It's almost Valentine's Day, which means it's almost time to blow an entire paycheck on a dozen long stemmed roses, a six-foot tall teddy bear, and a rare, perfectly aged bottle of champagne.
And don't forget to reserve this chic restaurant, which has limited seats due to the pandemic and which only serves an overpriced “tasting menu” that evening!
Oh, and it wouldn't hurt to jump in for a couples massage too, would it?
Wait, did anyone mention a box of chocolates?
Well, the good news is that you can do without the romantic candles – at this point your empty wallet is useless and you can just set it on fire and let the soft, warm glow of broke wash over you and your date.
Romance isn't it?
But it doesn't have to be like that.
A Valentine's Day idea that costs just a penny
Finances can be a pretty touchy topic when you're into it for the long term, and the last thing you need is to add another expensive line item to your couple's budget this month.
Fortunately, there is a way to take your sweetheart on a fun and interesting date – like you've probably never done before – that won't cost you more than a dime, for example.
(Which happens to be our favorite coin!)
The penny date rules
This is how it works:
Find a penny. When you don't have a dime on hand, all you need to do is pull the pillows off the couch, check your car's cup holder, or sneak one out of your kid's piggy bank while they're at school.
Roll a 30-sided dice. Alternatively, you can have your date pick a number (without telling them what it is for) or use an online random number generator. This number is the number of laps you will do during your appointment.
Get in the car or pick a corner as you walk to get started.
Let your date flip the penny to begin the adventure. When it lands upside down, turn right. When it lands, turn left.
Walk or go in the direction the penny is pointing. Stop and turn every time you reach a stop sign, traffic light, or intersection.
Keep turning the penny, turning left or right at each point until you reach the number you set at the start of the night.
When you get to that number, stop the car (or your legs).
Wherever you are, your date will take place here.
If you are looking for a park with a nice, lighted pavilion this is good for you!
If all you see in front of you is a gas station, good luck and a romantic twist to you. Yikes
But it's all part of the adventure, isn't it?
Not really. The fun of the penny date lies in the mystery, in the confusion and in the downright ridiculous amount of time you spend together. It's a way to do something different, something you normally wouldn't have done, and have fun doing it.
In any case, it is sure to be an unforgettable date, right?
A few pointers on how to create the perfect penny date
To keep costs down, bring a picnic lunch. That way, wherever you land, you'll have dinner ready. (This is especially important if you are attending Valentine's Day on that day, as most seats are fully booked. You cannot randomly show up at a restaurant expecting a table – especially at this age of social distancing.)
You don't have to be in a metropolitan area for this date to work. However, you want to adjust the number of turns based on your location. 30 turns doesn't take long on the city streets, but if you drive long back roads, 30 turns can take forever.
Even if there is a stop sign or traffic light, don't turn into a parking lot or street with no electrical outlet. Just go to the next intersection and turn the penny over there.
Keep your spirit of adventure open to the experience. Chances are you'll end up in a less romantic (or maybe even downright weird) place, but that's all part of the fun of a date night that's completely left to chance.
Most of the time, a penny date offers a little nonsense, lots of laughs, and some really great stories.
Plus, like any good relationship, a penny date is about the journey – not the destination.
Law? (Nothing left.)
Grace Schweizer is the email content writer at The Penny Hoarder.
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