Plan a romantic picnic on the beach instead of shelling out for that pricey waterfront restaurant.
Whether you're celebrating Valentine's Day or just want to spend some quality time with your partner, keep your budget in check with one of these fun date nights that won't put a strain on your wallet.
1. Local tasting events. From wine tastings to tapas restaurants hosting sampling hours, a tasting event can be a fun way to try something new and even meet new people together. Check your local wine bars, tapas restaurants and other up-and-coming dining destinations for tasting menu events and small plate dining options. These can be a budget-friendly alternative to a multicourse meal for an evening and also give you a chance to sample new types of cuisine and beverages.
2. Happy hour at home. If you both enjoy meeting up for happy hour on some nights of the week, host your own at home and invite other couples to join the fun. The cost of homemade drinks and snacks will be significantly lower than a restaurant bill, and you can be creative with your drinks and recipes. Encourage guests to bring their own snacks and drink mixers for a unique menu.
3. Evening bike ride. Watch the sunset and explore the town or city after hours with a leisurely bike ride. "This can be a great workout and will give you a chance to explore your neighborhood from a new perspective," says Johnny Lam, a certified cycling instructor and founder of bike touring blog Milestone Rides. "Take a look at a map for any bike-friendly stops along the way, and make sure to bring along the camera to capture the moment."
4. Day at a museum. If you have an afternoon off, take a tour of an art museum or science museum together and seek out discounts on daily deals sites or free admission days. Some museums also participate in free museum month where you can jump around to different venues without paying any admission fees. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders can participate in the Museums on Us program where cardholders get free general admission to 150 museums around the country on the first full weekend of the month. This can be a fun and educational event for both of you; grab lunch at a local cafe or find a deal from Groupon or LivingSocial for a discounted meal for two to round out your day.
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