Spring may be far away, but love is still in the air. It’s almost St. Valentine’s Day, and that means it’s time to start planning something magical for that special someone in your life. How can you show someone you care without breaking the bank? Here are five low-cost Valentine’s dates you can use to give your sweetheart (and your wallet) a great time!

.) A home-cooked meal

Food is love. It’s one of the most traditional ways to show you care. Paying restaurant prices for it, though, can add up fast. A typical meal out costs an average of $13 per person, excluding tip and drinks. Worse yet, unless you act quickly, getting a table on the 14th may be a non-starter!

Instead, try making a meal yourself. For added fun, try cooking together! The meal will taste better with the knowledge that you made it yourself, and you’ll save the time and expense of going out to a restaurant. If you’re looking for a great place to find that perfect recipe head to our Pinterest page. We have a board dedicated to cooking on a budget that will leave your belly happy and your wallets full.

.) Drive-in Movie

Movies are always a great date idea, but
tickets, drinks and snacks come with a hefty pricetag averaging at $40. Why not head to the local drive-in for a romantic evening. Not only are drive-in’s usually cheaper than regular theater’s, they usually play double features so you get two movies for the price of one. Plus, you’re not rubbing elbows with all the other couples viewing the movie.

.) Picnic a meal

Somewhere between dinner at a restaurant and home cooking
is a pre-packed meal you can take with you to a special spot. Scope out some place with a view, then pack a light fare – sandwiches, cheese and crackers, or even just some fresh fruit and wine. Pack up your blanket, a cute basket and grab your sweetheart. If the weather turns foul, you can even move your impromptu date to the living room or other public indoor space.

.) Make your own gift

Instead of buying a pricey piece of jewelry, frame a nice picture of the two of you or write a meaningful card. These gifts can mean even more then something bought, and are usually the gifts you remember more th
an a life-sized teddy bear or chocolate box. 

.) Learn something new

This doesn’t mean following each other to classes or work for a day, although that might be a great bonding experience. Instead, find a new skill or activity you want to find out about and take a class together. Many colleges offer cooking, dancing and other romantic activities, but learning to play a sport or a fitness class could be a great fit, too. Whatever you choose, be sure it’s something just outside both of your comfort zones! Nothing builds relationships like shared experiences.

Your Turn: What’s your go-to for dates on a budget? Share your best ideas with us in the comments below
or use the hashtag #ValenDIMESday

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