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“I love you” may be a pretty powerful thing to say but gestures are even more powerful. Welcome to the collection of fun, free, and frugal things you can do with your significant other.
This was a challenge to come up with an extra long list of activities both couples and singles could do on a budget for Valentine’s Day. Usually, I’m not a fan of holidays unless they come with days off or lump themselves into glorious three day weekends but I do love my husband, so to surprise him this year, I will be taking an idea from my romantic activities list below and doing something frugal for my fella. He won’t see it coming!
The first 25 were super easy but I wanted to exercise my creativity and make it a 100 solid suggestions for everyone to have a frugal February 14th. As usual, our motto is “sharing our strategic wealth building secrets through personal experience.”
Sometimes, a lot of online content is “very touch and go” so some items in bright pink are things I’ve done (although not always for Valentine’s Day) and can vouch for.
Start The Count!
1. Make root beer floats at home. Imagine me and the suicidal Brodie, two broke college kids, on our last $10 with ridiculous appetites for sugary fizz but finds themselves kitchenless in a college dorm…the only thing to do is grab some A&W rootbeers and a pint of generic Safeway vanilla ice cream and make do! 😉
2. Let them pick the movie.
3. Netflix & chill.
4. Free art shows are offered from time to time. Check local galleries, schools, universities and the results might surprise you.
5. Go to the beach. So walks on the beach might be boilerplate stereotypes but they are free and how many things in life are free and as beautiful as a beach?
6. Have fun at the lake, don’t forget to bring your floaties and sunscreen!
7. Play strip poker. Want to try something exciting and can help pass the time? Strip poker is the activity for confident and blossoming couples!
8. Taking a couple’s hike can be romantic and makes for a great cardio day.
9. Have breakfast in bed and never leave the bed.
10. Spend a day at the dog park. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for romantic love. Show your pooches some love by taking them for a playdate.
11. Volunteer together. Don’t dismiss this until you tried it as a couple! Doing good for others is the best way to do good for yourself. You can double the good by bringing your significant other.
13. Go stargazing
14. Buy a subscription to his/her favorite magazine. With traditional print media taking a backseat, you can find subscriptions for a super low cost. Last year, we had an annual subscription to Kiplinger (financial magazine) for $6!
15. Tour a brewery. As an Airbnb host, I see couples who come visit just to tour the local breweries. Taking a tour of a local brewery can be an educating and thirst quenching experience!
16. Frame a photo of both of you and hang it up.
17. Get his/her new tires so they will never have to worry about a spare.
18. Sneak love notes in their coat/shirt/pant pockets that affirm how much they mean to you.
19. Brag about your sweetie to everybody including your parents and close friends. That’s bound to make them feel pretty good!
21. Write heartfelt letters to each other and hand deliver them to each other on Valentine’s Day.
22. Make s’mores on the stove top or oven without having to camp outside.
23. Window shopping to admire the goods but not giving into holiday materialism.
24. Visit karaoke bars as a group outing or just to watch others have fun.
25. Learn to fly a kite.
26. Visit a local coffee house.
27. Laundry sock fight – from first-hand experience: with clean socks is preferable, although the fighting stakes are up to you.
28. Do your sweetie’s laundry for them but make sure to double check all their clothing pockets and hiding places to avoid accidents.
29. Go for a nice scenic drive with your significant other.
30. Give each other massages with help from YouTube tutorials or winging it with active feedback.
31. Make pizzas at home and go have fun, make the pizza heart-shaped if you’re talented with dough.
32. Go skinny dipping since it costs nothing but double check the destination and legalities of your location first.
33. DIY photo session – My husband has “aphantasia” – a fancy word for people who have trouble coding memories visually. When I asked my husband what he wanted for his birthday last year and he said he wanted the photos I took of myself on my phone transferred to his phone. Aww! He likes me!
34. Outdoor picnics are not cliche! Let’s bring them back people. They’re delicious!
35. BBQ at home is a much better option than fighting for seats with the crowd of diners.
36. Solve a small problem in your significant other’s life. For example, replacing their batteries with new fresh batteries etc. or have their car taken in for a simple tune-up.
37. Valentine “coupon books” are sweet, creative, and personable gestures that anyone would appreciate!
38. Go for a walk, not for the exercise but the wonderful conversation that would unfold when two people are in love.
39. Make work “bento” lunches or brown bagging your significant other a meal is frugal and thoughtful.
40. Give each other temporary tattoos and laugh about it when your coworkers the next day raises questions. Oh, have I done this a couple of times myself. I stamped a unicorn tattoo on my face for the entire day.
41. Play Pictionary, all you need is a piece of paper, pen and an idea.
42. Write each other haikus, haikus area Japanese poem made up of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five. Traditionally, it’s about nature but the American versions can be anything.
43. Tidy up together now that I realize my husband and I argue about messes and not being able to find something a lot more often than I thought before I started tracking our disagreements.
44. Take extra long naps guilt-free.
45. Time-lapse a Valentine is what clever people do to avoid the incessant crowds. The greatest benefit to that is knowing the chocolates and unsold Valentine’s Day toys go on clearance in the weeks following Feb. 14!
46. Skip the crowd and organize a private activity at home that’s not flooded or overpriced. That’s a good enough gift alone.
47. Reorganize the home to both your likings and help each other move furniture.
48. Learn a craft on YouTube
49. Bubble baths can be very romantic and be relaxing for overworked professionals. From first-hand experience, give the tub a quick rinse first. Bathtubs need their own showers too.
50. Play a drawing game that is different from Pictionary. It doesn’t involve guessing but a curiosity in what your significant other’s artistic concept of a bird or skyscraper looks like. I’ve given this chore to hubby and we’re doing this as I’m writing. It’s hilarious.
51. Send the kids off to Grandma’s or splurge on a sitter for the night if you and your significant other haven’t had a real date night in a while.
52. Borrow a romantic novel/audiobook from the library and enjoy it with your partner. My husband’s idea of a romantic and frugal Valentine!
53. Try out a new recipe that you both would enjoy. Flan is my #1 choice this year, it’s what I’m planning for our Valentine’s Day dessert this year 🙂
54. Woodburning kit to customize and engrave something yourself for your significant other. This woodburning kit is the exact one I have to burn a few pieces of wood and alleviate boredom.
55. Call up your mom/dad and tell them how much you appreciate them. Valentine’s Day isn’t just about love in the romantic sense.
56. Recreate your first date and let the nostalgia take you away.
57. Custom sexy photo sessions on a tight budget go together well. All it takes is a phone camera and some good angles.
58. Offer to do their Bing searches for the day. Bing is a search engine owned by Microsoft. Bing points are collected everytime a search is complete and Bing points can be transferred to Amazon’s gift cards.
59. Get some (Chinese) take out if they’re working late.
60. Charades is a game where a person acts out a word and the other person tries to guess. It’s a great activity for 2+ couples.
61. Naked Charades, hey hey, judgment-free zone. You do you.
62. Look for free park concerts near you.
63. Attend a community pottery class, these hidden gems are usually tucked away at an art center you’ve driven past 50 times.
64. Make origami. For one Valentine’s Day, a friend of mine received 1,000 hand-folded origami cranes from her boyfriend. It took him several months but she was moved to tears.
65. Craft beer tasting/tour
66. Watch the sunrise/sunset together
67. Put together a puzzle
68. Make DIY napkin flowers instead of spending money on an overpriced bushel. Flowers can be made with pulled apart paper clips and tissue paper. Origami paper, wrapping paper or ribbon paper can all work depending on the method.
69. Go jogging together
70. Do a chore on each other’s list, Jared hates waking up to take our dog, Grace, out in the early mornings for a pit stop. My self-appointed job this year is to wake up before he does and take Grace out so he doesn’t have to. The rest of the 363 days, he’s on his own 😛
71. Gifting a Groupon is similar to a Valentine’s Day raincheck, it’s a super savvy consumer move!
72. Snuggle and nuzzle each other until one or both is close to catching on fire.
73. Make bubble tea at home! Good boba tea requires a quality tea (Earl, Oolong, Jasmine, Chai etc.), milk or condensed milk, squeeze of honey and instant tapioca balls (soaked them in honey after cooking). I can post a full recipe if anyone’s interested.
74. Watch really sappy, cult classics. My husband made me sit through “The Princess Bride” twice. As an Asian immigrant, I missed the American 90s era so I don’t fully understand the hype. Except for the scene when they rolled down the hill together, that gave me tears of laughter. Plus, Cary Elwes is an Japanese manga-brought-to-life eye candy so yeahhhh OK, I’d tape that.
75. Stop by the office and surprise them. I loved it when I was getting off work and I see a familiar figure already waiting for me. It always make me feel warm, loved and protected.
76. Filling up love’s gas tank is a small minuscule gesture but that’s precisely why it’s so sweet. You’re constantly thinking of them selflessly. Plus, who likes to pump their own gas? When my husband and I visited Oregon 2 years ago, I felt like a millionaire! Oregon law requires attendants to pump gas so we didn’t have to do it in the freezing snow.
77. Never leave the warmth of bed.
78. Wash your significant other’s car either by yourself or drive it to a carwash.
80. Have a rooftop dinner if it’s applicable to the building layout. Rooftops can be very romantic private getaways.
81. Watch horror movies until you vomit. If you’re like me, Asian horror is a great place to start.
Trivia: “Doll Master” was one of my favorite Asian horror flicks. Full movie via YouTube:
82. Make ice cream (desserts) from scratch at home.
83. Have a quiet, cheap drive-in fast food date night in if Valentine’s Day lands on a work night.
84. Play tourist together in your town and go exploring!
85. Buy some lotto tickets for fun except secretly hoping to win because your love is that magical.
86. Plant something indoors in February because Spring is right around the corner. Start your tomato plants, broccoli, cauliflower. Start planting and seeding herbs like basil, oregano, parsley, dill, mint, thyme, and sage in February too.
87. Play video games with your significant other.
88. Guilt-free bad snacks and dessert night.
89. Buy some unitarian clothes for him/her. Since most men dislike clothes shopping, I assumed the role of buying my husband underpants. If left up to him, he would wear them until they’re in tatters.
90. Chill inside IKEA and eat as many Swedish meatballs as you want. IKEA is a Swedish furniture version of Costco with just as yummy and cheap food! I had two dates where I suggested IKEA, that’s usually when the guy looks at me like I have two heads but trust me, it’s so fun!
91. Find a local petting zoo, they tend to be cheaper than full sized, full priced zoos that can run up near the $80 for admission. A petting zoo is more interactive.
92. Try out late night food trucks to avoid the crowds and forget the diet for one cheat day.
93. Donating to your significant other’s favorite charitable cause will show them how much you care about their beliefs. Happiness will follow, guaranteed!
94. Sell unwanted presents from past exes and use the funds for your significant other that’ll show them who is top dog in your heart. I’ve done this, it’s a win-win. I make extra money this way and save money on gifts for the love that matters.
95. Offer a foot rub.
96. Get a deal for a session of professional house cleaning. Oh, the ultimate splurge! For me, a booking with a house cleaner is as sinful as flying first class on an airline. But if it’s a gift for someone else, I don’t consider it a splurge. That’s my little mental trick.
97. Make a CD or road trip mixtape that combines his/her/both of your favorites
98. Kiss them like they’re leaving for war, enough to make everyone within viewing distance feel a little uncomfortable haha!
99. Propose! Congrats!
100. Don’t forget self-care! Taking care of yourself show how much you care about your significant other because they care about you! After all, life is more fun when there’s someone to share it with.