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Valentine’s Day is around the corner and for many of us it means spending big bucks on dinners, flowers, and gifts. You may find yourself asking if this is really the best way to celebrate your love for one another. Good news! It doesn’t have to be. There are many fulfilling ways to celebrate the holiday of love that won’t drain your pocketbook, but still bring you and your sweetie a slice of happiness. Here are just a few ideas:

Romantic Movie Marathon: Create a cozy nook with some pillows, a couple of cozy blankets, your favorite sweets and snacks and a selection of the most romantic movies from every era, think Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Titanic, When Harry Met Sally, Pretty Woman. Make it a sleepover in front of the TV to go all out. You’ll fall in love all over again!


Go Dancing: There’s nothing sexier than dancing together, whether that’s in your living room or heading out to a local club where you can salsa or ballroom dance to your heart’s content. Never danced before? Many dance studios will give you a free introductory lesson.

DIY Gifts: A wonderful way to make your V-day gift extra special is to do this homemade. Does he have a favorite football team? Bake him a batch of football shaped cookies decorated in his team’s colors. Try enlarging a photo of you two and buy a frame at local craft store (or make your own). There are so many options from DIY personalized pottery to beer making, your sweetheart will appreciate the effort you put in to make your gift truly personal.

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Relive Your First Date: Whether your first date was a long time ago or just a couple of years, try and recreate your first date from the very beginning. Did he pick you up? If so, have him pick you up for your date even if it’s at your shared home. Did you attend a high school basketball game together? See if you can catch one together at the local high school (they’re either free or only cost a couple of bucks). If your first date was a movie, catch a matinee together (they’re cheaper than evening movies)–or rent the movie you saw together. Maybe you went roller skating? That’s right, pay for your skate rentals and go have a laugh like you haven’t had in awhile. Just don’t break anything!

Winter Romance: Go sledding, skating, snow tubing, snow shoeing, ice fishing, or simply go on a snow hike or build a snowman together. The point is you’re together and enjoying some outdoor fun. Cap it off with cups of hot cocoa and a game of scrabble in front of the fireplace.

Eat Out at Home: Make your favorite meal together and decorate your dining room as if you’re in a high end restaurant, complete with white table cloth and napkins– and deck out the place in a plethora of candles. Throw on some Frank Sinatra and no 5-star restaurant could compete. A fun twist on this is to come up with a dinner theme (Italian, French, etc.), adapt the menu, wine served, music, accordingly.

Host an Indoor Picnic: For most people Valentine’s Day brings cold weather so an outdoor picnic is not an option. But you can have a little Valentine’s picnic indoors instead for a fun twist. Make a yummy picnic-type lunch or dinner complete with picnic basket, blanket and wine, of course. Have a fireplace? Even better! No matter what it will make for an interesting and inexpensive date and you won’t get any bug bites.

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Create Your Own City Tour by Car: Drop the kids off at grandma’s house, grab a Starbuck’s and bring along your favorite or romantic music. Then treat yourselves to a little tour of your city. Drive by historical sights, visit your favorite neighborhoods, find homes you both love and swing by your childhood home or the spot of your first date, if possible. If you have Sirius radio or old CDs you can play your favorite shared songs from different times in your relationship. Cap off the night with a trip to the ice cream shop or grab a dessert to share a favorite restaurant.

Enjoy a Night of Your City’s Freebies: Most cities offer a multitude of free fun that you may not even know about. Do a little research and plan to tap into a few of them. Enjoy a carefree and inexpensive evening of karaoke, darts, pool or trivia night at your local pub. Challenge each other at Monopoly at a board game cafe, check out a free improv night of up and coming talent, take a free yoga class, go to a local jazz club or find a movie or concert in the park.

Cheap Couple Activities: There are so many fun activities people want to try but never seem to have or make the time for. This Valentine’s Day just might be the perfect time! Think mini golf, geocaching, bumper cars, painting pottery, indoor rock climbing, paintball, kite flying, ferry rides, wine tastings at a winery, indoor swimming, sand castle building, or video games at an arcade. The possibilities are endless–and if you’ve been together a while, it will be good for your relationship to break out of the “same old” routine and enjoy each other in a different environment from the local restaurant or bar hangout.

Game On: A little healthy competition is good for any couple. Make V-day a game night. Think Jenga, Scrabble (add in a V-day twist by only allowing sexy or romantic words), the Newlywed game. This is also a great option for a double date.

Celebrate with Your Kids: Whether by choice or default, you may end up spending Valentine’s Day with your kids so make the most of it. Make dinner at home or order heart shaped pizzas. Encourage your kids to dress-up, wear an apron and pretend to be the waitstaff at the “Chez Family” restaurant. Let them pour water in glasses, take orders and bring your food to the table. They’ll have a blast and be entertained while you and your partner get to sit back and let the kids take care of you. If you can swing it, have them do the dishes.

Justin Lavelle is the Communications Director at BeenVerified, a source to check whether your new date is who they say they are. BeenVerified allows individuals to find more information about people, phone numbers, email addresses, property records and criminal records in a way that’s fast, easy and affordable.

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