10 Creative Date Ideas For Couples On A Budget

These Under $75 Date Ideas Are Perfect For V-Day Or Any Day

Love & Relationships

Have you ever wondered where the true origins of holidays come from? I do, so I tend to research 'em. For instance, St. Patrick's Day? Long story short, he was a non-Irish slave who fled Ireland as a teen and then came back to teach Christianity to Irish people. And St. Valentine's Day? Legend has it that he was a man who was martyred for marrying Christian couples at a time when the emperor preferred men go to war than have a family. Pretty fascinating, right? Now watch how I'm about to tie all of this together.

Me? I'm a huge fan of marriage. That's why, whenever I hear someone say that Valentine's Day is a joke, I'm kind of like, "If there is any holiday that deserves some love from married folks, it should be Valentine's Day", just from the origin of it alone.

At the same time, I get that it's a holiday that can stress couples out because while the wife is wondering if her husband will observe it right (and by that, she usually means thoughtfully and romantically), the husband is wondering if his wife will do anything for him at all (it's not just a day for women; it's a day for couples).

If you happen to fall into this category or, your real issue this year is your money is tight, I've got a few ways that you and yours can celebrate the holiday without causing any financial drama on the back-end. As a bonus, these are the kinds of ideas that two can truly play. That way, your husband can enjoy the day rather than simply grinning and bearing it.

1. Have an Indoor Picnic

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I'm not sure why the idea of putting a blanket on the ground and eating food on top of it is so romantic to so many of us, but I'll co-sign on the fact that it is. If you're an outdoorsy kind of person, I fully support having some soup, grilled cheese, and hot cocoa with your sweetheart at a park somewhere for lunch. But most of us ain't gettin' down like that in the dead of winter, so the alternative is an indoor picnic.

To pull this off, it's more about the ambiance than the food. First, make an indoor tent (Pinterest has all sorts of cool ideas; so does YouTube). Then put on some 90s R&B (you can never go wrong with that), light some scented soy candles (jasmine, vanilla, and cinnamon are all aphrodisiacs) and have some food delivered. It's simple. It's sweet. And it's totally stress-less. Just like how Valentine's Day should be.

2. Reenact Your First Date

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OK, this suggestion right here only works if your first date together was a good one. So if it was, taking a stroll down memory lane is a great way to bring some of the butterflies back.

Thanks to Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and On Demand, you can find just about any movie on the planet. Or, if your first date was at a restaurant or coffee shop, if you call ahead, many managers will be more than happy to reserve the same table that you had or come up with something special for you and yours to dine on in order to commemorate where your first date has brought the two of you.

3. Eat Out on the Low

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Speaking of eating out, if there is a restaurant that you adore but the prices on the menu are a little steep, see if they have a happy hour. 8 times out of 10, if you go during that time, you can get discounts on a lot of their items.

Some other tips for saving money on dining is to sign up for e-clubs, follow your favorite eateries online (restaurants are known for posting specials on IG and Twitter), and purchase discounted gift cards. It's not uncommon for restaurants to also offer an extra $10-25 cash reward if you purchase a gift card from them at a certain price.

4. Deliver Something Sweet (or Cool) to Each Other’s Jobs

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I try and tell husbands as much as possible that they can earn some major points if they deliver some roses to their wife (on a day other than their birthday or anniversary) every once in a while. The same thought applies to Valentine's Day — for both men and women.

As far as what you can have delivered, the ideas are endless! A favorite bottle of wine. A favorite dessert. Chocolate-covered strawberries. A subscription service for lingerie (trust me, your husband will like getting this sent to him just as much as you would appreciate receiving it). Or, if you know your man would appreciate something that's more on the light-and-fun side, how about a classic Nintendo system or tickets to an upcoming concert or game? Include a note about how much you love them too.

Being able to show your romantic side off to their co-workers will totally make their day.

5. Cash Some “Sex Checks”

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A couple of days ago, I read an article on sex coupons. When I went to Amazon to check them out, I saw something that I found to be even cuter — sex checks. Each packet includes 30 IOUs and 30 UOMEs.

If you add to these a bottle of DIY massage oil (all you need to do is mix some lavender oil with some sweet almond oil and heat it up), some edible body paint (you can buy some here or get a recipe to make your own here) and a couple of glasses of a love potion cocktail, you should be in for a really adventurous night. (Remember not to write a check you can't cash!)

6. Cook Each Other’s Favorite Meals Together

Add some fun to your date night!

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Did you know that a lot of reputable therapists believe that a key to a couple's longevity is to cook together? It's a great way to spend quality time with one another and learn new things. There are also studies to support that cooking with your spouse reduces stress and can even lead to more and better sex as well.

Use this Valentine's Day as an opportunity to cook something neither of you has ever had before (first times for things are always sexy) or cook each other's favorite dishes. Who knows? The home-cooked dinner on the table could lead to some— eh hem — mighty fine dessert on the kitchen floor afterwards.

7. Buy Some “Breakaway” Lingerie


If you're a lingerie connoisseur, you already know that one nice piece of a lil' sumthin' sumthin' can easily run you over 75 bucks. But if you're on a budget and you want to get something new for your man to look at for the sake of Valentine's Day, there are all kinds of places where you can buy, what I call "breakaway lingerie". Literally, something that breaks away from the routine.

Arie is dope because it's got casual sleepwear, plus it features models that aren't photoshopped. Lane Bryant is cool because it's got something for the super curvy ladies (Ashley Stewart and Hips and Curves does too). If you love you some lace, LACELAB on Etsy has definitely got your back. If BDSM with a touch of romance is more your speed, Blossom Body features a nice collection. Or, if a sheer teddy is exactly what you have in mind, hit up Missguided. You'll be able to find one there

8. Stay at a Vacation House or Airbnb

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If you don't want to travel out of town but you want to get out of the house, and the thought of a hotel causes you to yawn with boredom, how about a vacation house or Airbnb? You'll end up with a lot more space and, oftentimes, the costs are much cheaper too.

To be fair, out of all of the things I've suggested, this one probably falls more in the "under $100-150" range. But I still listed it because I saw some vacation home rentals in my own city for $30-50. (Home to Go is a good starting point.)

9. Make a 12-Month Date Calendar


One year, a friend of mine's husband did something on her birthday that earned him all kinds of ooos and ahhs. He bought a calendar and then strategically planned out dates for the entire year. I mean, dates that he literally thought out, twice a month, until her following birthday.

What I adore about this idea is it's a reminder that proactiveness is not only underrated but super sexy too. And you know what? Since there are studies to support that monthly dates are one of the keys to keeping a marriage together, it's a great way to show that quality time with your partner is a top priority — no matter what.

10. Update Your Wedding Vows and Frame Them


It doesn't matter if a couple comes to me for a tune-up (we get our oil changed every 3,000 miles, so why shouldn't spouses check-in with a counselor a couple of times a year?) or they are on their last leg, something that I suggest is that they write down 10-15 things that they love about their spouse and then put it up someplace where they can see it daily.

Along these same lines, it's probably a good idea to frame your wedding vows somewhere around the house too, just as a reminder that your husband is not your boyfriend and your wife is not your girlfriend. Your commitment is a lot more serious (and legal) than that.

Then, maybe alongside your original vows, post some upgraded ones too. You know, the things that you want to promise now that you know more about what marriage is really all about. Think about it — what does "for better or for worse" really mean now that you've been through some things?

Both of you updating your vows can bring some humor to your Valentine's Day; it can also be a reminder of just how far you've come and just how "in this" the two of you really are.

Out of all of the things I've shared, this one is probably the most inexpensive and invaluable.

Happy Valentine's Day, married folks!

Featured image by Getty Images.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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