Sex & Relationships

Love Don’t Cost a Thing: 14 No-Spend Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day This Year

written by LEXI WILLIAMS
Source: @budgeron-bach | Pexels
Source: @budgeron-bach | Pexels

Whether you love Valentine’s Day or roll your eyes at every candy heart and giant teddy bear that crosses your path in February, you have to admit: It can be a darn expensive holiday. The dates, the gifts, the beauty prep, the lingerie (if that’s your style)… it all adds up. But it doesn’t have to! There are plenty of free Valentine’s Day ideas to make it a no-spend (but still totally romantic) holiday.

Because Valentine’s Day is a special occasion dedicated to celebrating love in all its forms, these ideas are for everyone, regardless of relationship status. So whether you’re celebrating a committed relationship, reveling with your Galentines, planning a family night in, or luxuriating in some much-needed self-love, get ready to make priceless memories with these price tag-less Valentine’s Day ideas.

1. Read a romantic book

Did you know there are tons of ways to access free books? If you like holding an actual book in your hand, you can check out romance novels from the library or hit up a local book swap. If you want something instantly, Amazon’s Kindle store and your local library (which you can connect to through the Libby app) are stocked with tons of free ebooks that you can download on your e-reader, phone, or tablet. And if you’re into audiobooks, try out a free trial of Audible! If you have a date and you’re feeling brave, read some of the spicy scenes out loud to each other—or if you’re listening to the audio version, try acting some of them out!

2. Cook a nice dinner

Have a five-star meal minus the five-star restaurant reservation (and bill). Instead, opt for a homemade dinner with ingredients you already have on hand. You’d be surprised by what you can make with a few pantry staples—some of my favorite easy-to-make dishes include chicken piccata, honey-glazed salmon, and shrimp tacos. You can cook solo or make it an activity to do with your Valentine of choice. Either way, be sure to throw on a great playlist (I personally love cooking to Spotify’s “Feel Good Jazz” playlist) and maybe even light a few candles to set the perfect sultry vibe. No matter what you make or with whom you make it, you’ll have cooked dinner with love.

3. Create a digital scrapbook

How much more romantic can you get than making some new memories while preserving the old ones you’ve already made? While traditional scrapbooks can cost quite a bit (craft stores aren’t cheap!), there are multiple free online tools to help you design a virtual collection of photos, notes, and mementos. Canva and Smilebox are both free options to get you started! Make it extra-festive by sticking to a pink and red color scheme and only including the things you love—whatever that means to you. (If you’re not feeling super crafty, make a Pinterest board instead with a rom-com playing in the background!)

4. Have a spa night

As far as Valentine’s Day ideas go, this is arguably the most luxurious and loved idea of all. Transform your space into a DIY luxury spa by drawing a relaxing bath, putting on a face mask, and pampering yourself with some self-care. No need to buy anything—whatever you have handy in the back of your bathroom cabinet will work just fine. (Most of us have an extra candle or bottle of bubble bath lying around, right?) If you’re with a partner, light some candles, put on a sexy playlist, and consider giving each other foot or back massages to make the evening extra relaxing and intimate.

5. Try out a new sex position

You already know that The Everygirl has a roundup of the best Valentine’s Day-themed sex positions, and you can trust us when we say that they are sure to get you in the mood. While some of them might require a romantic partner, there is something on this list for everyone, including those flying solo. Before diving right into the main event, set the mood by having a romantic dinner, putting on a sexy playlist, engaging in some foreplay, or talking about your fantasies.

Source: @pavel-danilyuk | Pexels

6. Write a love poem

You don’t have to be William Shakespeare to put your feelings into words. Just think about the object of your affection—whether that’s your significant other, your bestie, yourself, or heck, even your pet—and write from the heart. You could mention the things you love about them (like their eyes or the way they laugh), thank them for all they’ve done for you, or talk about the future you’re going to create together. If the idea of baring your soul sounds too intimidating, you could always go the lighthearted route and make up silly rhymes or limericks instead. Either way, be sure to write your lyrical masterpiece down to give as a gift! Bonus points if you do it on pretty stationery or jazz it up with some colored pencils.

7. Host a themed movie night

Elevate your standard “Netflix and chill” time with a theme to make a night of watching movies at home feel like a real treat! Start with choosing a theme: You could go with classic films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Singin’ in the Rain, rom-com flicks like When Harry Met Sally and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, or even an anti-love lineup of slasher films. To add to the night, create a playlist of on-theme songs to play before the movies begin and serve on-theme snacks and drinks. Think: Heart-shaped brownies if you’re watching romantic movies or Bloody Marys if you’re opting for horror.

8. Attend a free event

Whether you live in a big city or a small town, there are likely some free local events you can take advantage of. Check out your newspaper, neighborhood message boards, or Facebook groups to see what’s going on. Look for paint nights, live music, dance lessons, street festivals, or something totally new and unexpected. Many museums and parks offer free entry or special events on Valentine’s Day (especially in the evenings) as well!

9. Do karaoke in your living room

Even if you don’t have one of those TikTok-famous karaoke mics, you can still sing your heart out from the comfort of your own home. Just queue up some YouTube lyric videos of your favorite songs, make some space in your living room for your “stage,” and put on the performance of a lifetime. You could sing love songs to your partner, warble solo to some heartbreak anthems, or gather a big group of friends to belt out the classic party hits. Old school Taylor Swift, anyone?!

10. Bake a Valentine’s Day treat

Embrace the sweet side of the holiday by whipping up some delectable Valentine’s Day-themed treats, whether they’re heart-shaped cookies, cupcakes adorned with pink sprinkles, or a red velvet cheesecake. Not only do you get to eat something delicious with a loved one (or by yourself on the couch!), but your kitchen will smell amazing for hours on end. They do say the best way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, after all.

Source: @andres-ayrton | Pexels

11. Have a picnic

Picnics are highly underrated date activities. They’re cute, cozy, and feel like a real novelty, which makes them one of the best Valentine’s Day ideas, especially since they don’t come with cost. If you live somewhere with mild winters or just have a lucky warm week in the middle of February, take your celebrations outside by having a picnic in a nearby park or even in your backyard. If you’re more of the indoorsy type, have a picnic right in your living room! Pack some homemade snacks, some wine you already have on hand, and a cozy blanket, and enjoy the simple pleasure of each other’s company or the peace of your solitude.

12. Do a Valentine’s Day craft

All you need is Wi-Fi access and a working printer to make your own V-Day fun. There are all kinds of free printables available online, including coloring pages, puzzles, games, crafts, and Valentine’s Day cards—and no, they aren’t just for kids. Check out Pinterest, websites like HP Printables, or your favorite DIY blog to find a few you love. Whether you’re partnered or celebrating solo, these ideas will provide a creative outlet and hours of entertainment—all without breaking the bank. You’ll just have to remember where you hid all of your crafting supplies!

13. Watch the sunrise or sunset

When was the last time you woke up just to watch the sunrise or paused in the evening to take in the sunset? I know when the next time should be! Celebrate Valentine’s Day by taking in one of the world’s natural masterpieces surrounded by friends and family, cuddled up with a date, or just enjoying your own company. Simple and timeless Valentine’s Day ideas like this can allow you a moment for reflection and gratitude for all the simple pleasures life has to offer. Grab a fluffy blanket to lay out on the ground, or queue up a calming, romantic playlist to set the mood as you watch from your car.

14. Stay in bed

Sometimes, the best way to spend Valentine’s Day is to indulge in some rest. Whether you choose to catch up on sleep, do a face mask, read a book, or something a little more *ahem* active, enjoy relaxing in the comfort of your own space on a day when almost everyone else is out and about. If you want to make a stunning breakfast-in-bed platter, go right ahead, or if you want to reheat your leftover pizza and eat popcorn all day, that’s your choice! Do what you love, OK?! No judgment.