We realize it’s not all about work, we know that you have important loves in your life and you want them to feel special.  These are some ideas we found to help you plan a fun date.

COOK TOGETHER

There’s no reason to drop a fortune at a fancy dinner when you can make a meal yourself.

HOST A POTLUCK

Another way to feast without shelling out a ton of cash: inviting friends over for a potluck. It may not be the intimate evening you were hoping for, but sometimes double and triple dates can be just as fun. This can work great with kiddos too. Everyone in the family makes a dish together.

PLAN A THEMED MOVIE NIGHT

If watching whatever rom-com happens to be on TV doesn’t seem exciting enough, plan your own film festival for two or the family! Curate titles based around a specific topic then cozy up on the couch. Bonus points if you pick a snack that fits in with the theme.

GET ARTSY

Drop a few bucks on a pad and some pencils (or art supply of your choosing) and let out your inner artist. Nobody expects you to be Picasso. As anyone who’s seen Titanic can tell you, drawing can be crazy romantic.

HAVE A GAME NIGHT

A little competition could spice up your Valentine’s Day in a big way. Kick it old school and break out the board (or card) games — there are tons of options that aren’t Candy Land if you want something a little more age-appropriate.

DANCE

All you really need to have a romantic Valentine’s Day is a little music.

GO HOUSE-HUNTING

Scoping out potential digs with your partner can be fun and romantic as you imagine your future together. Just don’t, you know, actually buy anything.

HIT A THRIFT SHOP

Head to your local thrift shop, set a price limit, then split up to find each other unexpected treasures. Whatever you go home with will be way more memorable than a box of chocolates or a teddy bear.

PLAY TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE

This game is a fun way to learn even more about the one you’re with. If you’ve never played, the rules are simple: Tell two facts about yourself and one lie. The other person tries to guess which fact is false.

BINGE-WATCH A NEW SHOW

There’s probably a whole list of shows you’ve been meaning to check out, so stop procrastinating and dive right in. If you don’t finish, promise one another you won’t watch another episode without the other person present. (That should really be a standard part of marriage vows, don’t you think?)

READ TOGETHER

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a “go big or go home” holiday. There’s something to be said for just lying on the couch together with a little music and a good book. Consider reading your favorite passages aloud to one another.

DO A PUZZLE

Working with your significant other on a puzzle will keep you entertained for hours without requiring too much energy.

WALK ON THE BEACH

You don’t have to pay a cent to enjoy the sound of waves crashing or the feeling of sand beneath your toes. Weather permitting, a stroll on the beach is one of the best ways to serve up a little romance on a budget.

DINE AT A FOOD TRUCK

Some of the best food in the country is coming out of local food trucks. Dishes are usually available at a pretty low price point, which means you and your sweetheart can fill your bellies without paying through the nose.

VISIT A CANDY STORE

Valentine’s Day is as much about the sweet stuff as it is about romance. Get in touch with your inner kid and visit a local candy store — if you exercise some restraint, you won’t pay much for your haul from the bulk bins.

SHARE A MILKSHAKE

Make it an old-fashioned Valentine’s Day by ordering one milkshake and two straws. You can add a modern twist by seeking out a place that serves boozy shakes or crazy toppings. Either way, don’t forget the cherry on top.

PLAY BINGO

The traditional Bingo game might seem like a bore, but bars across the country are finding ways to throw in a little added excitement. Seek out a place with TV/movie-themed cards or a drag queen host. Cash prizes don’t hurt either.

PLAY MINI GOLF

Playing a round of putt-putt is a sweet and very affordable way to spend Valentine’s Day. Make the stakes a little more interesting by placing a romantic wager on the match.

PLAY TOURIST IN YOUR OWN TOWN

The perfect Valentine’s Day agenda has been right in front of your nose this whole time. Spend the holiday rediscovering the town you two call home. Walk down an intriguing street you pass by on the way to work. Revisit the spot where you had your first date. Stop into that cute ice cream shop you always wanted to try. Everyone has a place like that — why not use V-Day as an excuse to make it happen?

WATCH THE SUNSET

Sunsets (and sunrises, if you’re an early bird) are one of the most beautiful things in the world, and they’re absolutely free. Just be sure to get the timing right or else you’ll miss the show (and all those Instagram opportunities).

HAVE A PICNIC

If winter is keeping you from enjoying the outdoors where you are, indoor picnics can be just as romantic (and you won’t have to worry about insects climbing all over your lunch). Light scented candles and scatter some flower petals to create a park-like ambiance.

RIDE BIKES

Going for a bike ride is both affordable and good for you. Want to test out your teamwork skills? Rent a tandem bike. Just make sure your partner isn’t doing all the work.

VISIT A MUSEUM

What is art? It doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that viewing it will cost you next to nothing. Museum admission prices are usually pretty cheap

GO GADGET-FREE

Most of our days are spent in front of screens, which makes the simple act of turning off your mobile device seem pretty darn romantic. Whatever activity you choose after that doesn’t really matter…the important thing is to enjoy each other’s company without distractions.