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17 Last-Minute Valentine's Day Date Ideas That Won't Drain Your Wallet

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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. So what’s a broke person to do? Try one of these cheap Valentine's Day date ideas, which are way more original than dinner out, and won’t drain your wallet either.

Sometimes it sucks being a on a budget, but it’s also a true test of your relationship. 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 Power 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 & Explore Your City

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Fact: Everybody likes food trucks. Find one with cuisine you both agree on (tacos) 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

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

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Couples' 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 partner. If your fort's big enough, you can even eat a romantic Valentine's Day dinner in there.

9. Spend A Day At A Flea Market

Try on ridiculous 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?

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 or LivingSocial all the time. Even if the tour isn't great quality, 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. Host A Game Night

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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.

15. DIY Spa Night

Want to get pampered, but for free? Bust out the tranquil music, cucumbers, face masks, and moisturizer, and then take turns giving each other massages in a candle-lit room. Bonus points if you each BYOB (bring your own bathrobe).

16. Have A Movie Marathon

Watching one movie is a typical Friday night, but two or three movies? That's a special occasion, and there's no better time than Valentine's Day to catch up on the Oscars-nominated movies you never saw or dig into a new franchise together.

17. Create Your Own Bar Crawl

Have an adventure for a low-cost. First, come up with road map of where you'll go based off a theme — dive bars, bars with live music, bars with games, bars on the same street, etc — and then set a rule, like 30 minutes at each bar or one drink per bar, and get ready for a fun night.

A good date has so little to do with how much was spent and has everything to do with how you connected with your partner. And with a little creativity, you may even find that a cheap Valentine's Day date is the best kind there is.

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