Postcards & Passports

Valentine’s Day Date on a budget

This post was most recently updated on July 2nd, 2015

Valentine GetawayMention “Valentine’s Day gift” and you’ll probably think of flowers or chocolate.  So cliché, right?  Well, you can give a gift, but why not make a Valentine’s Day memory?  Go and DO something with your Valentine!  I love finding interesting places to explore or new things to try with my husband–it helps keep the spark alive!  I am often asked, “How do you find so many interesting things to do?  And how do you find such great deals?”  I’ll tell you…

Here are three separate ideas for celebrating Valentine’s without breaking the bank–on a $25 budget, a $75 budget, and finally, an overnight getaway on only $200.  These are things my husband and I would enjoy.  They might not be your first choice.  But use the resources I have shared and find something that’s just right for you and your loved one! All of these specials are available as of my post date–no guarantees they’ll be around later.  While some of these date ideas are specific to San Diego, you can find the same kinds of deals for wherever you live, using Groupon, LivingSocial, and similar coupon websites.  Don’t ever pay full price again!

groupon livingsociallogo Goldstar

$25 Budget (Seriously?  You can do Valentine’s for only $25?  Well, yes, but you’re going to have to do a little work, too). On a $25 budget, we won’t be going far from home and I’ll have to be pretty creative about what we do.

  • MonstereyesMake a home made card for your Valentine–the key is letting him know just how special he is! Here’s one fun idea you might consider. $0.00
  • Bake a treat or prepare a picnic with ingredients you already at home. $0.00
  • Do the Urban Adventure Quest for San Diego from Groupon San Diego for $25.  This is a scavenger hunt you download to a smart phone with clues and activities that keep you hopping all over downtown San Diego.  You can do it at any time with anyone you want.  Guaranteed to entertain you as well as introduce you to something you didn’t know about San Diego, even if you’re a resident.  If you don’t live in San Diego, there are scavenger hunts for 35 locations across the United States.
  • Another option is to attend the San Diego Convention Center Travel and Adventure Show –only $9 for two–a great deal from Living Social. Rick Steves, Travel Channel Host Samantha Brown, and Host of TT&AShowhe Amazing Race, Phil Keoghan, will be there to share all their travel experience with you and get you excited about the next vacation you plan.  If I choose this option, I’ll have enough money left for two burgers at Smashburger—our favorite hamburger joint, and then I won’t have to make dinner! $9 + $16 = $25

$75 Budget  On a $75 budget, I’m still not going far from home, but I could afford to eat out or pay a little higher admission to an event, so I’m going to continue looking for deals on Groupon and LivingSocial.

  • I found something more interesting than a card–personalized love coupons from Groupon for onlydatevitation $10.  I can customize the coupons with my husband’s favorite treats, backrubs, or car washes.  I can even add our photos!
  • I usually prefer not to eat out on Valentine’s Day because it’s crowded and restaurants often have fixed price (prix fixe) limited menus that are more expensive—just for the holiday.  But I lucked out and found Magnolia Tap and Kitchen in downtown San Diego.  They accept groupons on Valentine’s Day, although I will need to make reservations.  It’s the kind of urban and casual atmosphere my husband and I feel comfortable in, with a fireplace to add to the ambience.  The Groupon special gives $50 worth of food for $25.  I checked out the menu and we should be able to make that work, plus maybe $15 more for tax and tip.  Now I’m up to $50—still have $25 to spend!
  • If I pick up movie passes at Costco, we could see a movie after dinner.  (less than $25)
  • It could be nice to take advantage of the Cheesecake Factory’s “Curbside To Go” service for desserts—two scrumptious desserts delivered to my car door easily for under $25.  How nice to end the evening with a Redbox DVD and gourmet dessert at home!
  • Another place to look for unique activities on sale is Goldstar Events.  You can search for a specific date and it will show you everything on one page.  I found this Addams Family comedy at Horton Plaza that I’d love to see. It’s sold out for the evening performance, but we could go to the matinee and then out to dinner afterwards. Only $12 per ticket = $24 total
  • If you prefer an outdoors activity, take advantage of a one-hour harbor cruise before dinner, $24 for two

$200 Budget  We have never actually spent this much for a Valentine’s celebration.  Of course, you could up the budget a couple hundred dollars and stay at a 4 or 5-star hotel on Valentine’s evening, but I decided to find you a bargain Valentine’s outing.  I’m staying close to home to avoid spending a lot on gas.  I’ve always wanted to check out this cute vintage restored hotel on Rosecrans called The Pearl. (Remember I like old stuff!) If I stay on Friday, the 13th, the price is half what it would be on the 14th and it won’t be as crowded.  That way we can spend Valentine’s Day doing some fun things around town.  The Pearl is known for its saltwater pool, vintage furnishings, and a goldfish in every room.  The Pearl has its own restaurant that gets good reviews, but I want to venture down to

Mitch’s Seafood for dinner.  It’s casual “beachy-ness” appeals to me, and the prices are reasonable.  I figure we can get our fill of seafood tacos for a total of $30.  After dinner we can stroll along the waterfront where the sportfishing fleets are.  In the morning, it’s a short walk to McDonald’s for my breakfast—I know that doesn’t sound very glamorous, but who can beat their $5 breakfasts that include pancakes, sausage, juice, and hash browns?  Since my husband and I love to browse thrift stores, we’ll head to a nearby Amvets Thrift store.

Photo courtesy of NPS

Photo courtesy of NPS

Next are the tide pools in Pt. Loma.  Tides will be at their lowest at noon, so we’ll search tide pools for a couple hours and then head home for lunch.  We will have beat all the Valentine crowds, elevated prices, and traffic, too.  Happy Valentine’s Day!  Total = The Pearl $150 w/tax, $10 parking, Mitch’s Seafood $30, McDonald’s $10 = $200

Oh, one more bonus tip–if you buy your Groupon coupons through Ebates, you’ll get 6% cash back—3% cash back on the Living Social coupons.  Now go and have some fun planning your Valentine’s Day!  And be sure to share your ideas and tips in the comments below–I’d love to hear what you’re doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

2 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Date on a budget

  1. Heather

    This is so creative!! I’ve always wanted to do something a little different for Valentines Day, and these ideas are really getting me thinking. Perhaps another fun idea would be to purchase 12 Groupon/Livingsocial deals to be used as a date night for each month of the coming year, starting in February for v-day; that way the Valentines Day adventures keep going long after February 14. 🙂

    1. Tami Post author

      Great idea! Just keep in mind that most Groupon and LivingSocial coupons expire within 90 to 180 days, so don’t buy them all at once!

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