Having A Romantic Date (on Valentine’s Or Throughout The Year) When You Are Flat Broke

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How to Have a Romantic Day (or Night) Date When You Are Flat Broke

The cool part about going thrifty for a special date is that you’ll get to celebrate by doing something unique, memorable and outside-the-box. Skip the flowers and candy and opt for true romance and intimacy instead.

Some of my favorite memories aren’t about the gifts at all.  They’re about the experience!

valentine's day on a budget

We can fantasize about diamonds and roses every day of the week but you and I both know that’s not realistic and well, just crazy!  Also, think about it, it’s kind of boring.  There are many times in life when we need to be cost conscious. Don’t let that deter you from celebrating a special day together.

I love finding ways to capture the romance and spend time together while saving money; being smart doesn’t make you cheap.

A date (whether on Valentine’s day or throughout the year) is the time you get to tell your significant other how much you care. It never was meant to be extravagant nor does it require gifts with a hefty price tag.

I think you’ll be surprised to find that with a little creative effort, you can have a memorable date night  whether you have money to spend or not. The gesture and sentiment will last a lot longer than those flowers or diamonds, I promise!

Here are a few of my favorite ideas to help you have a romantic date whether you’re flat broke or simply trying to save a few bucks:

Classic Candlelight Dinner

Don’t underestimate how romantic this can be. It doesn’t matter what the meal is but knowing someone cares enough to prepare the table and prepare a meal goes straight to the heart, especially if you’re not the one who usually does the cooking. Trust me, they know how much work goes into throwing it all together and will appreciate it.

Candlelight sets the mood for a romantic evening ahead.  No Budget or time for a big dinner, a candle lit breakfast or desert can be just as romantic when shared with someone you care deeply about.  

romantic candle light

Picnic Fun

Picnics are cute, thoughtful and fun and almost always are a big hit. Take it to the park if the weather permits or rearrange the livingroom for a picnic surprise.

Serve up picnic foods, a bottle of wine or sparkling water and focus on connecting through relaxation and good conversation. 

romance on a budget

Play Hooky

What better gift than to let your spouse off the hook and skip work for the day. Take the day together to do something you normally miss out on because you’re at work, binge watch your favorite show or just stay comfy cozy in bed all day.

This will be the most fun; and may end up being a regular tradition. I dare you to call in!

romantic play

Have Fun on Purpose

Oftentimes we get so busy doing life that we forget to take the time to unwind and simply have fun. Try something new or spend time doing something you enjoy and never get enough time for; whatever it is, do it together.

Video games, hiking and city tours are great choices even if it’s not really your type of thing.

romantic date with dog

Dance the Night Away

Turn your living room into a dance floor. Print freebie romantic décor online (it’s okay, you can be cheesy), adjust the lighting and turn on some mood music. Dancing can be energizing, stress relieving, both sensual and intimate.

Even if you’re not great at it, it’s a wonderful opportunity to practice with your spouse in the comfort of your own home. Don’t knock it till you try it! 


Find the Free Stuff

Most major cities have plenty of free stuff to do within your community all year long; take advantage of it. Print romantic cards online for free, write a heartfelt love letter or poem, pick some wildflowers or renew your vows (even if it’s just the two of you).

Spend a little extra time learning about your city and I’ll promise you’ll find a hidden gem or two in there.

free night life

Still need some great FREE ideas?  Check out our post here.  30 Ways to not spend a dime are listed for you there!

Our favorite romantic holidays and dates are often highly commercialized; don’t be misled into believing you need to buy more things just to show someone you care. Your time and attention will always be the best gift of all!

Can You Date If You Are Poor?

Just because you are currently broke doesn’t mean that you can’t go on a date or even regularly date someone. You certainly can date if you are poor, you just have to look at it differently than most people might think. The world around us has conditioned us to believe that only rich people deserve nice experiences but, as always, reality doesn’t match up so well with perception.

If you’re looking for inexpensive date ideas or activities, try thinking outside the box.

While attending concerts has been proven to bring couples closer together, sometimes being able to see music live takes quite the financial toll. Luckily, there are tons of other ways to experience music these days, including online services such as Spotify Premium and YouTube Live. Even better, you could host parties virtually through Zoom (or any video call app) instead of traveling across town or spending a small fortune to get into a concert.

That way, you get all the benefits of seeing shows, but without paying so much.

And speaking of finances, one thing to remember about cheap dates is that they shouldn’t include buying anything new. Instead, go old school by taking advantage of discounts available in stores. Take your partner to a farmers market where produce is sold for next to nothing, or hit up thrift shops for used clothing items.

Not only will you save money, but you’ll also find unique finds perfect for impromptu outfits. Just make sure to check prices before you buy anything because you may end up getting ripped off otherwise.

You can also take part in community service projects as a fun date idea.

VolunteerMatch lists opportunities in every state, each of which includes hours needed and donation requirements. There are loads of local organizations offering volunteer work throughout the country too.

If you want to stay away from crowds and spend time with someone special, consider booking a dinner cruise. These cruises often offer wine tastings, musical performances, dancing, comedy acts, cooking demonstrations, classes and other fun activities. Cruises usually cost less per person compared to hotels, restaurants, amusement parks and events. Some also allow guests to choose between different itineraries based on their preferences.

Check out CruiseCritic for information on specific trips. Or, use websites like GetMyBoat to discover boat rentals in various locations. Once you pick one, book it right away since boats fill quickly.

Make sure to prepare a checklist of everything you actually want to accomplish on the trip, whether you’re cruising, eating, drinking, playing games or whatever else interests you. Afterward, compare notes and come up with suggestions for future outings.

The same goes for museum visits and tours. They’re typically cheaper than admission fees to concerts or sports games and provide educational entertainment. Try searching tour groups for certain places in your area to learn more.

Also, ask locals for recommendations for the best spots to visit, such as local attractions or eateries.

How To Be Romantic When You Are Broke

Unfortunately, not everyone gets to attend fancy dinners or travel overseas. But don’t despair! With creativity, you can still create memorable dates with the ones you love.

Here are a few simple yet effective ideas to start brainstorming now.

Take Turns Picking Plans

This idea works particularly well if you both like spontaneity. Give your significant other control over planning a weekend outing, then let them surprise you with tickets to the event of their choosing. It gives you both freedom to explore your city independently or meet up somewhere far away for peace and quiet.

You can also set aside “coffee dates” where you plan to hang out in cafes rather than having someone wait for you. Of course, if you really prefer privacy, stick to virtual coffee meetings.

Make reservations ahead of time. Booking a table at a restaurant can be stressful. Rather than stressing about making that choice, focus on another aspect of the evening. Ask your waiter/waitress what would make your meal extra enjoyable, then take note of his/her answer.

Next, research nearby dining options using apps like Zomato, OpenTable, SeatGeek, etc., and request reservations accordingly. Then, discuss the details once you arrive.

Go Shopping Together

Buying gifts for your loved one can be expensive, but you can opt to shop online instead or even visit thrift stores, garage sales, etc. Sites like Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Aliexpress, Wish, and more all give users access to thousands of products offered directly to shoppers and at a variety of price points. Many of these companies ship purchases nationwide, meaning you can order from anywhere and receive delivery straight to your doorstep.

To avoid impulse buys, set a limit and then buy something for each other. Make it special and unique while not breaking the bank. You can also support smaller business owners by giving them feedback on their product pages.

Buy Groceries Together

Grocery shopping can definitely add up. However, you can limit unnecessary expenses by deciding what foods you already purchase regularly and sticking to those choices. That way, you won’t be tempted to splurge unnecessarily on added extras.

Plus, if you split the bill among yourselves, you’ll pay significantly less overall.

You are going to buy groceries anyway so why not turn it into a fun date and time together?

Create DIY dates

Do your own version of speed dating. Go grocery shopping together and cook meals you wouldn’t normally eat. Or, pick a movie from Netflix and bake cupcakes together. Don’t forget to treat yourselves either.

Maybe share dessert first, then munch on little snacks throughout the movie. Afterwards, play board game nights or watch funny movies until late at night.

What To Do On A Date If You Are Broke

No matter how frugal you may be, you probably still have questions related to what to do on a date. So, we got you covered with suggestions on what to do if you simply run out of options.

Plan A Picnic

Picnic lunches are great solo dates. Simply pack a bag with sandwiches, fruit, chips, drinks and desserts and head outdoors to relax under trees or in the sun. Bring along blankets and pillows to snuggle up with while enjoying your food and beverages.

Alternatively, you can throw a potluck party with friends and family members. Each guest brings a dish and beverage, thus reducing costs.

Volunteer At A Shelter

While doing good deeds sounds noble, it can also be exhausting. However, donating your time and energy to causes greater than yourself can be extremely fulfilling. In fact, studies show that altruism is linked to happiness levels.

Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen or animal rescue facility as a couple. Visit shelters in your neighborhood and chat with staff about why they started helping others. Then, donate items to raise funds for the cause or join forces to organize fundraisers.

Host A Virtual Cocktail Party

Hosting a virtual gathering can be difficult, but you can overcome this challenge easily with technology. Use platforms like Google Hangouts or Skype to invite guests. Share recipes, decorating ideas, travel destinations and similar topics of interest.

Set a theme and dress code. Have fun and bond over cocktails or nonalcoholic drinks (depending on your preference)

Spoil Someone Random

Surprise someone close to you with a gift that reflects their personality. Pick flowers randomly from bushes, drop cards anonymously in mailboxes or leave wrapped presents inside boxes placed around the house. This is a cute way to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays or Valentine’s Day.

Send Handwritten Letters

Sending snail-mailed messages can be costly. Although digital correspondence is faster and easier, penning heartfelt words via postcards, envelopes or stationary can lift spirits. Write short stories or poems about your day and attach a photo of you two holding hands.

Send it to your sweetheart and hope that he/she opens it immediately.

Watch Rom Coms Together

Rent films from streaming platforms or download them onto your smartphones or tablet and watch out under the stars. Watch them together and talk about what you liked about the film. Keep talking about them later, too.

Hannah R

Hi, my name is Hannah and I'm the founder of Barefoot Budgeting. This site is dedicated to one thing... helping you! Whether it is making a budget, saving money using DIY projects, or even saving by helping you with my favorite recipes I will cover it all! If it helps you save money in your life I want to help!

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