Two Movie Tickets: $24
One Large Tub of Popcorn: $8
Two Medium Sodas: $10
A date night at the movie theater: Ridiculous!
With Valentine's Day around the corner, you will want to do something special for your significant other. But if even a movie night is over $40, we may feel lost trying to impress our date during the "most romantic day of the year." I'm assuming you don't want to cash your 401(k) to take out your significant other or the coworker you've been crushing on. I don't blame you. Dating can be hard enough without adding in finances. Fortunately, creating a memorable experience is much more important than the dollars spent. You might have to put in a little more time to plan, but a creative date is worth it for your budding relationship and your wallet.
Pack a Picnic
Supplies: blanket, wine, glasses, cheese, fruit, crackers, chocolate
Prep Time: one to two hours for buying and set-up time
Cost: up to $50
Who doesn't love a picnic, even if it is 10 degrees outside? Although it sounds like a lot of work, you can spread a blanket on the floor and grab some basics. Your date will be impressed because it looks like you put a lot of time and effort into it, when it actually only takes a few minutes at the store.
Up in the Air
Supplies: V-Day colored balloons (red, pink, white, gold), paper, balloon pump, pin for popping, helium and ribbon (optional)
Prep Time: two to three hours to create quotes, poems, etc. and blow up balloons.
Cost: up to $25, depending on supplies you choose
Have something you want to say but want to share it in a creative way? On colorful paper, write or print out romantic quotes, poem or activities, such as a hug, different kinds of kisses, massage. You can even include coupons for later to make a meal on a tough day or a free night out with the guys/girls. Roll them up and put them in the deflated balloons. Fill them up using helium or a balloon air pump (helium makes it a little more fun, but make sure to tie ribbon on them so she can get to them) and fill your room with them. They will be excited to come home to a room of balloons where they will get to pop each balloon to find a new way that you care.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
Supplies: two disposable cameras
Prep Time: enough to buy the cameras and find a good area
Cost: up to $30 for cameras, film processing and dessert or wine
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways... on film. Buy two disposable cameras and give each other an allotted amount time to go around and find things that remind you of each other and why you love them. Afterward, get the pictures developed at a local place than can process them in less than an hour. After that, you can look through your pictures over a nice dessert, wine or other libation and explain each one.
Supplies: clues (can be written out or printed), a treasure at the end
Prep Time: make time to create clues, pick locations and hide them.
Cost: final treasure
This is my favorite and for the true adventurers. It's a bit of work, but worth it in the end. Create a treasure hunt for your date full of puzzles to solve or activities (slow dance in the street, sing karaoke, etc.) and clues to the next destination. It could be in a public building (such as the mall) or over an area (a fun, energetic part of town). You can even get other people involved and have a great time with it. The "treasure" can be a final destination where you have a huge ice cream sundae to share, a favorite bottle of wine or another fun activity. Either way, the real treasure will be the memories made from such a fun creative date.