5 date ideas for an affordable and romantic Valentine's Day

Want to make an impression on your loved one on Valentine's Day, but don't want to break the bank? You aren't alone.

You're in luck, though. Landmark Bank knows how special Valentine's Day is for many people and the importance of staying on budget. Here are five date ideas to consider for an affordable and romantic Valentine's Day:

1. Cook at home

Having a romantic dinner at a new restaurant is great for ambience, but it can also be expensive. According to Bankrate's Be My Valentine's Index, the average cost of fine dining for two on Valentine's Day is $96.

Add on additional costs for flowers, a box of chocolate, a bottle of champagne and jewelry, the total cost of Valentine's Day may be nearly $580.

Why not cut down on that large bill and cook at home? You and your loved one can plan out a meal, buy ingredients at a grocery store and cook together. Not only is this a much cheaper alternative, but you'll also avoid crowded and loud restaurants.

Heat shaped cookies.Consider cooking and baking with your partner instead of going out for an expensive dinner.

2. Strap on the ice skates

Head out to an ice skating rink for an affordable and romantic time after cooking dinner at home. Ice skating is a timeless classic in the winter because it's relaxing, fun and you're able to enjoy the outdoors if the rink is outside.

The local rink may even offer free admission Feb. 14. If so, you'll want to arrive early because other couples have the same idea. 

3. Watch a movie

With so many streaming options available, why not stay inside and watch a movie?

New content is released regularly, so it's easy to find something to watch with your loved one. Throw in a home-cooked meal and dessert and your Valentine's Day can be relaxing, stress free and inexpensive.

But you don't have to limit your movie watching to the comforts of your couch. Catch a movie at a local theater. With the Academy Awards approaching, Valentine's Day is an opportunity see one of the films up for best picture, such as "Moonlight," "La La Land" or "Manchester by the Sea."

If you plan to head to the theater, try to arrive at a time where you snag tickets at matinee prices. Some theaters may offer reduced prices already since Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday this year. Others may even offer additional amenities for couples watching a movie on this romantic day.

4. Go on a road trip

Consider delaying your romantic celebration until the weekend of Valentine's Day. A small weekend getaway is the perfect opportunity to explore a new city with your loved one at a reasonable cost. Because it isn't peak travel season, hotels or bed and breakfast locations may offer attractive deals on lodging.

Make sure to adjust your budget accordingly to account for a weekend trip and its associated costs, such as gas or airfare.

Don't underestimate the pleasures of a weekend getaway with your loved one, even if it's only for a few days. When you come back, you'll feel refreshed enough to power through the remainder of winter.

Couple ice skatingConsider ice skating with your loved one on Valentine's Day.

5. Have a cheap night out

If you and your loved one are intent on going out for Valentine's Day but don't want to ruin the budget, plan a night out but purposely find cheap alternatives.

Instead of eating at a restaurant with a $200 prix fixe dinner, eat somewhere where a meal for two won't cost more than $30. Then mix in cheap or free activities, such as ice skating, an inexpensive movie showing or visiting a museum offering free admission.

Valentine's Day has become a holiday loved and despised by many. Couples enjoy the day because of its romantic significance, but there's also pressure to have the perfect night, which some couples believe means spending large amounts of money.

You don't have to break the bank to show your appreciation and love for your partner. Make this Valentine's Day a fun and affordable one by choosing to cook at home, ordering cheap food or going on a weekend trip.

For more information about smart ways to manage your finances, contact Landmark Bank.

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