Elizabeth Entenman
Updated February 06, 2019 7:55 am

Real talk: Valentine’s Day is expensive. Flowers, chocolates, and the perfect gift are costly as it is, but then you have Valentine’s Day dinner, which is a whole other expense to consider. We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with doing Valentine’s Day to the nines; it’s fun to go out and celebrate your love with your sweetie. But for some couples, it’s too costly. If you want to have a special V-Day but don’t want to break the bank, look no further than these creative at-home date ideas.

There are many reasons why celebrating Valentine’s Day at home is a great idea. For starters, you don’t have to leave the house, which is a huge win during winter. You’ll get to actually enjoy each other’s company rather than sit annoyingly close to lovey-dovey strangers. And, of course, the savings. (Multi-course prix fixe menus are really expensive on Valentine’s Day.) Plus, if you have kids, you won’t need to hire a babysitter. Win-win-win-win.

If you’re sold on spending Valentine’s Day at home this year, here are some at-home date ideas to make it a special evening:

1Cook each other’s favorite meal

Does your sweetie love stuffed peppers? Do you crave crème brulee? Trade recipes. There’s something special about working together to create a meal you’ll both enjoy. When your Valentine’s Day dinner is cooked with love, it tastes even better than a five-star sirloin steak.

2Or, light some candles and eat takeout

It’s okay if you’re not big on cooking. Pick up or order in something yummy (bonus points if you let your partner choose the restaurant) and light some candles to set the mood. It’s just like you’re out at a fancy dinner. Let’s be real: A pepperoni pie from your favorite pizzeria will always be better than foie gras.

3Get super dressed up, just because

Just because you’re staying in doesn’t mean you can’t get dressed up. This is an excuse to wear your perfect Valentine’s Day outfit and try a cute Valentine’s Day makeup look. Who cares if the only person who sees it is your S.O.?

4Indulge in a home spa night

Take a bubble bath together, break out the foot spa, and give each other massages. The couple that sheet masks together, stays together.

5Set up a wine tasting

Wine, much like food, is somehow magically more expensive on February 14th. Instead of spending tons on a wine tasting at a restaurant, set up a flight for less at home. Sure, you won’t have a sommelier to give you tasting notes. But it’s much more fun to make them up your own.

6Write each other love letters

Whoever said that romance is dead is in serious need of a love letter. Take a page from your grandparents and spend time expressing why you love your partner. Not in a note on your phone, and not in an Instagram caption (though you certainly can do that, too)—on paper, in pen. Then, trade letters, or read them out loud to one another.

7Watch Valentine’s Day episodes of your favorite TV shows

Friends, The Office, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Modern Family, and How I Met Your Mother all have Valentine’s Day episodes. What are you waiting for? It wouldn’t be V-Day without Liz Lemon exclaiming, “Happy Valentine’s Day, no one!”

8Or, watch horror movies

Not into the Valentine’s Day hype? We get it. You can always watch a horror movie.

9Ask each other questions

When was the last time you had a long conversation with your partner? Not about what to make for dinner or who’s booking the Airbnb for your cousin’s wedding, but a real conversation? Whether this is your first Valentine’s Day together or your tenth, there’s still something new and interesting you can talk about. Start with these questions to ask a girl you’re dating or these questions to ask a guy you’re dating and see where the convo takes you.

10Make a joint bucket list

Every couple has things they want to see, do, and experience together. From big goals like skydiving in New Zealand to small ones like petting manta rays at the aquarium, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to write them down and commit to making them happen.

11Meditate together

Couples meditation is a fantastic way to relax and reconnect. It’s extremely intimate, which can lead to…

12Have really, really good sex

It’s Valentine’s Day. Go nuts.

Remember: Valentine’s Day isn’t about what you do, it’s about who you spend it with. As long as you’re together, you’ll have a blast with any of these at-home date ideas.