14 Cheap Valentine's Day Date Ideas For Couples On A Budget, Because You Can't Buy Love

For every Valentine’s Day hater, there’s a romantic who appreciates having a holiday that’s all about showing some love. Even the bitter cold of mid-February can’t chill this lover’s heart. The only problem? Money. Without it, many typical dates — like a weekend getaway or a night at the ballet — are off limits. And don’t even get me started on gifts. So what’s a broke girl to do? Try one of these cheap date ideas, which are way more original than dinner out, and won’t drain your wallet either.

Sometimes it sucks being a couple on a budget, but it’s also a true test of your relationship. If you can’t afford to go to the movies or out for dinner often, you have to get creative and find affordable fun, whether that’s Netflix and PBR or mountain biking. Chances are, you bond a lot more over your Sherlock obsession and that time you face planted on the hiking trail than you would in a restaurant or dark theater anyway.

Don’t let living paycheck to paycheck keep you from having a Valentine’s Day that makes your heart do little flips because it’s so frickin’ happy. Pick one of these activities that prove it’s totally fine (and possibly better) to be a cheap date.

1. Go sledding... or have a snowball fight

You know why being a kid was so fun? Because you had zero money but still had a blast just playing outside. Put on your snow pants and find the perfect sledding hill or a nearby park. When you can't feel your fingers anymore, head inside and make some boozy homemade hot chocolate for two.

2. Play games at an arcade bar

Preferably one where the games are free. But either way, you can scrap up spare change in the name of pinball and Pac-Man. Again, alcohol and childhood nostalgia are a winning combo.

3. Hit up a food truck and explore your city

Fact: Everybody likes food trucks. Find one with cuisine you both agree on (tacos, am I right?) and grab some lunch, then stroll around the neighborhood hand-in-greasy hand.

4. Tour a local brewery or winery

So you both love craft beer or fancy yourselves sommeliers? Go taste beer or wine for the price of tour admission... it beats paying bar prices.

5. Spend a day at the museum

I know, some museums have pretty pricey admission, but not all! I recommend a natural history museum because everyone loves dinosaurs and weird taxidermy collections.

6. Go hiking or snowshoeing

The best part about the great outdoors is that it's free — well, unless you're paying for trail admission at a state park. Still, long hikes are an adventure, and you can always take breaks to make out in the woods. As for snowshoeing, a lot of city recreational departments offer cheap rentals.

7. Head to a roller rink... or roller derby match

Couple's skating is darling, and if you're lucky the rink will have a disco ball to set the retro mood. If you'd rather not fall on your face, get rowdy and go see some local derby girls kick butt instead.

8. Build a fort

Is there anything better than chilling in your very own tent fort? Yes, cuddling in it with your SO. If your fort's big enough, you can even eat a romantic V-Day dinner in there.

9. Spend a day at a flea market

Try on weird kimonos or fur coats, ogle vintage typewriters, and buy each other a quirky token of affection at the end of the day. At flea markets and thrift stores, looking is half the fun.

10. Go to a local concert or comedy show

Going to Taylor Swift's tour is pricey, but going to see an up-and-coming local band is pocket money. Even if you haven't heard of them, why not branch out and support a local artist? If they're bad, just drink beer until they sound better.

11. Find a guided ghost tour

Patrick Swayze probably won't be there, but you can get good deals for these on sites like Groupon all the time. Even if the tour isn't great quality (I went on one in D.C. led by a man in colonial garb), you can make fun of it together.

12. See stars at the planetarium

It was magical for Ross and Rachel, and it can be for you, too. Even though it's probably too cold out to enjoy the real night sky, the planetarium is temperature-controlled, educational, and all-around enjoyable.

13. Sing together at a karaoke bar

If you're not normally karaoke people, use Valentine's Day night as an opportunity to break out of your shells. Take a couple of shots and sing your hearts out during a duet.

14. Have a game night

You might want to make this a double date, depending on what games you want to play, but there's no way to go wrong with a strategy board game (Settlers of Catan!)... or True American.

Images: ©2013 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Greg Gayne/FOX; Giphy (14)