Usually for Valentine's Day, my husband and I go get dinner somewhere and maybe exchange cards, but that's the extent of our day. This year, I wanted to something more "lasting" and something with some thought behind it! I was looking online for ideas and found the idea to plan a years worth of dates. So, this year that's what I am planning. I was so excited about my ideas that I came up with, that I had to tell my husband what I was doing (It's really hard for me to keep secrets about happy surprises from him,) but the individual dates are still a secret from him, so there will be a surprise every month for the next 12 months!
I came up with 6 outdoor activities and 6 indoor activities so that each month we can randomly choose the dates based on the weather or what time of year it is. I chose things that we have been wanting to do or have never done, and then some things that we just enjoy doing regularly. I also chose things that he enjoys more, and that I enjoy more but that we can both enjoy together!
I made envelopes out of heart shapes. These were very easy to do. Here is a good explanation of how to do it. I then placed a small paper inside with the date activity on it and folded it in half so it couldn't be seen from the outside.
On the outside of each envelope I put specifics that you would need to know ahead of time, such as whether it should be done on a Saturday (or all-day activity), or in the evening or on a specific day. I also included whether it was an outdoor or indoor activity.
The next step, which is totally optional, is to fund these dates ahead of time. I'm planning on doing this. Some of the dates, I've funded with gift cards that I've purchased using my Swagbucks points! For example, one of my dates was "Pizza and Games" and I included a $10 Dominos Pizza gift card which will cover the cost of that date completely!
Here are the ideas I came up with:
1. Hiking-there is a certain place he has been wanting to take me since I moved here-over 7 years ago! $10 for a cheap lunch.
2. Fishing- I hate fishing. Well, I hate worms. And touching fish. But I told him I would try it so this is the year I'm trying it. FREE
3. Pizza and Games. $10 gift card for pizza.
4. Coffee Shop. $10 gift card for coffee
5. Watch the sunset from an overlook. (Fall time?) And ice cream. $5.00 for ice cream.
6. Fire and s'mores. $5 for S'mores ingredients.
7. Lunch and Planetarium. I just found out there is a local university planetarium that has free shows on Saturdays. $15 for Lunch.
8. Ice Cream and the Arboretum. $10 for Ice cream, Arboretum is free.
9. Bike rid.e FREE but maybe $5.00 for drinks or something.
10. Canoe trip and picnic. $10-$15 for picnic supplies.
11. Dinner and Home Spa. $40 for dinner
12. Dessert and shopping. $12-15 for dessert and coffee plus shopping money $30.00.
These numbers don't correspond to the numbers on the actual envelopes, so for the most part, I won't even know what date we randomly choose until we open it together. I think the element of surprise adds a little something to the excitement of a date.
I realize that most of these are either free or cheap, but this IS a frugal blog. :) And we are very frugal people. It doesn't matter how much money you spend or if your meal is cheap fast food or a nicer dinner, it's all about spending time together.
We usually go on more than one date a month, more like 2-3, but this ensures that we get at least one date a month in, and it's funded ahead of time so even if money is tight we can still go on our date.
Total money for funding everything would be about $150.00 and that's not counting the two dates I plan to fund with gift cards purchased with reward points.
$150.00 may seem really expensive for a valentine's day present on a frugal blog, but when you think about it as paying for an entire years worth of dates, that's pretty awesome. Right now, we usually just go out to dinner and shopping which adds up really quickly. But with a little planning ahead, we can enjoy dates that are more fun and cost less.
What ideas do you have for a frugal Valentine's Day gift? Let me know in the comments!