Cheap Valentine’s Day date ideas that won’t make you look like a cheapskate

Cheap Valentine’s Day date ideas that won’t make you look like a cheapskate

Words by D'Arcy McGregor

Valentine’s Day is expensive as all hell. Not only do you have to pay for flowers, a stuffed teddy and other crap with hearts all over it, but then there’s the indulgent dinner. So, instead of searching for the perfect place to have a romantic meal, think outside the box. Here’s a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Go on a picnic

There’s nothing more romantic than a picnic. Go get that dirty old picnic set from your nanna’s place, give it a good clean, and fill it with delicious snacks. You can go to a cute deli and get away with heaps of great quality cheeses, meats and breads for around $100, or if you want to go even cheaper, ditch the $75-a-kilo cheese and grab everything from your local supermarket. They’ll still have a great selection of relatively inexpensive cheeses, fresh breads, and have you covered with chicken loaf and mortadella. Ditch the Haigh’s heart-shaped chocolates and grab a pack of Freddo Frogs for $3 instead. When it comes to wine, make sure to keep your eyes out for deals in the week or so leading up to Valentine’s Day. Often liquor stores will have specials on bottles of bubbly or other nice wines to top off your picnic.

Cook your own dinner

Show off your skills – they’re sure to impress. Easy and cheap meals to make can sometimes be the best way to show you care. It might be more time consuming, but hand-made pasta is always a great thing to do – and the only expensive part is the pasta flour. Get away with showing off how finely you can julienne a carrot, make a pasta sauce from scratch, fold your own dumplings – I guarantee it’s not too hard to find a good recipe that tastes amazing and is easy to make. Otherwise pick your favourite takeaway joint, order a couple of dishes, stick them in the appropriate cooking pot/wok, and pretend you made it. You might not get away with it, but it’s a good idea for those of us who can’t cook.

Feast on fish and chips at the beach

Get in your car, hop on public transport – whatever works best. Bring a blanket or some towels, find the best fish and chips in the area and sit on the beach watching the sun go down. It’s super romantic and will only cost you some transport and $20 for dinner. But don’t forget it’s illegal to have open bottles of alcohol in public areas – that includes public beaches – so maybe save the drink for a nightcap. 

Never miss a story. Sign up to Beat’s newsletter and you’ll be served fresh music, arts, food and culture stories three times a week.