Want to treat your honey to a special Valentine's Day, but you're feeling broke?
Here are four extra-special date ideas that are free or inexpensive. Who needs the super-cliché dinner and a movie, anyway?
#1: Visit a Museum
Tickets to museums are usually moderately priced ($10-$20 per ticket, plus student and senior discounts), and provide several hours of educational entertainment.
You and your date can choose what type of museum peaks your interest - art, history, or natural/geological history. You'll learn a few things as you stroll hand-in-hand throughout the exhibits.
If you live in an area that's not too cold or foggy, grab a blanket (or a couple of warm sleeping bags) and lay in the backyard to do some stargazing. Bring a small picnic basket with you, perhaps with a budget bottle of wine. Check out free apps on your smartphone - like the free Sky Map of Constellation -- that identifies what you're seeing.
If you live in a city, you may need to drive to a rural area - away from city lights - to see the stars. In this case, combine stargazing with a miniature road trip.
Play your favorite music as you cruise out to the country, and stop off at a small-town diner for some old-fashioned burgers and fries. Who knows? You might even slow-dance to some jukebox music.
The Thanksgiving and Christmas volunteerism frenzy has calmed down, but local charities still need your help.
Call around to find a charity that needs your help for an evening. You and your date can stuff envelopes, stock a food pantry, deliver flowers to hospital patients, visit seniors in a retirement home, or clean up litter.
Some cities or towns have "volunteer clearinghouses" - nonprofit organizations designed to match volunteers with local charities that need their help. Run a Google search for the name of your town, plus "volunteer clearinghouse" or "volunteer listing house" - this is a great way to start searching for a place to serve.
#4: Paint Like a Kid
Head to your local hardware store to grab a discounted quart or pint of "oops" paint - paint that the store mixed incorrectly, and sells at a steep discount.
Pick up a few brushes, buy a painters tarp to protect the floor from your mess, and spend the evening painting like you're kids again.
You can paint an old bookcase, an old dresser - anything junky that you have around the house.
Don't have anything junky? There's plenty of free stuff on Craigslist - just peruse the "free" section.
Make designs, swirls and little decorations. Play your favorite music in the background. Snack on appetizers or open a bottle of budget wine.