By Lauren Wong
This story was original posted on Escape With Vagary.
Whether you get excited or dread it, February brings us the season of love. If you’re in a relationship, it’s all about showing your partner how much you appreciate them, and if you’re single, you may feel like the odd one out.
A lot of the time people feel like they have to show their gratitude with an expensive gift or some magnificent gesture, but what about just enjoying one another’s company? So, how about this year we switch it up? No more binging rom coms in your living room filled with empty ice cream tubs and no more breaking your bank with gifts and expensive dinners.
Although those are the usual cliches you hear, I’ve curated two separate lists, one for singles and one for couples, in hopes to spark some creativity in how you spend your day; low-budget addition.
- Picnic Date Night
Personally I’ve always loved the simplicity of a picnic. You can spend the afternoon cooking up your favorite recipes, pick out a pretty park or set off on a short hike to a beautiful outlook. Bring cards (as long as it’s not windy) or any of your favorite games and spend the day enjoying food, the outdoors, and your partner. If you want to add a more romantic twist to your usual picnic, consider doing it at night.Pack up your car with games, snacks, blankets, and pillows. If you have one of those little movie projectors that connects to your phone, bring that too! Drive out somewhere in the middle of nowhere, put your seats down, and set up camp in your open trunk. Bring some candles (if you trust yourself not to knock them over) and lay back and watch the stars. If it’s a cloudy night, you can set up your movie projector while still enjoying the outdoors surrounded by peace and serenity. For an added bonus, cover your set up with some rose petals.
- A Surprise With a Price Limit
Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday this year, celebrate over the weekend. On Saturday you pick the date and on Sunday your partner does. Set up a price limit on what can be spent on this surprise then get to planning! Plan a whole day filled with things your partner loves, little activities he/she likes, possibly a hike outdoors or an inside craft night, cook his/her favorite meal, bring them to a new spot they’ve never seen before and explore, etc. With whatever price limit you guys decide, plan out the whole day and watch as your partner’s face lights up as you go throughout your day. Memories are worth more than materialistic things anyways.
One idea I think would be great for this is creating a scavenger hunt around your town. Set up hints for him/her to find by leaving little notes on where to go next. Each place you pick could have a memory tied to it, so you’re bringing them through all the special places that represent your relationship. Maybe the first location will be where you met, or where your first date took place, maybe the next could be at your favorite coffee shop (have their favorite drink paid for and ready for them when they get there), next could be a spot you guys like to sit and people watch. The options are endless. This is super cheap and with all the effort that goes into this, it’s something they’ll really cherish forever.
- Explore Groupon
One of my favorite things to do is browse Groupon. You can literally find out so many things that you can do in your area that you never would have thought of. Or, if there’s something expensive that you’ve always wanted to do together, maybe you can find a cheap deal for it, or something that’s similar to it. They also offer specials for Valentine’s Day which you can find on their site or app.
- Random Road Trip
This is something that I’ve always wanted to try. Get ready for a day of exploring. Pack water, some snacks, and make sure you’ve got a full tank of gas. You can really spin this idea into any way that you want, but the point is to leave with no set destination. Blast your favorite songs and sing along and when you’re at a fork in the road, flip a coin. Heads means right, tails means left. Keep going until you discover something worth getting out to explore. Spend the day on the open road with the excitement of the possibility of discovering a hidden gem.
- Create Your Own Recipe
Gather up all those ingredients in your fridge that are bound to go bad soon and use them all to create some type of recipe. Whether it’s a disaster or is an actually good dish, write down all the ingredients and how to make it and keep it in your usual recipe book to keep as a memory. Get creative!
- DIY Spa Night
There’s so many recipes out there on google on how to make your own face mask, hair mask, sugar scrubs, etc. Spend a night creating all your own products with your favorite essential oils, or grab out all those sheet masks and other pampering spa stuff that you’ve collected over the years. Do it all!Light some candles, take a bath, lather up in your favorite lotions, put on a face mask you own or make your own, do a hair mask, paint your nails, and anything else to show yourself some love. It’s easier than you think to make your own scrubs. You can gather your friends and try making all your own products then testing them out while sipping some wine and watching a movie.
- Make Your Own Cocktail
Gather up your friends and have everyone bring a type of cocktail. You can decide to keep them holiday themed or go completely random. Make your own concoction or find a unique recipe online that you’ve never tried before and make one drink for every person that is attending. You can also have everyone bring their own sharable dish.With everyone together, you’ll each take turns presenting your drink and tasting everyones. At the end of the night vote on whose was presented best, and whose tasted the best. You can even have everyone chip in a few bucks to pick out a winning prize. If there’s a lot of people joining, just make sure you don’t completely down every drink!
- Make Your Own Photoshoot Background
Don’t want to miss out on those Valentine’s Day IG posts? Create a unique backdrop for photos with your friends. Have your ring light ready to go, hang up a sheet, add whatever you’d like, pick some props up from a Home Goods or Thrift Shop and shoot away. Get crazy with it, no one has to ever see these pics, be goofy and have fun. Bring multiple outfits if you want, do your makeup differently for different set ups, and be confident as you shine that smile for the camera.
- Pick From a Hat
Have all your friends put one idea or a few on a piece of paper and fold them up in a hat. It can be something as simple as a movie night in, or something completely random like makeshift sledding in the AZ heat. I’ve heard that you can make ice blocks to put under sleds and it’ll work going down a grass hill. Personally, me and my friend attempted summer sledding in Illinois by putting baby oil all over our sleds. That technique, I wouldn’t recommend. It ended with us making it, rather slowly, a few feet down the hill and being all oily the rest of the day.Needless to say, the idea is to gather up your ideas and pledge to do whichever one is picked first. You can put the most random ideas in that could end up as a failure, but a good memory to hold on to, or something simple you can do at home. Game nights are always fun too!
You may roll your eyes at all those discounted boxes of chocolate and goods you see in every store window, but why not take advantage of the deals? Spoil yourself this Valentine’s Day. Buy yourself a nice bouquet of flowers, all your favorite snacks, and put on your favorite movie.