7 Free Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day in 2024
Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with yourself, a partner, family, or chosen family, there are many ways to have a fun day without spending money on a Valentine’s Day gift. In fact, sometimes the focus on how much you’re spending — or how much the other person spends on you — can detract from the experience.
Instead, if you can make the day about strengthening connections with the loved ones in your life, it might turn out to be the most memorable Valentine’s Day yet.
7 $0 Valentine's Day ideas
To be fair, a few of these ideas aren’t completely free — you might need to grab a couple of small items or buy a new game. But we are suggesting seven free or very inexpensive Valentine’s Day activities. And none of them require you to buy anything that you’ll only use for the day.
1. Organize a DIY spa day
It’s one of the most obvious free Valentine’s Day ideas for a reason — a little pampering can feel wonderful.
Look for any lotions, oils, scrubs, and masks that you have hiding in your bathroom or closet. Or turn to some kitchen basics, like olive oil, sugar, coffee grinds, and citrus to make DIY scrubs and infusions.
Once your supplies are ready, create a relaxing atmosphere with the right playlist, drinks, and lighting. Then go ahead and pamper yourself, or each other.
2. Learn something new together
Think of something that you’re both interested in and want to learn. It could be as simple as how to draw a cat, or as complex as trying to understand the fuss about AI. Or something in between, like a new dance move.
There are lots of free online courses that you can use as guides. And spending an evening learning something new together can be a great way to feel accomplished and connected at the same time.
3. Go through the 36 questions that “lead to love”
The New York Times’s The 36 Questions That Lead to Love article from 2015 is an oldie and a goodie. Based on a study about intimacy, asking and answering these 36 questions can help create or grow a spark between two people. The questions can be fun, funny, intimate, and scary, and they become more personal as you work your way through the list.
4. Enjoy a game night inside
A game night can be a great and inexpensive way to bring a group of friends together if you’re hosting a larger Valentine’s Day gathering.
Similar to the 36 questions, but a better fit for a group, Esther Perel’s Where Should We Begin? A Game of Stories is a conversation-starting card game for up to six people. You might learn something new about your friends and better appreciate how they experience the world — no falling in love required.
You may be able to find similar types of conversation-starting prompts online if you want a DIY and free approach to that type of game. And, of course, there are plenty of other options if you prefer a more traditional day of friendly competition.
5. Create a scavenger hunt for your partner
You could also create your own game by planning a scavenger hunt for your partner. It could lead to a trip about town or take place entirely within your home. Either way, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate how much you care about them by putting in the time to plan everything out. And to show how much you know them by working in clues, prizes, and activities that will surprise and delight them.
6. Listen to a book or podcast together
To add a Valentine’s Day twist to listening to something together, look for an audiobook or consider one of the many podcasts focused on relationships. You can find free audiobooks from your local library using the Libby app, and most podcasts are free.
If you want to keep your hands or body active at the same time, work on a puzzle, doodle, or find something else that you can do together that doesn’t require much focus.
7. Plan a volunteer day
Nothing says “I love you” more than simply spending time together. And you can do so while helping others which can also make for a rewarding and fun date. You can ask local organizations if they’re looking for help on Valentine’s Day — or the weekend before or after.
Many cities and states also have online volunteering-matching lists and services. They might require a longer commitment, but perhaps your first volunteer date will be one of many.
You don’t have to figuratively or literally, buy into the hype to celebrate Valentine’s Day. No matter what you choose to do, try to remember that Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love and connection with the special people in your life.