Top 10 Valentine's Day Dates on a Budget

By Ashley Houk,

Even though we've managed to avoid the fiscal cliff and despite the fact that the recession is slowly lessening, money is continually tight for some of us. If you're in that boat but you still want to be able to woo your sweetie, here are some fun and unique date ideas:

10. Play a game
Scrabble, UNO or other card games. This is #10 because I'm not a fan of games, generally. You get to be cozy at home in case it's cold, and you'll quickly learn how competitive your mate is. Benefits are ... it's free!

9. Coffee shop
Or ice cream shoppe -- whichever is more your style. This will cost less than $10, but it gets you out and allows for some one-on-one time. Plus, if your romance is just budding, it's a relaxed, low pressure situation.

8. Cook together
Especially if this isn't something you do often! Working together toward a common goal is a great way to bond with your significant other. Plus, if you're anything like me, it might help you learn to accept help from others -- so try not to take over, control freaks of the world.

7. Make a photo album
Go back to old fashioned film. Buy a disposable camera (or a roll of film, no judging here) and fill it up with snaps throughout your day! Photos of each other, food, places you go or just things that you found along the way -- anything to remind you of your time together.

6. Take a walk
Sounds simple, right? Maybe even dull? Well, consider putting a spin on it! Check for any historical tours in your area and take a walking tour. Or, if you want to get really creative, make up your own walking tour and be the guide for your date.

5. Check out local theater
Usually no pricier than a movie, but it allows you to treat your date to a night out enjoying some local talent.

4. Ice skating
For me, this would be magical (I've never been)! Ice skating is low cost and fun. Plus, it's an opportunity to teach your date something that you know/like. Just be careful not to slip!

3. Local events
Check your cities chamber of commerce website and see how it's marketed to visitors. You can find events that sound fun or places to visit that you didn't know existed! Then, go explore together.

2. Visit a museum
Usually museums are free, or simply ask for a small donation. Here you can "oooh" and "aaah" at all kinds of art and talk about the ones you really like/dislike. A local art gallery is another option, too! It's always fun to see what kind of art is made in your city, and supporting local business just feels good.

1. Go on a picnic
What could be more romantic? A picnic is not only cheap, it's thoughtful. Plus, if you're looking for Valentine's date ideas, you're likely to have the park to yourselves. Even if you don't, a picnic will still create plenty of intimacy.

So, next time you find yourself in a bind for something to do on the weekend or date night, look no further! There's plenty of fun to be had on a budget.

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