10 Fun (and Affordable) Valentine’s Day Ideas

It’s finally February which means it’s finally the month of love! Whether you’re planning a date with a significant other or looking for something fun to do with your friends, I’ve compiled a list of 10 nontraditional and low-cost ideas that are sure to make your day memorable. 

  1. Dinner and Drive

Instead of eating in a restaurant, have a car picnic! String fairy lights up, create the perfect playlist and find somewhere scenic to park. After you eat, drive around and enjoy the time to talk and sing along to your favorite songs. 

  1. Fancy for No Reason

Most people dress up fancy to go to a nice restaurant but what if you dressed up in luxurious clothes to go eat at a fast-food restaurant? Get glammed up with your S.O. or a group of friends then hit up the local Taco Bell or Chick-Fil-A. For the reverse, order takeout from an expensive restaurant, pick it up in your comfiest clothes and then eat it on your couch. 

  1. Decadent Desserts

The best part of any Valentine’s Day is the dessert. Instead of dropping loads of money on the meal, eat a simple dinner then go all out to satisfy your sweet tooth. Whether you make a charcuterie board of cookie dough, have a buffet of different cupcakes, or create your own sundaes—make sure to splurge and enjoy every bite. 

  1. Funky Clothes

Establish a small budget, and go shopping for each other at a thrift store. If it’s a group, draw names out of a hat to decide who is shopping for whom. Wear whatever is picked out for you on your outing. If you’re feeling brave, try and pick out the wackiest outfits for each other. Have fun putting together funky outfits and enjoy wearing something you wouldn’t normally wear. 

  1. Pamper and Relax

Valentine’s Day falls in the middle of the semester, which means everyone is starting to stress. As our workloads increase, it is easy to let self-care fall to the back burner. Use Valentine’s Day to love on yourself and plan a spa day for you and whoever you are celebrating with. Dim the lights, put on a face mask, paint your nails, put cucumber slices over your eyes, and play relaxing music in the background. 

  1. Bowling 

Instead of the traditional date of going to the movies, go bowling. Unleash your competitive side and be prepared to fight for the title of “Champion Bowler.” Don’t let the competition stop you from laughing at gutterballs! 

  1. Coffee and Sunshine

Many people wait and celebrate Valentine’s Day at dinner but if you want to switch it up, make morning plans. Wake up early to go watch the sunrise on the boardwalk then grab breakfast on your way back to campus.  

  1. Smoothies and Skate

If you want a date idea that allows you to move, take a trip to a park, and grab smoothies or Boba teas on your way. Whether you skateboard, walk, bike, or run, use this idea to disconnect from your phone and enjoy the opportunity to be out in nature. 

  1. Dress as Each Other

Even if you plan a traditional dinner date/outing for Valentine’s Day, spice it up by switching aesthetics. Dress as whoever you are going with and have them dress as you. It’s a fun way to see how people perceive your style and gives you an opportunity to channel your friend’s vibes. 

  1. Board, Card, & Video Games

Games are a great way to get to know people and with so many different options, you’re sure to have a fun time. You could go the nostalgic route and play Sorry! or Uno, or play a newer game like Exploding Kittens. Or, find a game no one has played before and learn how to play together. To spice things up, have a prize, like a gift card or candy bar, for whoever wins!

As you prepare for Valentine’s Day, I hope you can use these ideas as a springboard to plan a fun day for yourself and anyone you choose to celebrate with! While there is always a heavy emphasis on romantic relationships around Valentine’s Day, don’t forget about the sweet love shared by good friends. Any of these ideas can be used for friends or groups who want to celebrate their love for each other and spend time together on the Day of Love.


Emilee Speier

Emilee Speier is a senior studying journalism and criminal justice. In addition to working at the Daily Runner, she has also completed internships with Lifeway Christian Resources and the Virginia Beach General District Court.