Budget-Friendly Ways To Celebrate Valentine's Day At Home

With stores at your local mall telling you that the perfect diamond ring is the only way you can affirm your love to your special someone and advertisements on TV inviting you to spend on lavish restaurant dinners to celebrate the special day, the month of love can feel like a race to do the most extravagant thing. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, 2023 is slated to be one of the "highest spending years on record" with analytics placing the expenses at $25.9 billion, a jump from 2022's $23.9 billion.

From its inception at the end of the 5th century as a day to commemorate love, Valentine's Day has come a long way, per Real Simple. Saint Valentine may be the patron saint of love associated with the 14th of February but what we see today is usually a very commercialized version of what was instituted back then. You may have done expensive outings and Valentine's Day gifts for every stage of your relationship in the past, but perhaps this year, you want things to be a little different. Do you and your partner want to do something simple and cost-friendly? Do you want to do it all within the comfort of your home? 

Here are some cute, meaningful, and budget-friendly ways to spend the day with your loved one in 2023. 

Whip up a delicious meal at home

Who said you had to venture out to a fine dining spot to celebrate Valentine's Day? If you and your partner have had a particularly busy week and want to just unwind at home, opting to order in your favorite food or even cook a meal together, can be a lovely way to rekindle the spark on this romantic holiday, per The Spruce.

Cooking together is about much more than creating food together. It's an exercise in building intimacy, reports Hope + Wellness. You're forced to be present with yourself and your partner, you're exercising your coordination and communication skills, and the entire experience can be incredibly sensual too.

A dinner for two that's also quite easy to make is the chicken parmigiana (via All Recipes). You'll need 1 egg (beaten), 2 ounces of bread crumbs, 2 halves of chicken breast (skinless and boneless), ¾ jar spaghetti sauce (16-ounce), 2 ounces of mozzarella (shredded), and ¼ cup Parmesan (grated). Grab a medium baking tray and grease it; preheat the oven to 350 F while you're at it. Add the egg and the bread crumbs to two separate bowls. Coat the chicken with egg and then bread crumbs, place on baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Add the spaghetti sauce into another baking dish and arrange the baked chicken in it, adding more sauce over them. Dust with mozzarella and Parmesan and bake for another 20 minutes.

Schedule a device-free, relaxing evening together

There's no denying the effect of technology on relationship quality, per Life Hack. How many times have you unintentionally snubbed your spouse as you scrolled through Instagram when they were telling you something important? 

Spend an intentional, device-free, Valentine's Day together. You could throw in some relaxing massages or a calming soak in the tub together as well (via The Spruce). With a little bit of pre-thought and perhaps even a few online massage courses (via Couples Massage Courses), you can bring the spa home. It's a budget-friendly and romantic way to spend the day and might just be the best Valentine's Day gift to take your relationship to the next level. All you'll need are some affordable spa essentials, per Wish Shopping Blog, like oils, bath salts, and robes.

If a spa evening isn't really your thing, why not grab a few blankets, leave your phones aside, and settle in for some good old-fashioned stargazing? (via Zero Waste Memoirs). 

Have a movie night at home (you can invite the kids, friends, or family if you want to)

If you've got some popcorn and some chocolates, you're good to go for a movie night at home, per Town & Country. You don't have to stop at just one movie like at the theater either. You can spend some quality time binging on shows you've always wanted to watch together. In fact, a group of studies published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships has found that couples form a mutually beneficial connection when they binge-watch shows together, especially in the context of long-distance relationships when each partner has different social circles than the other (via Scientific American).

If you're one of those couples that enjoy spending quality time with your kids, friends, or other family members, why not make movie time a family thing instead? There are no rules to how you should be celebrating your at-home Valentine's Day. You can either watch movies together or put on a different movie for the kids.

As mom and wife Simona Noce Wright told The Washington Post, Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about having a significant other, especially when you have children in the picture. "I want them to create moments of love, whether it's with their family, their friends, or in a relationship," she shared. 

Go down memory lane together or plan future trips

The busyness of life can sometimes get in the way of reminiscing fond memories or even making plans for the future. Why not use this special day in February to do that? You can even compile a scrapbook of past travels together while discussing future ones you could take. Your partner and you are sure to come away with positive emotions from this activity, adds PureWow

Planning for the future, especially if it's a trip you've both been wanting to take, can add some fun to your relationship (via Zero Waste Memoirs). If you're going down memory lane, you can relive the first time the two of you met. If you're married, you can pull out your wedding album and flip through those images together (or with your kids, per The Washington Post). The options are endless and it can all be done within a budget. 

If you're not really into scrapbooking and don't like discussing your future, but still want to spend quality time with your significant other, why not try meditating, dancing, doing a puzzle together, playing board games, joining a book club, or even doing something crafty like decorating your mantel for Valentine's Day? (via PureWow)

Have a party for two at home

You don't have to leave the perfect romantic hairstyle for Valentine's Day for an outdoor occasion that involves more than you and your significant other. Dressing up at home for each other can be a fun and exciting way to spend this holiday, per The Spruce. You can choose outfits you know might surprise your partner. Why not show off some of your mixology skills and concoct a few cocktails after you're all spruced up for the evening?

A Valentine's Day party for two at home can be a relaxing yet fun way to liven things up without the added fuss of leaving the home, engaging in small talk with people you meet for the first time, and finding a way back home after a few drinks at the bar.

Even engaging in a virtual wine-tasting class can be a creative way to celebrate your love this Valentine's Day, via PureWow.