Written by Spotloan

Valentine’s Day 2021 is fast approaching, and it has left many of us wondering how to make the holiday special on a budget. With the pandemic adding an additional level of difficulty, a lowkey Valentine’s Day celebration is pretty much a necessity. And thankfully, low-key usually translates to budget-friendly, too. From DIY decor and homemade dinners and desserts to themed movie and game nights, there are plenty of ways to make Valentine’s Day special on a budget. Read on for a breakdown of our favorites.

How Can I Make Valentine's Day Special on a Budget?

If you are wondering about how you can save money this Valentine’s Day, check out our list of four suggestions to make this a memorable celebration without breaking the bank.

1. Cook Dinner Together for a Low-Cost Valentine’s Day

In 2019, the average cost for a romantic dinner for two was over $100. Despite what we’ve been led to believe all our lives, it is possible to save money and eat well all at once. Cooking a romantic dinner together at home will cost a fraction of the price compared to dining out. Get dressed up, if that’s what you usually do, to make it feel more like Valentine’s Days passed. Just remember to slap on an apron, or do the cooking first and then change.

Or if you’re looking to add an extra level of coziness to the occasion, put on your favorite pajamas instead. Throw a blanket over your shoulders, pull on your favorite robe, or warm your feet with the warmest and fuzziest socks you own. February is one of the coldest months of the year, but that just means that we have the chance to make it one of the coziest months, too. Make a playlist of romantic songs or other melodies that you both enjoy, light candles around the house, and block out the rest of the world for the night.

2. Choose a Fun and Low-Cost Valentine’s Day Dessert to Make Together

After you’ve enjoyed a delicious, rewarding, and budget-friendly home-cooked meal, consider making dessert together, too. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans who celebrate Valentine’s Day spend an annual $1.8 billion on candy, an average cost of $15.89 per box. You can find recipes for everything from cake and candy to doughnuts and heart-shaped danish on Pinterest. Many of these recipes will cost a third of the price to make at home, and some of them may even use ingredients that you have at home already, eliminating the extra cost entirely. Trust us, heart-shaped cookies and rice krispie treats taste significantly better when they’re homemade.

3. Craft Some Decor Using Low Cost Items to Make the House More Valentine’s Day Festive

Valentine’s Day 2021 falls on a Sunday, so you can make a day of the holiday rather than waiting for the workday to be done. DIY decorations are a great way to get the festivities going. Keep it simple by cutting red hearts out of construction paper to string together and dangle across the walls, or take it an extra step and break out your paint supplies. There are step-by-step painting and craft tutorials on Pinterest that range in difficulty from simple but colorful hearts carved into trees to romantic and beachy sunset landscapes. 

If you have young children at home, consider including them in the crafting activity. Valentine’s Day is about family too, and your kids might appreciate the opportunity to help make a special craft for mom and dad.

4. Make it a Valentine’s Day Themed Movie or Game Night

Now that you’ve crafted, decorated, cooked, and devoured, it’s time to wind things down. Grab some popcorn or a plate of the desserts you made, and get ready to get cozy. Choose your mutual favorite movie or the first one you watched together to keep it on theme. Popular movies for the holiday of love include Valentine’s Day, Love Actually, The Notebook, and more. Just do an online search for the best Valentine’s Day movies and you’ll receive plenty of suggestions.

If a game night is more your speed, grab your favorites and settle in. With a deck of cards, you can play just about any game imaginable. Consider teaching yourselves a new game by searching YouTube for instructions.

You can also try something new and print out a Valentine’s Day-themed scavenger hunt or create your own. This is an easy and exciting activity for whimsical adults or couples with kids. When you’re tired out, break out old photo albums and give Valentine’s Day 2021 the ending it deserves with a stroll down memory lane.