Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive — and it doesn’t have to be about romantic love. My favorite thing about Valentine’s Day is that you can celebrate it however you want, or even have an anti-celebration. If you hate the whole shebang, you can wear all black and throw an anti-Valentine’s Day party for all of your fellow haters. If you’re like me and you love love, you can find ways to celebrate it, whether you’re single or partnered. And maybe one of my favorite ways to recognize the day is by having a cheap Valentine's Day celebration with friends.
At different points in my life, I’ve interpreted Valentine’s Day in totally different ways. On more than one single year, I've made love notes for all of my friends. One year in college, I was trapped in a snow storm in rural New York and my boyfriend at the time and I made cocktails from cheap white rum and Emergen-C, because that’s all we had on hand. And one of my most memorable Valentine’s Days was when my current partner rented a scooter and drove me to different activities around Guatemala that followed the theme “different is good,” because he and I are super different people. It ended in him buying me a sewing machine, which is the most thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift I’ve ever gotten.
As you can see, I’m firmly pro-Valentine’s Day. But I don’t think it has to be a cookie cutter holiday starring an expensive meal and long-stem red roses. And while I do think it should be about love, I don’t think it has to be about romantic love. So with that in mind, here are 11 cheap AF things to do with your BFF this Valentine’s Day.
1Have A Sleepover
Is there anything sweeter than a friend sleepover? This fave activity from elementary school can absolutely be done with grown-up adjustments. Pull up your favorite friend movies, grab a bottle of wine, and swipe through Tinder together in your PJs. Best part? You don’t have to worry about make up, hair, or any outfits, because you know your BFF loves you just the way you are.
2Do A DIY Spa Day
This one has two parts: Making the beauty products and then trying them out! Pick a couple of DIY recipes to try, whip them up, and then have fun pampering yourselves. Check out this super easy body scrub, this all natural face mask, and this delicious hair mask, all of which can be made with ingredients in your kitchen and a few cheap additions.
3Cook Each Other A Romantic Meal
Who says romantic meals are just for couples? Plan a menu of your favorite foods, set the table with your nicest linens, whip out the tall candles and flowers, and have a full-on friend date. Bonus points for getting dressed up for each other and cheesy, personalized champagne toasts.
4Make Homemade Valentines For Your Other Friends
Spread the love around by whipping out your crafting supplies and making personalized, homemade valentines for all of your friends. It’s a great way to remind yourself why your friends are important to you, all while hanging out with your bestie. Plus, who doesn’t love a friend love note??
Another form of love is giving your time and energy to those in need. Pick a cause you both care about — like the local women’s rape crisis center or the animal shelter, for example — and sign up to volunteer for the day. You’ll be helping people (or animals) in need while hanging out with your best friend and at the end of the day you’ll both feel great.
6Create A Friendship Scavenger Hunt
If you’re the type who really, really loves your BFF, create a friendship scavenger hunt! Places clues around your town that are related to your friendship and watch as they work their way through it. I recommend ending at favorite restaurant, bar, or cafe so you can enjoy some refreshments together at the end.
7Have A Craft Day
One of my favorite things to do (solo and with friends) is make things with my hands. If you already have a project you’re working on, have a living room party with your BFF and chat while you work. And if you don’t, check out the DIY section of Now That’s Pretty for inspiration.
8Go For A Hike
If you and your BFF are outdoorsy types, head out for a hike. Spending a full day in nature is reinvigorating, beautiful, and fun. Or if you’re not so into the strenuous hike, find a low-impact nature walk near you and check it out. I recently spent the day at some amazing tidal pools near my house for a friend’s birthday and it was incredible.
9Have A Picnic
Picnics are a classic cheap, fun friend activity. For a cheap AF option, go to your regular grocery store and stock up on stuff that’s on sale. But if you’re feeling like treating yourselves a little bit, it’s still pretty cheap to buy a few delicious things from the fancy place you usually avoid because it eats up half your pay check. If it's cold out, make it an indoor picnic.
10Check Out A Sex Positive Sex Shop
Valentine’s Day isn’t just about love; it’s also about sex! Now, I’m not suggesting that you have sex your BFF — that’s a different friendship situation. But if it’s an option where you live, why not head to a local sex-positive sex shop and buy some toys? And if it’s not an option, check out the wide array of offerings from Unbound, my personal favorite woman-run online sex shop. (Pro tip: They’re offering a free vibe for a friend if you buy their new, amazing, Squish vibrator.)
Another reason to love Valentine’s Day: sweets! But don’t waste your money on overpriced chocolates from the shop. Instead, have a BFF baking day. Pick a few of your favorite sweets and get baking! Your house will smell delicious and you can groan away together after pigging out. I suggest giving this Frosted Sugar Cookie Cake from Julie Blanner a try.
See? There are so many possibilities for Valentine’s Day! Pick one or more from this list and have so, so much fun on February 14.