afraid to scale back.  If you want to do something each day the week of Valentine’s Day, consider things that are free or low-cost like the ideas in the article above.

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