Spending quality time with your sweetheart this Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day on a Shoestring

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

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Valentine's Day is just around the corner. And just in case you've forgotten, it's always celebrated on February 14th. (Now you have no excuse for ignoring it again this year.)

But if you're thinking, "Well, I have no excuse except for the fact that I don't have much money to spend on an elaborate gift or dinner out at a fancy restaurant right now." No worries. Here's a list of inexpensive, and often free, ideas for spending some quality romantic time with your Valentine.

Outdoor Ideas

If the weather outside isn't frightful this time of year where you live, nature's a romantic spot to spend some snuggling time together.

You could always have an exercise date if you're both fitness nuts. Enjoy a brisk walk on a tree-lined lane, a game of Frisbee in the park with your favorite view, bicycling along the waterfront, or a hike to a local destination. One of my favorite things to do is rent a canoe and meander slowly around the local waterways.

For a less physically demanding outdoor idea, slow the pace down and stroll leisurely through the park rather than power-walking. Hold hands, look at the flowers, watch the birds, and listen to the sounds of nature. Go somewhere you haven't been for ages like maybe an arboretum, beach, game reserve, or Japanese gardens.

And don't let a bit of rainy drizzle stop your plans. A romantic stroll under a shared umbrella followed by a cup of coffee or tea in a local coffee shop is definitely a romantic alternative to the typically more expensive dinner and a movie. Plus, most parks are less crowded on rainy days, so you'll have more privacy for your romantic walk.

Even in the winter, it can be fun to wander through the local zoo. Many times the animals are more active this time of year rather than in the summer when they're all hiding in the shade, escaping the summer heat.

Your local newspaper is always a great resource for inexpensive date ideas. Check out the "What's Happening" section for information on local heritage festivals, film showings, street fairs, home tours, fireworks displays, musical events, and county fairs.

Indoor Activities

If it's too cold or wet to spend Valentine's Day outside, try taking a romantic drive together into the countryside, perhaps stopping for coffee and pie at a diner along the way. Mmmm.

Spend the afternoon browsing through antique stores together. Talk about the things you remember seeing in your grandmother's house when you were a child. It's amazing the memories that can come back when looking through things from long ago. You might discover things about your loved one you never knew.

Museums are often a fairly inexpensive way to spend time together. Check around for history and art museums you've overlooked in the past. Many of them have free days, too.

If it's winter in your area and winter consists of sunny skies and palm trees, you might want to consider going ice skating together at the local skating rink. The change in temperature is invigorating, and it's fun to bundle up in a scarf and gloves if it's not something you do very often. Plus, it's always appropriate to hold hands while skating together. Instant romance.

Stay-at-Home Ideas

Breakfast in bed is a fun wake-up on Valentine's Day morning. Maybe cook some heart-shaped pancakes to complete the theme?

You could also have a tea party, just for the two of you with a selection of delicious gourmet teas, a variety of cakes and cookies, romantic music, and some fragrant flowers. They can just be ones picked from the yard. You don't have to go overboard and over-budget with a dozen long stemmed roses.

Try having a picnic in the livingroom by the fireplace. Spread a blanket or tablecloth on the floor, light some candles, pack traditional picnic food items into your picnic basket, and turn on some soft music. Maybe feed each other fresh strawberries.

If you have a series of movies you both enjoy, a movie marathon can be a fun way to spend the day. Stock up on snacks ahead of time, cuddle under a blanket on the couch, and watch a day full of Lord of the Rings, the Matrix, or a variety of romantic comedies. Turn off the ringer on your phone and just spend the day getting lost in the stories together.

Have a happy Valentine's Day!

Deborah Taylor-Hough is the author of the bestselling Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month and A Simple Choice: a practical guide for saving your time, money and sanity. She also edits the Simple Times email newsletter. To subscribe, visit Debi online at: thesimplemom.wordpress.com

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  • Celebrate Valentine's Day the frugal way with these gift and date ideas both your Valentine and your budget will love.

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