I love any excuse to celebrate! I love birthdays. I love Christmas. I love gifts. It’s consistently been one of my top two love languages. Valentine’s Day, although never celebrated by my family, has been something I’ve loved celebrating. I love all things flowers, roses, chocolates and hearts. I loved Valentine’s civvies days (who remembers civvies days?!?) and secret Valentine roses delivered to classrooms. I once, with my sister, even put Barbies and toys sticking out of drawers and dressers in the dining room with notes like “What a great party!” to create a romantic vibe for my parents to have a Valentine’s date night in while my sister and I had a night out! (We were around 7 and 5!)!
My hubby and I celebrated Valentine’s when we were dating – mostly at home because I was a teenager! As a married couple, we’ve always done something. But I find each year when Valentine’s Day comes around, money is scarce, especially after Christmas, “Januworry” and my sister’s birthday! I scoured the internet to find cost free ideas but not matter how hard I tried, there was always a cost attached!
So, I’ve put together a “cost free” list of ideas for you. You could always buy extras if you have spare cash. But if, like us, things are a bit tight, it just takes a little effort.
Build a Tent
We did this one year while we were dating. Did you ever build a tent as a child with sheets and pegs? Yip, that’s exactly what I mean. My sister helped me put up a tent in the lounge and we hooked up some fairy lights. In went a mattress and pillows. We had a lovely evening chatting while lying on our backs beneath the twinkle of the fairy lights and eating yummy food (all except the gross mousse that didn’t work!) You can have a takeaway, a three course meal or peanut butter sandwiches. This can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be.
World Class Dinner
I haven’t tried this one but it sounds like fun! You “travel” the world with a 3-course meal. Again, it can be simple or complex; cheap or expensive. Use decor if you want to. Sign up for the free Spotify or use YouTube to add to the cultural experience. Even better, Google virtual tours and enjoy a virtual tour of Santorini while eating baklava, or New York while eating hot dogs or Italy while eating pasta!
Shop the Pantry
This Valentine’s Day I will never forget. We had zero money. Well, enough to buy a R10 sundae from McDonalds. So we had to get creative. No money for a nice fancy meal. No money for even a nice-ish meal. So we dressed up to the nine’s, hauled out the cookbooks and created something from what we had in the cupboard and fridge. We came up with the most amazing meal. It forced us to be super creative – a bit like being on a cooking show and you somehow have to make random ingredients work together!
If your spouse thrives on Words of Affirmation, this one is for them. Although, I suspect none of us encourage our spouses enough! Cut out lots of hearts and write something you love about your spouse on each one. Then stick them all over the inside of the car or all over the bedroom door or shower door – wherever they are likely to see them!
I am someone who loves photos. If you’re anything like me, it’s always so lovely to have updated photos. Put on something fancy and do a photoshoot of your own. If you have a tripod use one. If you don’t, prop your phone up of books. Have fun, be ridiculous and have a good kiss! Even if the photos aren’t amazing, you’ll have memories captured to look back on!
This is a suggestion often used but, guess what? It’s free! So that’s why it’s made it onto this list. It can be a simple game of cards or something more complex like a strategy game. You can play a version of Pictionary, Charades or 30 Seconds. You can make some popcorn and lay it out on the dining room table. Or drink a cup of hot tea or cocoa and sit in bed. It’s all about having some good, competitive fun!
Go for a Drive
After our Valentine’s “shop your pantry” challenge, we grabbed our camera and drove downtown to look at the city by night. It’s something I hadn’t done for years. How beautiful and different it looked by night. No dirty streets. No traffic jams. Just beautifully old buildings in the yellow glow of street lamps. We then stopped on a hill overlooking the city and just enjoyed the sparkle. You could could meander during the day or at night. Take a flask and stop somewhere to enjoy something warm to drink.
Read a Book Together
During lockdown, my husband and I started reading together. It was lovely! Lovely to discuss. Lovely to listen to each other read aloud. Snuggle up in bed or cosy up on the couch and settle down with a good book. Fiction or non-fiction. Chocolate or no chocolate. All you really need is each other and a cup of something warm!
Follow a Recipe Online by a Chef
If you love food (like me!!) this is a great option. Google a Jamie Oliver basic recipe – not lobster but something more affordable – and try it out. It’s always fun to try new things and develop a new skill and what better company to do it in than with your spouse!
During our dating years, I was in school. We didn’t really have the money or permission to galivant! So we would lay out a picnic blanket under the vast expanse and lie there talking about our dreams. There is something calming about taking time out to look at the sky, pause, and realise that the world is so much bigger than our little lives!
This was inspired from a teen books series I read. We would get up around 5 and find a secluded spot. It was so special to be awake while the world was still and quiet and still stirring from its slumber to the trill of birds. We would drink something warm(can you tell what I love?!?) and watch the sun come up. Then we’d share something yummy to eat. Make it at home or swing past your local bakery. Whatever works for you! Enjoy God’s creation – together!
This may not be everyone’s cup of tea (see what I did there!), but I love to dance so I’m putting this out there! Put on those heels and clear a space in the living room. Crank up the music and jive! Here’s a video to get you started!
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Dig deep in the back of your cupboards and pull out old letters and photos. Laugh at the silly ones, reminisce over the deep, intimate moments in your relationships, talk through the hard times and remember with fondness the times of blessing and joy. If you’re feeling inspired, jot down the memories for you and your children to enjoy one day.
Credit: Sweet, Frugal Life
Heads or Tails Drive (Walk)
This is a fun one, especially if you’re feeling impulsive. Get in the car or put on those walking shoes. Whenever you come to a T-junction, flip the coin. Heads is right, tails is left. And go on an adventure!
Credit: Sweet, Frugal Life
Grab a glass or mug of something to sip on, some coloured pens and a big sheet of paper. If you’re feeling inspired, some old magazines too. Sit down and talk about your dreams. Don’t be afraid to dream big because that’s what this is about, right? Speak about travel destinations, goals, bucket list items, financial goals, education, hobbies, health, fitness, family – you name it! Cut out pictures, write out your dreams and connect with one another as you share your hopes for yourselves, your relationships and your life.
Credit: Noelle Boyer
Light those candles. Make a homemade face mask (some are cheap. Here and here are two websites). Get out some cream/baby oil (finally found a use for all those all those free samples!) and give each other a back rub or foot massage. Enjoy a bubble bath together. Pamper one another.
Credit: Noelle Boyer
When I was a child, we created memory boxes. I was a hoarder so mine had bits of broken Alicebands and some other scraps of paper. But some memories like chocolate wrappers with a hand written message on from my boyfriend (now husband, don’t worry!) and the like bring back sweet memories. So I love this idea! Write down memories from the past year, some of your current favourites and some trending information. Add photos, newspaper clippings and YouTube links and pop it all into an ice-cream tub or a pretty box. Put the current date and the date for opening it up again on the lid. Better Together has some brilliant ideas of details to add.
Sleepovers aren’t only for kids! Put your hands up if you loved sleepovers as a kid! Why not do one with your spouse? Drag a mattress into the lounge. Pop some popcorn in a large bowl. Drink cocoa or tea. Snuggle up in front of a good romcom (or something you like!) and stay up until midnight by the light of a side lamp talking about you deepest secrets!
Credit: The Dating Divas
YouTube Scavenger Hunt
This is fun! I love YouTube. So this ticks my box! The Dating Divas have a great list of fun things to look for! Enjoy a good giggle and get competitive!
Here are some date ideas from my Instagram ladies..
Pack a delicious picnic and head out amongst the leafy, green trees. Find a shady spot dappled with sunlight and have a secluded picnic!
Credit: Kirsty Muir
Who doesn’t love to live like a child sometimes. For a few moments, we forget what adulting is and become childlike. Make fun clues. Lead your partner all over the place. Make it easy or hard; sentimental or cheesy. Up to you! The prize can be a chocolate, a card, a massage, a candlelit bubble bath. There’s no end to the possibilities here!
Credit: Ripple Effect Parenting
Nothing like a yummy fondue. Make it cheese or chocolate. Whichever you are able to afford. Light some candles and enjoy this yummy treat!
Credit: Emma Skinner
This one is obviously not for Covid times but certainly a fun idea! Get a couple of friends together and travel from one house to the next, eating a different course at each house. No need for anything fancy! Carrot sticks and mayonnaise dip or pasta or tea and coffee. Keep it cheap and simple. Or, if you have the money, splurge!
Credit: Toddlering Through Africa
Heart Biscuits and Questionnaire
Why not make some yummy heart biscuits and do a “Get to Know You” questionnaire from The Dating Divas. You’ll be surprised at some of the answers!
Credit: Kirsty Muir
So there you have it! A long list of amazing and out-of-the-box date night ideas! Let me know which ones you like and which one you decide to try this Valentine’s Day!
Photo Credit: StockSnapTags: cheap, date, date night, date night ideas, food, free, heart, hearts, hot chocolate, love, supper, tea, valentine, Valentine's Day
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