If you want to have an awesome Valentine’s Day with your special someone, but you don’t want to spend oodles of money, you’re in luck. There are a lot of different DIY Valentine’s Day dates that will make for excellent memories and a great day, while still being very kind to your budget.
Here are four great DIY Valentine’s Day dates to start with, and implementation advice to make sure you pull them off without a hitch.
Cook a Meal Together
There’s nothing quite as romantic as an elaborate home-cooked meal. To amp up the fun - and the time you get to spend with each other - why not tackle the cooking part of it together?
You can either plan the menu together, or let each person be in charge of a specific part of the meal. Maybe you get to plan the main course, and they get to plan appetizers and dessert. Once you’ve got that structure in place, it’s time to find recipes.
Pinterest is an obviously great place to start, and the recipes you’ll find there are fairly beginner-friendly. If you want to up the ante without upping the price, you can also find a lot of great cookbooks at the library - bonus points if you can find one that relates to your relationship in some way. For example, if you two watch MasterChef together, why not grab a Gordon Ramsey cookbook from the library?
From there, you can even make acquiring all the ingredients a romantic part of the date. Head out grocery shopping together to pick up everything you need for your day in the kitchen, and get cooking!
To keep the afternoon stress-free, here are a few things to keep in mind when tackling new recipes as a team. Pay attention to cooking times so you have a rough idea of when you’ll be able to sit down and enjoy your meal. It also helps to read through a recipe a few times together first, so you can see if there are any steps you should plan ahead for. There’s nothing worse than getting stressed out and hungry while trying to negotiate oven temperatures! Luckily, you can avoid that pretty easily with a bit of planning - and having yummy snacks on hand.
And hey, worst case scenario? If dinner doesn’t turn out quite how you planned, there’s always pizza.
Tackle a Project
Is there something crafty or challenging you’ve always thought would be fun to try, like woodworking, or painting, or building that super-elaborate LEGO set that’s been sitting in your closet? Taking on a new project together can be the perfect Valentine’s Day adventure for the two of you.
There are a few ways you can go about it, but the best way to plan out a project-focused date is to think about what you both might like and your respective skill levels. If neither of you have ever done any woodworking before, taking a class might be a better fit than buying a bunch of wood at the hardware store and trying your best.
The same goes for just about every project you could think of. If you’re novice crafters, but you want to truly DIY something for each other, think about a craft kit instead of starting from scratch. One year, my partner and I got an inexpensive paint-your-own-magnets kit from a craft store, and painted little frog magnets for each other. It wasn’t too hard, we had fun and we both got a cute magnet to put on our fridges!
DIY Movie Night
Listen, going out to the movies can run you a lot of money these days, especially if you buy snacks, a drink, and spring for the 3D movie experience. Luckily, you can recreate the movie magic at home for much less money. Also, snuggling on the couch is way more comfortable than trying to hold hands across the awkward plastic dividers at the movies.
To really bring the movie magic home, stock up on popcorn and all of your favorite snacks. Bulk stores are great for this, where you can buy a few different kinds of candy by weight, not in packages. That way, you can have bowls of all of your favorites without committing to one $8 bag of Skittles at the theater.
For the actual movie, consider a double feature. If you’ve been dating for a while, you know the kind of movies they like, and the kind you like. If they’re the same, you’re in luck! If not, you can choose one of each as a happy compromise for your movie-night-in date.
Board Game Night
If you and your partner are more “Let’s just spend time together,” and less “Valentine’s Day is the most important day of the year!” hosting a board game night for a few other couples could be the perfect date night for you two, and it’s easy to set up.
All you have to do is plan out some snacks, and round up your favorite board games. You can make it an individual board game night by focusing on games where everyone can play alone, or you can pick games that rely on teams - perfect for a little couple vs. couple competition!
To make it even easier, have each couple bring their favorite game and their favorite snack food. That way, everyone gets to play something they’re definitely good at, and munch on something they definitely like to eat. Talk about hosting a great party!
There you have it - four fool-proof ways to enjoy a DIY Valentine’s Date that you’ll remember for a long time without spending all of your money on overpriced chocolates.