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It’s time to celebrate the significant other in your life! If you think that means expensive gifts, dates, and blowing an entire day’s salary on a restaurant meal, then think again. There’s no need to drain your wallet while trying to create the perfect Valentine’s Day. Instead, use these eight hacks for a dream Valentine’s Day that doesn’t break the budget.   

1. Dine in on Valentine’s Day

Dining out at restaurants is one of the most popular traditions on Valentine’s Day. However, the higher-than-usual volume of diners means that many restaurants are crowded and that the employees at those restaurants are pushed to their limits. Plus, the price of a restaurant meal on Valentine’s Day tends to be higher than average, as many restaurants serve a fixed price three or more course meal.

This year, skip the restaurant and save your wallet. Instead, enjoy a lovely meal for two, at home. If you both enjoy cooking, you can prep the meal together, so that you get to spend even more time with each other. If neither of you enjoys cooking, there’s always the option of ordering out (most restaurants provide delivery service today). You can create a romantic mood at home by playing music that’s special to you both, lighting some candles, and breaking out the nice plates and silverware.

2.  Explore the great outdoors 

Depending on the weather in your area around Valentine’s Day, it can be the perfect opportunity for you and your love to spend the day out in nature. Put on your boots and go for a hike in a nearby park, enjoying the scenery together. You might also pack up a picnic basket with your favorite foods and spend the day lounging on the grass in a park or even in your own backyard.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the most romantic holiday of the year. Get creative, think of what the two of you love to do the most, and you can have a perfect day, even if you don’t spend any money at all.

3. Laugh it up on Valentine’s Day

Comedy clubs are always a ball of fun—and they’re cheap, too! It’s also something that’s a bit off the beaten track. Check out a local comedy club together for a good time that won’t cost you much. 

4. Hit the gym 

Gym memberships and day passes usually decline in February when many people have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions to get fit. Take advantage of the lower prices to hit the gym as a couple this Valentine’s Day. A shared workout can be a great bonding experience that’s good for your health and your wallet, too. 

5. Make a memory box for Valentine’s Day

Instead of expensive gifts and overpriced cards, take a long walk down memory lane together by making a memory box. Cover a small box or container in some decorative material, or spray-paint it in your chosen color. Then, sift through your collection of ticket stubs and other mementos you’ve saved up from your months or years of dating each other. Throw in tourist pamphlets of places you’ve visited, random photos, and any other trinkets that bring up warm memories.   

Grab a carton of ice cream, and two spoons, and enjoy a wonderful evening reliving some of your best shared moments. 

6. Get cultured together 

What’s the one thing you and your partner love to do together the most? Maybe your first date was at a museum or you enjoy going to the movies together. You might love music, dance, or theater. Pick your favorite cultural activity and buy tickets for it on or around Valentine’s Day. Usually, the price of cultural programs doesn’t jump up because of the holiday, so you can still find plenty of inexpensive or even free things to do.  

7. Gift them with a thoughtful gesture 

Everyone has a guilty pleasure. Give your partner an all-out indulgence fest this Valentine’s Day for a truly thoughtful gift. If your significant other loves nothing more than waking up to a huge stack of pancakes with an iced latte on the side, surprise them with their dream breakfast-in-bed. If they have a thing for Snicker bars, then fill a huge, funky container with their favorite chocolates. 

You can also go in the other direction with this idea and offer to do a household chore you know your partner loathes, like laundry or washing dishes. Decorate a small piece of card stock and then write up a “certificate” that gifts the recipient with four loads of laundry, washed, dried, and put away, or three evenings of dirty dishes rinsed, washed, and drained. It won’t cost you anything, and it’s sure to put a smile on your partner’s face! 

8. Celebrate on a different day

Although February 14th is Valentine’s Day, no hard and fast rule says you must celebrate that day. If February 14th just doesn’t work with your schedule, you can pick a different day to celebrate. For example, you might want to pick a day in February that lines up with your anniversary. If you got married on November 16th, celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 16th. If you decide to skip the hustle-and-bustle of the 14th, then you’re likely to find that it’s easier to get a reservation at the restaurant of your choice and that you’re not locked into paying for the pricey set menu.

You don’t have to break your budget this Valentine’s Day. Use these hacks, or another creative money-saving idea, to enjoy a wonderful day with the love of your life! 

Your Turn: How do you save on Valentine’s Day? Share your best tips and tricks with us in the comments! 

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