10 Ways to Save This Valentine’s Day


Need help figuring out a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day that doesn’t involve cashing in your kid’s college fund or taking out a payday loan? Don’t worry. We got you covered. Here are ten great ways that you and your bae can have a romantic Valentine’s Day on the cheap!

1. Give Your Partner a Break From Parenting

Raising kids is a pretty exhausting experience. So why not give your spouse the gift of getting away from their parental duties—if even just for a few short hours?

“For busy parents, romance isn’t always about sex, so skip the negligee and give a gift they can really use,” says Ann Willets from Mommy’s Time Out Wine. As a great gift for moms, she suggests “a coupon for a foot rub or a relaxing day without the kids.”  And for the dads out there, she sat that “it might be a certificate for a day on a fishing boat with friends or taking the kids out so he can watch a game without any interruptions.”

Willets also points outs that any of these gifts would pair well with a bottle of Mommy’s Time Out Delicious Red or Dad’s Day Off Chianti. We couldn’t agree more!

2. Give the Gift of Service!

If you’re looking to have a romantic, heartfelt time with a partner, why not spend time giving back to your community together? Accord to dating and relationship expert Hunt Ethridge, “One of the things that keeps relationships strong and fresh is creating new memories. And when you can do good things as well, it only adds to the strength.”

Etheridge suggests that couples “go volunteering together. Soup kitchens always need help. Or you can help build a home with Habitat for Humanity if you are good with your hands.” And it doesn’t have to be through an official not-for-profit organization either.

“It can also be something as simple and fun as planting flower seeds all over town,” says Etheridge. “You can’t help but feel good and enjoy yourself after a productive day of helping others.”

3. When it Comes to Babysitters, Be Early or Be Creative

If you’re thinking about getting a babysitter so that you and your spouse can enjoy a romantic night on the town, just remember that everyone else is probably thinking the same thing.

“Don’t wait for the last-minute to arrange a sitter if you’re planning a night out,” says Willets. “They’re in high demand on Valentine’s Day.” Waiting until the last minute could be like trying to catch an Uber during rush hour: you can get one, but you’ll have to pay extra.

If you’re still having trouble finding a babysitter, then Willets suggests you “set up a babysitting cooperative with other parents in your neighborhood. Each couple or parent can volunteer one evening a month to watch the kiddies. This “no cost” option ensures you get at least one night a month to keep the romance alive!

Of course, this does mean that someone is going to get stuck watching the kids on Valentine’s Day itself. But that’s easily taken care of. Just make a V-day shift worth two or three additional shifts from other parents in return. That way, whoever chooses Valentine’s Day duty will get extra kid-free time for their troubles.

4. Act Like Kids Again

“Everyone is into nostalgia these days, imagining a ‘better’ or ‘simpler’ time,” says Ethridge. He suggests that you and your partner “embrace the wistfulness by planning a Saturday morning cartoon date.”

“Grab your favorite sugary cereal (mine used to be Cookie Crisp) and your PJs, and head on over to their house,” he says. “Watch old cartoons and kid shows, whether that’s old Bugs Bunny, Smurfs, My Little Pony, Pokemon or Power Rangers.”

And the date doesn’t have to be just sugar highs and cartoons, either. “Talk about being a kid,” says Ethridge. “What did you want to be when you grew up?  Who was your favorite teacher? Did you have a schoolyard crush on anyone?  For a few hours, you can escape the everyday rat race and revel in the fun that life brings.”

5. Play Spy! 

“Turn a boring walk into daring daylight espionage!” says Ethridge. “Everyone fantasizes about being a spy. So go and try it out!”

Here’s how it works, according to Ethridge:

“Find somebody you don’t know or just pick someone on the street and tail them as close as possible for as long as possible. Make up stories about who this person is and the things they’ve done in their life.  Don’t let the mark see you or you lose the game!”

But that’s not all! Ethridge adds that “once you’ve been spotted or you lose your quarry, eat at the closest food place. Whether it’s a convenience store hot-dog or hole-in-the-wall Chinese joint, it’ll make for a memorable meal.”

(This might be Ethridge’s most out—there idea, but that’s what also makes it our favorite.)

6. Enjoy a Night of Your City’s Freebies

“Most cities offer a multitude of free fun that you may not even know about,” says Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer for PeopleLooker.com. “Do a little research and plan to tap into a few of them.”

Some of the activities he lists include enjoying “a carefree and inexpensive evening of karaoke, darts, pool, or trivia night at your local pub.” He also suggests “challenging 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!”

These all sound like great Valentine’s Day dates to us!

7. Get the Kids Involved

If you’re unable to get a babysitter, then you may as well celebrate Valentine’s day in a way that the whole family can enjoy.

Willets says, “If you can’t manage a night without the kids, find ways to include them.” They can “help to set a pretty table, make a special treat and create their own cards.”

When you’re a parent, it’s important to make time for your spouse, but modeling good behavior for your kids is also critical. “This is a great time to show the kids how to express their love for each member of the family, as well as to set an example of how mom and dad love and appreciate one another,” says Willets.

8. Take an Architecture Tour

“Those of us that are lucky enough to be in places with old buildings can see the artistry and talent and their attention to detail,” Justin Lavelle says. “Take an architectural tour of your town or one nearby. “Learn the local history of any of the buildings. See if you can find the coolest one in town, and fantasize about what you would do if you lived there.”

Lavelle suggests that you can also try this DIY. “Drop the kids off at grandma’s house, grab a Starbucks, bring along your favorite or romantic music, then treat yourselves to a little tour of your city,” he says. “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).”

He also mentions that you could “cap off the night with a trip to the ice cream shop or grab a dessert to share at a favorite restaurant.”

9. Relive Your First Date!

This is another great idea from Justin Lavelle. “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,” he says.

“Did he pick you up? If so, have him pick you up for your date even if it’s at your shared home,” says Lavelle. “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.”

“Maybe you went roller skating? That’s right, pay for your skate rentals and go have a laugh like you haven’t had in a while,” he says, adding “just don’t break anything!”

10. Be a Seat Filler and See Shows for Less

Here’s a great idea for escaping the Valentine’s Day rat race altogether. Give your spouse or partner the gift of an On The List (OTL) Seat Filler Membership.

Network members can get free tickets to shows and plays across your local area (just make sure to check their website to see what areas they cover). For the cost of your very affordable monthly dues, you get invited to attend shows that still have tickets available.

According to Lu Ann Wall from World Wide Seats, a select provider for OTL, “Seat Filler Membership Gifts provide the gift recipient with all-inclusive access to reserve tickets to shows as they pop up. Members also bring their guest(s), as they can reserve 2-4 comp tickets to each event they’re interested in attending.”

“Not only is it fun to see what pops up and be introduced to some new entertainment,” she adds, “but to be able to reserve tickets without paying for them is the icing on the cake!”

Instead of only one date on Valentine’s Day, a Seat Filler Membership would be giving your partner the spouse of many dates to come!

Visit SeatFillerNetwork.com to learn more.

If you have a great date idea of your own, let us know! Hit us up on Twitter at @OppLoans and Facebook with your favorite budget date night activities!

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Hunt Ethridge






About the Contributors: 

Hunt Ethridge is an award-winning dating and relationship expert with over a decade of experience helping people become the best, most dateable versions of themselves. While the focus of his coaching is on making someone empirically more dateable, the lessons learned translate very easily into personal and professional lives. The emphasis is on confidence building, leadership, image & style, conversation skills, reconnecting with fun and more. To read his advice articles, go to HuntForAdvice.com.

Justin Lavelle is the Chief Communications Officer for PeopleLooker.com. PeopleLooker is a leading source of online background checks and contact information. It helps people discover, understand and use public data in their everyday lives and can provide peace of mind by offering a fast, easy and affordable way to do background checks. PeopleLooker allows individuals to find more information about people, phone numbers, email addresses and property records.

OTL (On the List), now with 21 U.S. locations and London (13 of them managed by WW Seats and the others by Audience Resources), encourages members to unplug and be social again by introducing them to amazing local entertainment. Despite the online membership and reservation system, a few team members (well… actually 4 out of 5) are self-proclaimed “technophobes” but have acquired and mastered new skills, all in the pursuit of offering fun “offline” activities.

Ann Willets is the PR representative for Mommy’s Time Out Wine, as well as a mother and grandmother.

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