Cheap Ways to Impress Your Valentine

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Planning the perfect Valentine’s Day is easy. Rustle up a couple hundred bucks, dust off your nicest sportcoat and take your date to the prix fixe restaurant of your choice. But here’s a counterargument. Those places are expensive. And despite the expensive price tag, you’ll have very little to show for all your hard work the next day. Your stomach won’t remember how tender and succulent that Duck Provencal was.

Sure, there’s an argument to be made that $300 for happy, romantic memories is money well spent. But you know who says things like that? Idiots. 

So what’s the cheap (that is to say: smart) person to do? There are plenty of inexpensive dates that still pack a romantic punch, like a stroll through the park or snuggling under the covers with to watch a favorite movie. But where’s the fun in that? Valentine’s Day is about creativity, and ingenuity—just like its namesake, Billy Ray Valentine, Eddie Murphy’s quick-witted character in the 1983 film Trading Places. (Note to self: fact check this).

No, if you really want to impress your date—to deepen your young relationship, or to keep the spark alive with your long-term partner—you have to provide for her. Take her for a date so cheap that it actually costs a negative amount. Get something for free, make some money—do your Valentine’s Day right, and you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. Here are some fun ideas to make your romantic evening pop:


Sweet Charity

Did you know you can make up to $50 donating your plasma? Sure, there are some ethical considerations about the fact that your donation is going to a private, for-profit enterprise, rather than a charitable organization like the Red Cross. But who cares? What are you, a sucker? Take that money and invest it in something dependable, like bitcoin.


A Drive to Remember

Take an Uber somewhere romantic, like the Gowanus Canal. (Did you know that in the right light, it looks purple?) As you’re getting out, make sure to leave your wallet in the car. Later that evening, once you’ve bid your Valentine adieu, file a complaint saying that your driver threatened you and stole all of your money. With any luck, you’ll be getting your fare back . . . and much, much more!


A Timeless Memento

Go to the pawn shop with your sweetest and sell your wedding ring for some sweet, sweet cash. They say that a diamond ring should cost three month’s wages—but exchanging it for what you make in a week isn’t too shabby, either.


A Beautiful Card

Remember when you were a kid, and your teacher asked you to write Valentine’s Day cards for all your classmates, even the nerds? Well, what you might not realize is that most schools throw their extra cards out at the end of the day. Take a dive into the dumpster of your nearest elementary school and pick out the most beautiful card you can find! Your date might ask why it’s written in crayon, or why “Valentine’s” is spelled so poorly, but who cares? You’ve done the bare minimum.


A Dinner on the Town

This one’s for the romantics, the foodies, everybody who wants to go on a beautiful date but isn’t a total wimp. Take your date to the nicest restaurant you know. Order a magnificent wine; pretend you’re Harry and Meghan and eat like you’re royals. Cracked crab! Goose terrine! Take the fattiest things you can find and stuff them down your gullet. Then, just don’t pay! Have your date walk out the front door while you climb out the bathroom window.

Bonus points if you steal the silverware, too.


HQ Trivia

In the six months since it premiered, the smartphone app HQ Trivia has become a sensation. Over a million people play the mobile quiz game each night, hoping to win a small portion of the evening’s prize money. The game has even propelled its affable host Scott Rogowsky to stardom—even if you haven’t played the game, you’ll recognize him from his appearances on this year’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. People play HQ because it’s fun, because it challenges them intellectually and because they hope that it might just win them a little green. So instead of going on a date…just do that. My sister won $35 once—you could too, maybe. I don’t know. It’s worth a shot.


These are my suggestions, but take them all with a grain of salt. And don’t sue me if they don’t work for you—I already know that scam. This story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.



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