February 14th, Valentine’s Day, is the day of love, romance and courtship. It’s also the day that everything from roses to meals are marked up 500 percent, which puts lots of pressure on new relationships. So what are some things you can do that are still keeping in the theme of the day without blowing your budget? Check out this list that also includes ideas for acknowledging the holiday with someone new — because ignoring Valentine’s Day existence will get you nowhere but single the next day!

1. Pack A Picnic

Rather than pay for some seven-course prix-fixe meal at a fancy restaurant where the portions are small and there are no substitutions, pack a picnic with your date’s favorite foods and head to a park, the beach or even your backyard for a nice dinner. If the weather isn’t cooperating, then you can set up the picnic in your own house where you can light the fireplace or some candles to set the mood.

2. Netflix And Chill

No, I don’t mean what you think I mean. I literally mean pick a few romantic movies on Netflix (or Hulu, HBO, Showtime, etc.) and cuddle up. Think: “The Notebook” or “Love Actually” or “Say Anything” or “When Harry Met Sally” or “Casablanca.” Have a few ready and see which your date wants to watch, grab a blanket and some snacks and settle in for a cozy evening.

3. Deluxe Desserts

Dinner is overrated, so why not skip right to the desserts? Bake or buy some sweet treats and indulge. If you have a small group of friends who are also early on in relationships, then this may be a good option for having a little gathering to take the pressure off. Or, if there is a restaurant known for their desserts, ask your significant other for a decadent date and again, make it a group date if it’s something that would be fun.

4. Write A Love Letter

You don’t necessarily have to profess your undying love to your date, but taking the time and energy to buy a nice card and write a sweet note is endearing. This is particularly a good move when you may not be able to see your significant other on February 14th for whatever reason. Just make sure to mail it a few days early to ensure a timely arrival.

5. Sweet Somethings

Gifts aren’t a necessity, but a little something goes a long way. Think simple but thoughtful gifts, like an adult coloring book, a book you know they want to read, a cool flask or wine bottle stopper, slippers, a good bottle of wine or a great bag of coffee. If you your date is packing the picnic, then surprise them with a nice bottle of wine and a pair of wine glasses; if your date is planning the movie night, then buy a cozy throw or put together a cute basket of movie snacks; if your date is planning a dessert night, then get ingredients for your own dessert and make it together (hint: Rice Krispies Treats are an easy one). And if you receive a love letter and the feeling is mutual, then pick up the phone as soon as possible to call and thank your significant other and let them know you’re on the same page.

Bottom line: there are lots of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day without making a reservation at an expensive restaurant. Take the ideas above and tinker with them so that they fit your personality and the phase your relationship is at.

And if you’re single, don’t fret. Check out these tips!

You may also be interested in 5 Ways To Spice Up Your Valentine’s Day This Year

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