Three date ideas that won’t break the bank.

By Michelle Schroeder-Gardner  2 minute read

By Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

2 minute read

With Valentine's Day coming up, you might be starting to think of date ideas for your special someone. Your mind might first wander to ideas for how to celebrate and then, inevitably land on the question, how much money are you going to spend?

According to Time, around 55% of people in the United States celebrate Valentine's Day, and those who celebrate spend an average of $150 on the day. That’s a lot of money to spend in a single day.

So what if you do not want to spend so much money or don’t have room in the budget for an elaborate Valentine's Day celebration? Perhaps you have financial goals you are trying to meet, and $150 would simply stretch you too thin. Or you simply want to find more creative ways to spend time with the one you love.

Whatever the case may be, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on a date in order to show your affection. There are plenty of ways to demonstrate your love and appreciation for someone—while staying within your budget.

Here are three date ideas that won't break the bank.

1. Go for a hike or other outdoor activity.

My favorite date includes any type of outdoor activity, whether it be walking at sunset, hiking, cycling, kayaking, and so on. I recommend finding an outdoor activity that doesn’t require too much additional equipment because rentals can get pricey. Websites such as can help you find local trails in your area, for example.

If you plan carefully, all you might have to budget for is fuel to get to your destination and yummy snacks to stay energized. Outdoor adventures are made even more affordable if you already have the equipment (such as hiking shoes!) If you don’t have the equipment, ask around. Neighbors, friends, or family member may have what you need. You’d be surprised what outdoor equipment people have just laying around not being used!

You don't have to wait until the evening to celebrate Valentine's Day. After all, dinners and events tend to be more expensive at night!

2. Go out for a day date or celebrate on a different day.

You don't have to wait until the evening to celebrate Valentine's Day. After all, dinners and events tend to be more expensive at night!

Also, so many people assume they can only celebrate Valentine's Day on the actual day. Considering it's usually on a weekday (it's on Thursday this year), that means celebrating after work which isn’t always ideal for schedules or wallets.

So, why not celebrate Valentine’s Day on another day—and during the daytime?

Here are some ideas:

  • Meet for lunch instead of dinner. Lunch is usually more affordable than a dinner meal at a restaurant.

  • See a movie during the day. It’s usually much cheaper.

  • Go indoor rock climbing. Sometimes it's even cheaper during the day, too.

  • Go out for a dessert instead of a full meal.

  • Visit your favorite local coffee shop or bookstore to peruse titles and debate plot ideas with your beau.

3. Support the local community artists.

Attending places with beginners or new professionals, such as amateur nights at comedy clubs, a local play, or a restaurant attached to a culinary school with chefs in training can be a fun way to save money while trying something new.

Try asking around for suggestions, such as posting a request for recommendations on your Facebook wall, asking other people in your town using NextDoor, or checking out your local newspaper to see listings of nearby community events.

How much do you typically spend on a date? Are you hoping to change that this year?