This is a very different story from when it first appeared a year ago. In 2020, aka The Before Times,could be celebrated in restaurants, cinemas, concerts, escape rooms – all places we used to take for granted. This year things will of course be different.
That’s OK. As we have done for the past 11 months, we will adapt. We will rethink our plans and come up with new ones. Fortunately, there is still an important truth: You can express your affection without spending a fortune. I̵
With that in mind, I’ve gathered some suggestions for thrifty – some affordable alternatives to traditional Valentine’s Day gifts.
Let’s Roam takes you on app-guided quests (as well as pub crawls and ghost tours) in more than 400 cities around the world. They are done on foot and usually take an hour or two; the start day and time are entirely up to you.
This isn’t just a tour either – there are riddles to solve, trivia questions to answer and photo challenges to complete, with leaderboards to see how you stacked up against other players. Sounds like a fun outing for the somewhat competitive couple.
You can buy a single yacht for two for $ 40 or get an annual pass for $ 70.
Painting for Gogh
This guided painting class is an activity for our time and includes a starter kit – paint, canvas, brushes – delivered to your home where you can watch the step-by-step instructional video on your preferred schedule. Check out the Date Night options for paintings that complement the Valentine’s Day theme.
You could be forgiven for feeling like it’s unsafe to visit an actual escape room at this point. I’m not going to say Escape Team is the next best thing, but it does give two players the chance to solve theme-based puzzles while staying home safely – and it’s absurdly cheap to boot. Relying entirely on printable materials and an Android / iOS app, the first mission is free and costs only 99 cents each extra.
Box One is an “escape room in a box” designed by Neil Patrick Harris. Yes, that guy. Although it says “a game for one,” I just played it with my partner, and we loved it; it Absolutely works like a two-player game as you sit side by side and work together to solve the puzzles. It’s also very smart, with some surprising elements you wouldn’t expect from a boxed game.
As much as I am in favor of supporting your local restaurant with Valentine’s Day outings, nothing shows that you care about a home-cooked meal. (Psst: you also have maid service.)
Don’t worry if you can barely boil water; with an Instant Pot or similar pressure cooker, even beginners in the kitchen can prepare gourmet meals. Learn how to use a pressure cooker first, then check out this roundup of our favorite Instant Pot recipes. Bake some bread and presto: romantic dinner ready.
If you don’t already own a stove, this popular Insignia model is currently on sale for just $ 30 – half the regular price and less than half the price of a real Instant Pot.
How important are flowers on Valentine’s Day? Probably less than you think. A few years ago, I ran a Twitter poll and less than 10% of respondents said flowers were “fully expected”. The vast majority were split between “not essential, but nice” and “not expected / desired”. (Important disclaimer: I have no idea of the gender breakdown of the respondents.)
If you still feel like it’s bouquet or bust, use code DLVRCUPID save 25% when you order from 1800Flowers between now and February 5th.
Read more: The best flower delivery services for Valentine’s Day
It is not the most romantic gift, but it is certainly a practical gift for anyone who has constantly lost their keys or phone. And it’s all in how you breathe it in, “I know how frustrating it is when things get lost,” you say, “and a guy I know says these Tile things are great.”
You can get a single Tile Mate tracker for $ 25, but right now Amazon has a 2-pack for just $ 38.
Okay, those are my gift ideas. Let’s hear yours now! If you’ve come up with a fun, affordable and safe way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, share it in the comments.
More gift ideas for Valentine’s Day
First published last year. Updated to reflect new information and prices.
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