Valentine’s Day is here, and that means it’s time to start planning something special for that special someone in your life. Having the perfect night out doesn't mean you need to break the budget. Here are ten low-cost Valentine’s dates you can use to give your sweetheart (and your wallet) a great time!

    1. A home-cooked meal

    Food is love. It’s one of the most traditional ways to show you care. Paying restaurant prices for it, though, can add up fast. A typical meal out costs an average of $13 per person, excluding tip and drinks. Worse yet, unless you act quickly, getting a table on the holiday may be a non-starter!

    Instead, try making a meal yourself. For added fun, try cooking together! The meal will taste better with the knowledge that you made it yourself, and you’ll save the time and expense of going out to a restaurant. Set the ambiance with some scented candles and soft music, and save a bundle!

    2. Skating

    Get yourself a great workout and have a fantastically fun date by going ice or roller-skating! It’s a chance to be close together and hold hands! Best of all, costs are low, so it’s a bargain-priced way to build memories. You’ll form lasting memories from the bumps and scrapes of falling down, and picking each other back up again will bring you closer than ever.

    3. Check deals on restaurants

    If you are going out to eat, make sure to check Groupon, LivingSocial and RetailMeNot for deals on restaurants near you before making reservations. Some restaurants will even offer special pricing and offers for the holiday - just make sure that you're actually getting a fair price.

    4. Make your own gift

    Instead of buying a pricey piece of jewelry, frame a nice picture of the two of you or write a meaningful card. There are many options to make your own gift that are much more affordable than other gift options and may even have more sentimental value.

    5. Explore the great outdoors

    It may be cold out, but you can still have fun just enjoying the fresh air. Bundle up and take a refreshing walk under the stars. Or, if it's snowy out, build a snowman! Then, go home and warm up in front of the fireplace with steaming mugs of hot chocolate.

    6. Visit a museum

    Get cultured on a budget by taking advantage of a local museum's free or discounted rates at specific times or nights. Don't forget to check for any coupons for ticket entries if you're looking for a specific day to go that falls outside of the free and discounted days.

    7. Picnic a meal

    Somewhere between dinner at a restaurant and home cooking lies a pre-packed meal you can take with you to a special spot. Scope out some place with a view, then pack up light fare – sandwiches, cheese and crackers, or even just some fresh fruit. Pack up your blanket and your basket and grab your sweetheart.

    8. Discount theater

    Movies have always been a traditional date night trope, but a new release at the theater can cost a pretty penny! If you look, you can almost always find a nearby theater playing slightly older movies for much cheaper. You can get the whole theater experience, down to the shared bucket of popcorn, and see a good movie you’ve both been dying to see!

    9. Comedy Club

    Have a rollicking good time at the neighborhood comedy club. Entrance tickets can be as cheap as $5 apiece! You can even provide the tickets as a special holiday gift if the show falls on a date other than Valentine's Day.

    10. Learn something new

    Find a new skill or activity you want to find out about and take a class together. Many communities offer cooking, dancing and other romantic activities, but learning to play a sport or a fitness class could be a great fit, too. Whatever you choose, be sure it’s something just outside both of your comfort zones! Nothing builds relationships like shared experiences.

    How do you save on a date without compromising on the quality of the evening? There are many options to fit the holiday celebration that you had in mind, and they don't have to cost you a fortune!

    Wasatch Peaks

    Written by Wasatch Peaks