Thrifty Valentine’s Day dates for under 20 bucks

Let’s face it, we’re all pretty broke. College is expensive and Valentine’s Day certainly has developed a reputation for expensive expectations. But spending the evening doing simple affordable activities can be just as nice. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on dinner and a movie. Here’s a list of 10 thrifty date ideas for spending quality time—but not your life savings—with your special someone.

1.   Cook dinner together

Cooking a meal together allows you the opportunity to spend time together talking and provides you with an affordable delicious meal.

2.     Go to for a walk on the beach

It may be cold but grab a cup of coffee, bundle up in a warm coat and gloves, and enjoy some beautiful natural scenery.

3.   Go to the Arcade

If you’re into video games and other arcade-style games, Lynnhaven Mall’s Dave and Buster’s is a great place to have a night of fun. In order to play you must buy a Dave and Buster’s card, which charges a $2 activation fee, and you can spend anywhere between $10 and $100 on them. A $10 card gives you 48 chips and a $100 card gives you 750. The games range between 2-12 chips. Buy a $20 card and play games together for a couple of hours.

4.   Go out and split an large sized ice cream or frozen yogurt

Ice cream is a nice way to end a night after a relaxed evening.

5.   Go dancing

Want to wow your partner? Take her dancing! Nothing says romance like an evening of swaying to the music together.

6.     Go to Cinema Cafe

Movies showing in the mainstream theaters can cost a fortune; instead go see a movie that you meant to see but missed—for a much better price!

7.   Go to a nice restaurant and split a meal

Still want to take your special someone out to dinner? Take your significant other to their favorite restaurant and simply split a meal instead of buying your own (and likely not finishing it anyway).

8.   Go Ice Skating

Head to Iceland Skating Center near the Virginia Beach Town Center. Ice skating allows you to talk to each other and is overall a great winter activity. Public skate is 12:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 7:30-9:30 p.m. The cost is $9 for adults, including skate rental.

9.   Have a Dinner and a Game Night

Have “couple friends”? A great way to spend the evening would be to get a few couples together. Each couple will prepare a dinner course (i.e.: one couplewill provide soup or salad, the second couple could provide the main course and the third couple could provide the desert). Throughout the evening as a group you can all travel to each other’s dorms or houses together eating delicious food. Finally, find another friend’s place to end the evening with a game night.

10.  Go to an Art Gallery

Select an art gallery in the area and have a classy evening out admiring wonderful works of art. Colleges usually offer free art galleries; some available and open to the public here in Hampton Roads are The Art Institute of VirginiaOld Dominion University and Tidewater Community College. Unfortunately, the Art Institute and ODU are not open after 5 p.m., but TCC is open until 8 p.m.

Special note: Consider buying a single rose for your date; a bouquet is quite expensive, but a single red rose can be just as romantic.