Love Don’t Cost A Thing: Budget Date Ideas For Valentine’s Day

Love Don’t Cost A Thing: Budget Date Ideas For Valentine’s Day

Want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but worried about your budget? It’s true, the holiday can get expensive — just look at our infographic on the cost of dating in Manila.

Thankfully for your budget, with a little imagination and effort, you can make Valentine’s Day special for your sweetheart without breaking the bank.

A light wallet doesn’t mean you can’t be romantic. Check out our budget date ideas below, and enjoy a day to remember with your Valentine:

Romantic dinner for two — at home.

romantic dinner at home

Just make sure you don’t cut yourself while prepping.

Eating out in Manila can get pricey especially if you want to have a fancy one, with Valentine’s Day menus for two costing ₱2,000 and up. And since it’s a popular time of the year for restaurants, it’ll be hard to get a reservation. Plus, food can be overpriced on Valentine’s Day. “Restaurants know you are willing to pay the extra cash for something that seems extra special on Valentine’s day, even when it’s not worth the price,” writes a former maître d’ for The Kitchn blog, advising lovebirds to skip the fancy dinner out on Valentine’s.

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a sumptuous dinner anyway — making your own romantic dinner at home is the perfect budget date idea. Not only will making your own dinner be cheaper, but you’ll have full control over your menu, and you and your loved one can bond while prepping and cooking the food. 

Pro tip!

To make this dinner even more budget-friendly, check out our tips on how to save big at the supermarket.

Take advantage of discounts with your credit card.

credit card discounts

Classy but budget-friendly

Lots of credit cards offer discounts for Valentine’s-related activities, so put your card to work for you to help you with your date.  Dining credit cards can score you up to 50% off on your dining bill in some restaurants, just like Citibank credit card’s dining deal offers in Fairmont and Raffles Makati. For a full list of dining deals from your favorite credit cards, check out our credit card promo listicle. 

Don’t have them yet? Apply for Citibank credit cards right now and have your annual fees waived forever!

Citi Rewards Card

Citi Rewards Card

No annual fee for life! Apply now and immediately find out if you’re qualified.

Skip the movie; check out a museum instead.

couple at a museum

To impress your date, read the Wiki on the artist you’re seeing.

What’s so romantic about looking at a cinema screen for two hours? Museums are underrated date spots. This Valentine’s Day, take this opportunity to bond and soak up some art and science! There are plenty of museums in Metro Manila you could choose from, depending on your mood on that day

For your information

National Museum Of Natural History

Address: Teodoro F. Valencia Circle, Ermita P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, Manila
What’s here?

Exhibition of the rich biodiversity in the Philippines

Fee: Entrance fee is free!

National Museum Of Anthropology

Padre Burgos Ave, Ermita Manila.

What’s here?

An exhibition of the way of life in the past decades to centuries.

Fee: Entrance fee is free!

The Mind Museum

JY Campos Park, 3rd Avenue Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. 

What’s here?

An exhibition venue with a planetarium, 3D theater shows, and fun science demos. 

Fee: ₱750 for a day pass

Ayala Museum

Corner Makati Avenue and De La Rosa Street, Makati City

What’s here?

Dioramas which are already mostly virtual reality versions.  Also an exhibit of the Philippine history. 

Fee: ₱425

Pinto Art Museum

Antipolo, Rizal

What’s here?

A garden destination and contemporary museum in one.

Fee: ₱200

National Planetarium

Dr. Jose P. Rizal Park, Padre Burgos Ave, Ermita

What’s here?

It houses the Philippines’ Ethno astronomy which showcases the roles of planets and stars in sea navigation, agriculture, fishing, and the timing of celebrating life. 

Fee: Entrance fee is free but the shows can cost up to ₱50

Plan a trip together.

travel planning

But who’s going to ask for directions?

Just because you can’t afford a trip right now doesn’t mean you can’t dream about it. Make it a date, get some wine, and start planning your ideal trip with your Valentine. This planning session might be the kick in the pants you need to finally start saving up for your perfect European vacation or South American adventure. If you need a little help, you can read our step-by-step guide to achieving your financial goals.

Stay in and hold a board game night.

board game pieces

 Photo credit: Shutterstock

If you’re super-competitive, you may wanna try something else.

Staying in for Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t do anything fun. Invite your other couple friends over, pick up a board game like Settlers of Catan, Scrabble, Bananagrams, or whatever tickles your fancy, open a bottle of wine, and play to your heart’s content. You and your date can team up against the other couples for a bit of friendly competition. Ask the guests to bring a snack of their choice to make it a potluck (and to cut down on your expenses).

Go to a bar with live music.

live music

Beats having to listen to your neighbor do drunk karaoke.

Given the Filipino talent for singing, there’s no shortage of cool bands performing at bars here in Manila. After your romantic dinner at home, head out with your Valentine to a low-key bar, have a couple of beers, and dance or sing along to the great music. You’ll have a lot of fun without spending too much. Unless you like to drink a lot, but hopefully you’ve budgeted for that.

Attend a couple-retreat

couple dancing

Take your relationship to the next level!

If you’ve been together with your partner as a couple for a long time now, perhaps it’s time to take your bond a step further? There’s this couple’s seminar called the “Discovery Weekend” which intends to enrich and deepen a couple’s relationship and better prepare them for marriage. If marriage is already on the table, this is an even more perfect prelude to your wedding preparations. 

You can check out their website for more details about this program and their schedule.

Go hiking!

 

What’s more romantic than a picturesque sunset?

What’s more romantic than the sight of a picturesque sunset at the peak of a mountain with your special someone? If you’re a more active kind of couple, this activity for Valentine’s season may make the occasion extra special. There are beginner-friendly hiking spots near the city which you can explore on Valentines Day, such as Taal Volcano, Mt. Balaglag and Mt. Batulao

Romance isn’t about how much money you spend. So even if you can’t afford to splash that much this Valentine’s Day, just spend some quality time with your loved one. It will be worth more than anything. As Oscar Wilde wrote, “Who, being loved, is poor?”

 

This article was first published in February 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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