Valentine’s Day: The Art Of Dating On A Shoestring Budget

Valentine’s Day: The Art Of Dating On A Shoestring Budget

By Alicia Taylor

It’s the big day of the year that makes all the lover’s hearts go thump.  Couples stare dreamily into each other’s eyes and swear undying forever devotion. My idea of a perfect Valentine’s evening is staying home with my man and playing some Xbox together.  Hey, it’s our thang.  However, I have compiled some date night ideas that won’t break the bank.


Even if you forgot, you can bail yourself out with some creative, free ideas

Even if you forgot, you can bail yourself out with some creative, free ideas

Romantic and Almost Free
Are you a romantic at heart?  You don’t like the traditional go-out-to-dinner-box-of-chocolate kind of thing, but you don’t know what else to do?  Here are some romantic ideas that are sure to stave off the need to send doghouse flowers later.


  • Visit a beautiful fountain together.  Toss in pennies, taking turns.  Making wishes together is a great way to bond a relationship and talk about the future, if you think your relationship is ready for that.
  • Go for a nighttime picnic and stargaze together.
  • Stay in and make chocolate fondue by candlelight.  Feed each other chocolate dipped strawberries.
  • Battle each other with spray cans of whipped cream.  Get a couple of cans each.  Chase each other, squirting your partner with whipped cream.  See how creatively you can clean each other off.


Cheap Eats for Dinner
If you think your partner would still prefer a traditional dinner-out, you can always do that as well.  Here are some restaurants that will give you free food, or really good deals, to join their email club.


  • IHOP:  The food is decent and not too expensive.  In exchange for signing up, you will get a free meal.  You also get a free meal on your enrollment anniversary – so you may net a free meal for NEXT Valentine’s Day, too!
  • Chili’s:  Sign up for the email club and you can get a free order of their Skillet Queso and Chips.  You also periodically get notification of special deals, so there are more cheap dates in the future!
  • Kids Meal Deals:  Does your Valentine’s include kids?  Check out this database to see if there are any places around you where kid’s eat free.
  • TGIF: Sign up for the Stripes program and get a coupon for a free appetizer or dessert.  Also, you get free chips and salsa every visit.  OOH!  And earn points for your meals that you can redeem later for free food.
  • Don Pablo’s: Stop in and join the Habaneros club.  You will get a free dip sampler for joining and several $10 gift cards throughout the year.


Nibbles and Bites

If you are going to the movies for the evening, and your theater happens to be in a mall, check out these free nibbles that would make a fun prelude to the show.  If you can get your date to also sign up, then you can each get a freebie, since these are usually one per customer.

  • PretzelMaker: Like them on Facebook and print a coupon for a free heart-shaped pretzel.  This would be fun to do if you are going to be at the mall for a movie.
  • Cinnabon: Like them on Facebook and sign up to get a free Minibon Cinnamon Roll.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts: Sign up and get a free beverage.  Grab a free soda and a donut while taking a stroll.
  • Cold Stone Creamery:  Sign up and get a coupon for Buy 1 Get 1 Free Cold Stone Creation.


It's Free!

It’s Free!

Spicy Free Stuff

Oh.  And speaking of romance, here are some great freebies for adults. These are of the intimate nature.

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  1. Really tight budget for me and my hubby this Vday.

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