Let’s just put it out there: we are on a budget diet. Between the holiday season and one of us having an unfortunately timed January birthday, we’re doing our best to rebuild our savings little by little. Instead of feeling the pressure to go all out, we’ve decided to challenge ourselves to plan the cheapest, most fun Valentine’s Day ever. Whether you’re single or taken this February 14th, steal some of our tips to spread the love!

  • Relive your childhoods with a family game night. Take turns picking which game to play (and no, I won’t complain if he chooses Star Wars Monopoly).
  • Be eco- and budget-friendly by visiting the greeting cards section and picking out the cards you would have given each other. Exchange them in the store and go on your merry way. For added stakes, set a two-minute timer and try to find the funniest, cheesiest or raunchiest card you can find — winner gets bragging rights until next February.
  • Complete a mystery box challenge à la Masterchef and choose five random pantry items for your partner (or yourself), with which you must make your best restaurant-quality dish. No skipping the taste test, no matter how unappetizing it might look.
  • Instead of rejecting all the mushy language surrounding Valentine’s Day, in the week leading up to it, put a quarter (or other amount) into a change jar anytime you hear the words love, Valentine, Cupid or heart. By the end of the week you could probably fly to Paris with all the money you’ve saved.


  • Be a Mid-Ohio Valley tourist: We get so used to living near all this history, we forget to appreciate it. The Campus Martius Museum, Ohio River Museum, Toy & Doll Museum, Oil & Gas Museum, Blennerhasset Island Museum, The Castle and more all have affordable admissions and hold a new perspective about our neck of the woods.




  • Doing good together can bring you and your sweetheart closer (and whether you do it solo or partnered up, it really boosts your spirit). There are lots of people and places in our community that need some love on Valentine’s Day. Try volunteering at the Humane Society or offering to lead a game of Bingo at a local nursing home to warm your own heart and someone else’s.
  • Netflix and chill(ed wine): Elevate your regular evening of binge watching “Orange is the New Black” with a classy cheese tray and a split bottle of (cheap) wine. If you’re anything like us, choosing something to watch together could turn your house into World War III, try turning it into a game by using a site like What the Hell Should I Watch On Netflix and agreeing to watch whatever it pulls up for you. Bonus tip: put a cutout of a mustache on the TV and kiss every time it lands on the perfect spot on a character’s face. Laughs and smooches guaranteed.


  • In lieu of an expensive dinner out, treat yourself to your favorite indulgent latte at Jeremiah’s, or Whit’s frozen custard with as many toppings as you want. No ridiculous prix fixe menu means you can splurge on cookie dough and brownie pieces.


  • There’s nothing special about January 1st. Take February to spend some time reflecting on how you want 2016 to look for yourself and your relationships. This year, my partner and I chose the word care as our theme: care for each other, care for ourselves and caring about what goes on in the world are going to be our priority this year — and that’s 100% free.