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So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching.  It’s a week away to be exact.  I don’t know about you, but figuring out what to do for this holiday was a struggle.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve never celebrated Valentine’s before or if it’s because I’m broke, but it took a decent amount of creativity to get ready for this holiday.

I’m positive being a broke post grad hindered my Valentine’s Day creativity.  Good presents require a good amount of money.  Sounds obvious, but it’s not until you’re looking at your bank account do you realize how many things you can’t afford.

Fortunately Carl and I have been broke for quite some time.  In fact, we’re starting to get pretty good at doing special things for each other with no money.  This Valentine’s Day was a struggle, but I think I’ve come up with some pretty good stuff to do for Carl.  I can’t tell you about it now, so be sure to check back here after the holiday to see how it all turned out.

If you’re struggling to think of cute ideas for Valentine’s Day that wont cost you a lot of money, below is a list of some of my favorite ideas.  Some Carl and I have tried, some I’m saving for the future.

Inexpensive Valentine's day date and craft ideas

1.  25 reasons I love you.  I made this for Carl for Christmas and he may or may not have cried.  All you need is a closable jar, colored paper (construction paper is perfect), scissors, a little bit of ribbon and something to write with.  Cut out 26 different sized hearts from your colored paper.  (When I made mine, all I had was white printer paper so I just took some red paint I had and painted the hearts.)  Write one reason you love your man on 25 of the hearts.  It’s good to use variety, from some really silly reason to something more serious.

Once you’ve written out each reason, bend up the hearts just enough so they wont all just lay at the bottom of your jar.  You want the jar to appear as full as possible.  With your 26th heart, write “25 reasons why I love you,” and put a hole in the corner of the heart.  Thread your ribbon through the hole and tie it around the jar.  Another option is to mod podge the heart to the container.  If your man doesn’t tear up at least a little bit reading your hearts, he probably doesn’t have a soul.

2.  Fancy dinner at home.  Order takeout from whatever restaurant you like.  Have your man pick up McDonald’s if you want, I’m not here to judge.  Get a large sheet, two cloth napkins and some candles from the Dollar tree and set the table with the candles as a center piece.  I’m not sure if all Dollar Trees are like the ones here, but they sell individual dinnerware that’s actually nice looking.  If yours sells some, buy two nice looking plates and two fancy glasses.  Enjoy your meal by candlelight at your romantically set table.

3. Stargazing and cuddling.  You may not want to spend the night in, but going out is expensive.  You know what’s free?  Looking up at the stars.  Use a pick up truck or grab an inexpensive blowup pool from Walmart.  Bring along every pillow and blanket or sleeping bag you can find and head out into the darkness, (not too far though, you don’t want to set yourself up for a horror flick).  Throw all the pillows and blankets in your pool or truck and cuddle up to look at the stars.  Don’t forget your ipod to play some music to set the mood.  You can even bring along a book of constellations and see how many you can find.

4. Fort kit–build a fort together.  I don’t know about your man, but Carl secretly loves building forts.  Put together an easy fort kit to present to your man and spend the evening creating an awesome place to cuddle and watch movies.  All you need is a large pillowcase, fabric paint pen, extra sheets and an old t-shirt.  Using your paint pen write, “Fort Assembling Kit,” (or whatever you want) on your pillowcase.  Once the paint dries, roll your blankets and sheets up tightly and stuff them in your pillowcase.  Cut your old t-shirt into strips, (these are perfect for tying the sheets together or to other fixtures) and also place them in your pillowcase.  Now you have your very own fort kit!  All that’s left after assembling is making some popcorn and cuddling up inside for a movie.

5. Scavenger hunt.  Make your man work for his present.  There are many ways you can do a scavenger hunt, here is a website you can use for ideas.  My favorite would be a picture scavenger hunt.  At each clue location there is a picture of the next location he must go to.  For example, your first clue can be a picture of where you two first kissed, once he arrives as that location there could be a picture of your favorite restaurant.  Think about landmarks that describe your relationship.  If you’re feeling scandalous the final clue can be a picture of your bedroom.

These are just a few of my favorite date ideas.  Being young and broke makes dating difficult, especially around the holidays, but if you’re creative you can come up with some special things to do.  What are some of your favorite fun and easy date nights or crafts?