With Valentine’s Day approaching rapidly, what are your plans? With the average price of a movie ticket sitting at around $8, the traditional dinner-and-a-movie can take a big chunk out of your entertainment budget. No-one wants to look cheap, but you don’t have to spend money to have fun. If you need to put together an impressive date night for an unimpressive price, this guide will give you some romantic ideas that will not require you to win the lottery first. After all, money can’t buy you love.
Explore the great outdoors
. From British Columbia to the Bay of Fundy, Canada isn’t short of beautiful scenery. As of January 2015, there are 44 National Parks spread across the entire nation, and these are far from your only options. If you are feeling active and fit, leave the city behind and spend a day out in the wild. Mid-February weather can be inhospitable, so this might be better saved for the warmer months, but you don’t have to let a bit of snow spoil your fun. Why not strap on a pair of snowshoes or ice skates, or even try out cross-country skiing? Equipment hire can be quite expensive, but if you’re just going for a regular walk, the only big cost will be gas. Of course, if a day of schlepping through the woods or falling over on ice doesn’t appeal to you, you can still enjoy a day out. Even a fairly elaborate picnic can be less expensive than a meal at a restaurant, especially if you construct your own canapes. If the weather permits, have an evening picnic and stay out after dark. Learn the names of a few constellations in advance, and impress your date with your stargazing skills. Make sure to take some comfortable blankets.
A quiet (or not so quiet) night in
. Takeout food, a bottle of wine, and only the finest of on-demand entertainment? It’s a modern classic, but not necessarily special enough for Valentine’s Day or an anniversary. Still, if neither of you will be disappointed, it’s a cheap option. Better still, it’s also a template that you can build upon for a more memorable night. Instead of pizza for two, why not try cooking something special? There is no shortage of impressive-but-not-actually-difficult recipes online. Cooking for your partner can be a caring and romantic gesture, while cooking a meal together is a great opportunity for fun and connection, especially if the aforementioned bottle of wine is involved. If you have some culinary energy left after cooking, try mixing some cocktails together too. As for entertainment, games and video on demand are solid options. However, if you really want to impress, pamper your partner with a relaxing massage. Set the scene with candles, get some proper massage oil, and work out the kinks. A couple of basic techniques learned from Google can make all the difference.
Out on the town
. For a budget-friendly Valentine’s Day date, restaurants should not be your first choice. When millions of couples are all eating out on the same day, prices typically go up and level of service typically goes down. They’re better for an anniversary or a just-because, but there are still cheaper options, especially if you live in a city. Look for free events or classes in your area. New experiences are great for bonding, and even if you never go back, an evening of underwater bonsai pruning will be remembered for years to come. Salsa clubs often offer free beginners’ classes on certain nights, or you could blow the cobwebs from your brain cells at a local trivia night. Really, there are only two limits here: your creativity, and what is actually available in your area.