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30 Cheap, Last-Minute Date Ideas for Valentine's Day and Beyond

She doesn't like you for your bank account.

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Not all dates have to entail whisking her away to Paris to go BASE jumping off the Eiffel Tower, bottles of champagne in hand. Nor do you have to settle for another round of beers at the same corner bar you always end up at. Think original. Think fun. And think in a way that won't sacrifice a paycheck. With Valentine's Day coming up—gifts and dates are in order—we brainstormed 30 particularly fun excursions that don't require a ton of forethought or cash (they all fall in the zero-dollar to hundred-dollar range). Have a great time together, you crazy kids.

Ice skates hanging against red wall
Iris FriedrichGetty Images
For the Romantic: An Hour at the Rink

Why she'll like it: C'mon, you've seen all the movies and TV shows. Ice skating is cute as hell. It also requires a fair amount of skill and grace, so chances are she'll skate circles around you, which she'll also like.

Don't spend more than: $30 for rental skates

Goes great with: Irish coffees and extra thick socks

Carhartt cold weather boot sock ($14),

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Dice of RPG
LRechGetty Images
For the Woman Who Loves Game Night: A Board Game Bar

Why she'll like it: 28365365备用网址Bars like these have walls and walls of board games for her to choose from, plus drinks and a great atmosphere.

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $40 for a couple rounds

Goes great with: A cool deck of cards

Areaware Minim playing cards ($13),

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Girl with birds tattooed on shoulder. Freedom concept
Getty Images
For the Woman Who's Fearless: A Flash Tattoo Appointment

Why she'll like it: Flash tattoos don't require much forethought; a tattoo parlor will give you a book of small designs to choose from, and ink you both with your chosen designs within a half hour. Easy, but bold, too.

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $120 (flash tattoos run around $50 each, plus tip)

Goes great with: Petroleum jelly for aftercare. And photographic documentation of the entire process.

Vaseline ($6),

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Lifestyle of student are relaxing at coffee shop on holiday.
TK 1993Getty Images
For the Woman Who's Low-Key: A Coffee Shop Date

Why she'll like it: Here us out. Do due diligence and find a coffee shop that's extra charming—poofy chairs, cool artwork, live plants, the works. Bring your favorite books and settle in for a few hours. Drink a lot of overpriced coffee.

Don't spend more than: $20

Goes great with: Thematically appropriate boxers

Edgar Allan Poe-ka Dot unisex boxers ($10),

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Taiwanese woman playing electric guitar near record collection
ShestockGetty Images
For the Aspiring Musician: A Doubles Guitar Lesson

Why she'll like it: If you can book time for a couples-style lesson together with an instructor, you can both fumble through your first cords—and be well on your way to being true musicians. Of course, if guitar doesn't work, then there's always drums, mandolin, piano, flute...

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $50 for an hour-long lesson for two (guitars included)

Goes great with: 28365365备用网址Tickets to a concert

Buy Ticketmaster tickets (prices vary), ticketmaster.com

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Museum of Ice Cream
picture allianceGetty Images
For the Woman with a Social Following: A Trendy Pop-Up Museum

Why she'll like it: These “experiences” are fun and photogenic. Whether it’s the Candytopia in Atlanta, the U.S. Pizza Museum in Chicago, or the Rosé Mansion in New York, she’ll get a great photo for the ‘gram.

Don't spend more than: $90 on two tickets

Goes great with:28365365备用网址 A disposable camera for some analog snaps

Kodak FunSaver disposable camera ($16),

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Man Taking A Bowling Ball
Boris JovanovicStocksy
For the Woman with Old-School Style: Bowling

Why she'll like it: You can’t get much more classic than a night at the bowling alley. Grab a pair of shoes and cheer each other on under the neon lights.

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $70 on shoes, lanes, and fries

Goes great with: Sour Patch kids, like old times

Buy Sour Patch Kids 1.9-lb bag ($5), target.com

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Happy Couple Travelling With A Backpack
LuminaStocksy
For the Woman Who Likes the Wilderness: A Winter Hike

Why she'll like it: Winter is beautiful in its own way. Bundle up and hit the trails, where fresh snow changes the landscape into a fantasy world.

Don't spend more than: $0

Goes great with: A tumbler of hot coffee

Zojirushi coffee mug ($26),

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Clusterfest comedy festival
Getty Images
For the Woman Who Sees the Good in Everyone: An Open Mic Night

Why she'll like it: You never know what you’ll get on an open mic night, but you know whatever it is will be interesting. Even if a performer chokes on stage, she’ll appreciate the bravery it took to get up there. Especially if that performer is you.

Don't spend more than: $15 on two drinks. You probably won’t be staying long.

Goes great with:28365365备用网址 A journal for writing your own terrible poetry together

Buy Snerd Studios dot grid notebook ($22), nordstrom.com

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Fish Tacos
Ronnie ComeauStocksy
For a First Date: A Taco Tour

Why she’ll like it: You shouldn’t overthink the first date—grabbing food is a fine way to get to know someone. But planning a route so you can try delicious tacos (and accompanying drinks) at different stops along the way is more fun than sitting still. Call it a mini-adventure.

Don’t spend more than: $50 (and eat no fewer than three tacos each)

Goes great with: Colorful food commentary and a taco book

"Guerilla Tacos" ($21),

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USA, New Jersey, Mid adult couple running
Tetra ImagesGetty Images
For the Athlete: A 5K Race

Why she'll like it: Even if she has to drag your limp body across the finish line, it's the tag-along-to-the-gym afternoon you've never taken her up on before. A search for "Valentine 5K" or "Love the Run You're With" should turn up one of many couples' runs in a nearby city.

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $45 to register, which goes straight to charity

Goes great with: New joggers (for you) and a hamstring massage (for her)

Buy Nike Phenom Running Pants ($70), nordstrom.com

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Vodafone Fashionable Pub Quiz
Chris JacksonGetty Images
For the Woman Who Knows Everything: Trivia Night

Why she’ll like it: Cheap drinks, fierce competition, and the chance to prove you wrong.

Don’t spend more than: $30 on drinks

Goes great with: Slices of pizza afterwards to celebrate your win (and soak up the victory shots), and a trivia game for home

Smart Ass trivia game ($12),

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Barcade
Jeffrey Gurwin/REX/Shutterstock
For the Competitor: An Evening at a Barcade

Why she'll like it: What’s not to like about arguing over Street Fighter high scores and Pop-A-Shot basket counts?

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $30. Gotta cut off your quarter supply at some point.

Goes great with: 28365365备用网址Mini arcade games for the Uber ride home

Pac-Man mini arcade game ($19),

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Close up of athlete climbing rock wall in gym
John FedeleGetty Images
For the Woman Who's Braver Than You: A Rock-Climbing Session

Why she'll like it:28365365备用网址 She probably hasn't done it in years, and the adrenaline kick couldn't hurt either of you.

Don't spend more than: $60 for the session

Goes great with: Gatorade

Gatorade BOLT24 ($16 for a dozen),

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Mother nature setting the scene for love
Cecilie_ArcursGetty Images
For the Great Outdoorswoman: A Boozy Picnic in the Park

Why she'll like it:28365365备用网址 It's as casual as getting together for drinks, with the perks of open sky and fresh air.

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $40—half on a bottle of wine, half on cheese and crackers

Goes great with: A bug-repelling candle and a creative vessel to mask the public alcohol consumption

Mosquito-repelling incense sticks ($6),

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Summit Entertainment
For the Girlfriend: A Night at a Jazz Club

Why she'll like it: We all saw La La Land.

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $60—for tickets at the door and drinks

Goes great with:28365365备用网址 A vinyl jazz record, preferably Billie Holiday

Lady Sings the Blues ($15),

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US-LIFESTYLE-ANIMALS-CAT CAFE
EMMANUEL DUNANDGetty Images
For the Woman Who Loves Her Cat More Than You: An Hour at a Cat Cafe

Why she'll like it: These cafes are popping up all over the place, and the cats are actually friendly.

Don't spend more than: 28365365备用网址$40 on the price of admission and cappuccinos

Goes great with: A donation to the closest animal shelter—the cafe will know which one—28365365备用网址and antihistamine

Become an ASPCA Guardian,

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Dog Sitting Next To Owner
Severin MatusekGetty Images
For the Woman Who Loves Her Dog More Than You: A Drink at

Why she'll like it:28365365备用网址 Bars around the country sponsor "yappy hours"—that's cheap drinks, dogs allowed.

Don't spend more than: $30—$25 on drinks, $5 on a designer dog biscuit

Goes great with: A leather dog collar

Perri's Amish-made collar ($8),

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Stephen + Anne TruppeStocksy
For the Fiancée: Drinks at a Speakeasy (a Real Speakeasy)

Why she'll like it: 28365365备用网址Secrets are fun. Plus, the lowkey setting and mood lighting will soothe both of your frayed, wedding-planning nerves.

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $60 on two rounds of drinks, and $20 for the doorman

Goes great with:28365365备用网址 Coffee and bagels in bed the next morning

Buy A dozen Russ & Daughters bagels ($15), goldbelly.com

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Mountain Lodge in Winter
ImagineGolfStocksy
For the Woman Who Works Too Much: A Quiet Retreat in the Woods

Why she'll like it: It's the chance to unplug, unwind, and just sit—an underrated past time these days—surrounded by trees. It's one step up from a stay-cation.

Don't spend more than: $80 for one night in a remote Airbnb

Goes great with: A crackling fire, a bottle of wine, and a playlist of these songs

Buy Substance Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($15), wine.com

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Ready for an amazing meal?
kupicooGetty Images
For the Woman Who Wants to Take it Easy: An Evening at Her Service

Why she'll like it: Take it literally and don't have her do anything: You make her dinner, you set the table, you fix her a drink28365365备用网址, you do the dishes, you massage her feet, you rinse, you repeat.

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $35 on a ton of good, cheap wine—boxes approved

Goes great with:28365365备用网址 A call bell

Mroco call bell ($6),

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Stocksy
For the Woman You've Only Been Dating for Two Weeks: A Hot Reservation

Why she'll like it: Cooking for her may or may not be too intimate, but "going for drinks" again may lead to absolutely nothing. Middle ground: Hit —late seatings might still be available, so you'll have time to loosen up with that drink beforehand.

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $100; think off-the-beaten-path bistro, not the fanciest joint in town

Goes great with: Flowers; think peonies, tulips, or gerbera daisies, not roses

Deliver Fresh-cut tulips ($49), bouqs.com

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Some well needed me time
PeopleImagesGetty Images
For the Woman Who's Not Quite Ready to Get Hitched: A Spa Day

Why she'll like it:28365365备用网址 It's no ring, but it's indulgent enough for her to brag about to her friends. Plus, you avoid the bait-and-switch of a romantic weekend with no payoff—for either of you.

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $100. Try a facial-and-pedicure combo package.

Goes great with: A romantic dinner when she returns home—and a big bottle of something strong

Buy Johnnie Walker Black Label ($38), drizly.com

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image
Stocksy
For the Woman Who's Ready to Get Hitched: An Intimate Video (Not a Sex Tape)

Why she'll like it:28365365备用网址 Sounds embarrassing, but get her talking into your phone, and she'll get into it. Stretch out your arm in bed and tell each other romantic things: how you met, how you make up, how you make whoopee. Then suggest you play this video not on YouTube but at your wedding—and propose.

Don't spend more than: A few seconds with a high-quality iPhone recorder28365365备用网址 and mic, if that

Goes great with: You know, a ring

Comica mini microphone ($46),

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Couple laying on bed playing video games
Jon Feingersh Photography IncGetty Images
For the Woman Expecting Your Child: An Intimate Video-Game Session (Not Madden)

Why she'll like it: Because she ain't gonna be up for much else, and Look Who's Talking Too on the couch ain't gonna cut it. Pop in a racing game or one of the throwback Mario titles into your Wii. Laugh, cheer, and heckle accordingly.

Don't spend more than: $30 on comfort food

Goes great with: Some healthy competition, and possibly a bet on the final score

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate ($59),

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The Official Launch Party For Spike TV At The Playboy Mansion - Inside
Jeff KravitzGetty Images
For the Friend with Benefits: A Burlesque Show (By a Professional, Not You)

Why she'll like it: Just because she doesn't want a boyfriend doesn't mean you can't set the mood. Find one of a growing number of clubs for the ultimate in non-romantic sexiness.

Don't spend more than: $50 for two tickets—more than that and you better be seeing Dita Von Teese

Goes great with:28365365备用网址 A joke-y sex gift, like edible underwear, which is still kinda funny

Buy Candy bra ($12), lovehoney.com

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Kevin Hewitt Photography Inc.Stocksy
For the Foodie: A Supper-Club Outing

Why she'll like it:28365365备用网址 Supper clubs are like speakeasies for eating—underground and enthusiast-friendly, except they take place at the homes of local chefs, too. They even have websites, especially in cities like San Francisco, Washington, and New York.

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $100 for dinner, although many are by donation

Goes great with: Thomas Keller's fantastic cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home

Ad Hoc at Home ($31),

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Image: Film and Television
Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock
For the Woman with Expensive Taste: A (Window) Shopping Spree

Why she'll like it: Because it's shopping, with good company. Take her to your local Saks and wait as she reenacts Pretty Woman with a not-quite-on-sale-enough gown or two. Compliment excessively. Do not buy. Yet.

Don't spend more than:28365365备用网址 $60 for Ralph Lauren's latest fragrance on the way out

Goes great with: Subscriptions to BagBorrowSteal.com

Bag Borrow or Steal gift card,

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Chef assisting a cooking class
Hinterhaus ProductionsGetty Images
For the Homebody: A Cooking Class

Why she'll like it:28365365备用网址 Bonding, knives, and wine—good things all, but in that order. A good maître d' at your local restaurant can recommend a decent one-off lesson for a decent tip, which you'll recoup by dining at home the next few weekends.

Don't spend more than: $85

Goes great with: A retro ruffled apron, which she might want to wear all by itself

Buy Chambray Apron ($34), anthropologie.com

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microphone
Stocksy
For the Ex You're Trying to Get Back: A Round or Two (Max) of Karaoke

Why she'll like it: Karaoke is so ridiculous as to be disarming, especially when Journey is involved. And crooning a song she remembers you by—not your song, a28365365备用网址 song—is just disarming enough for her to reconsider the breakup. Worth a shot at a second chance, right?

Don't spend more than: $40 on drinks. For yourself. For pitch.

Goes great with: Nothing. A premeditated gift for an ex-girlfriend is bad news.

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