Valentine’s Day can be a minefield, especially in the early days of a relationship. Pricey restaurants, bouquets, boxes of chocolate…it all adds up. But you don’t have to break the bank to have a memorable date. Here’s how to combine frugality with romance.

Cook a meal

Cooking for someone special is a great way to step out of your comfort zone in the kitchen. While there’s no need to prepare a 15 course tasting menu, the internet offers a world of recipes to appeal to your adventurous side. Plus, if it doesn’t work out and your date sees the funny side, at least you know they’re a keeper.

Film night

Curling up on the sofa is a date night standard - and for good reason. The lighting is low, the food plentiful and the drinks cheap. Add the power to select your own entertainment and you have the perfect night in.

Take a hike

Whether you’re surrounded by countryside vistas or urban jungle, there’s always something to explore nearby. If the weather’s good you can end your jaunt in a park. If not, there’s always a pub for a warm up. Conversation always seems to flow best when walking, don’t you think?

Go out for lunch

One way to beat the cost of a Valentine’s meal is to go out at lunchtime. There’s often a set menu and so long as you lay off the wine it’s easy to keep the bill in the £10-20 range. This is a good opportunity to try a restaurant that might otherwise be out of your price range.

Visit a museum

Here in the UK, we’re fortunate that most of our museums are free. A stroll around one of these much loved institutions followed by tea and cake in the café makes for an inexpensive and mentally stimulating date. You certainly won’t run out of things to talk about.

Go to a gig

For a few pounds or less, you can enjoy a whole evening of music. Stick to half pints or soft drinks while you’re out and you can keep costs to a minimum.

See a play

A trip to the theatre (even if it’s just the back room of a pub) is an interesting option for an affordable date. Will the performance be transformative or totally awful? Old hands know that question is part of the fun. Matinées (afternoon performances) tend to be cheaper than evenings.