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Valentine's Day: 10 date nights for less than a pineapple

When you’re saving every penny for your big day, a Valentine's Day date is more likely to involve pizza and a hoodie than a candlelit dinner and your best dress. 
While a movie marathon and a bowl of popcorn is never a bad option, it’s also nice to tap into the romance and excitement of those early days of your relationship, before your life was taken over by seating charts and pre-wedding workouts. And to prove that date night doesn't have to break the bank, we’ve put together a list of our top 10 Valentine's dates for under $50. 

Get back to nature

Having a relaxing spa day with your man can be pricey, but if you take advantage of the off-peak trading hours at places like Peninsula Hot Springs in the Mornington Peninsula, you can save money while blissfully bathing in the thermal mineral pools and saunas. With hilltop views of the surrounding areas and starting from only $20 per person, this is a sure winner. 

Go retro

Channel the likes of Sandy, Danny, Rizzo and co with a trip to the drive-in. If you're in Sydney, Skyline Drive In Blacktown shows a range of new release movies every weekend, all just 40 minutes' drive from the CBD. It's only $20 for one car with two people, so you'll have cashola left over for a burger and shake at the retro diner.

To market, to market

Experience a variety of unique art and design products for every budget at the Rose Street Artists’ Market in Fitzroy. Spend the day browsing the stalls before grabbing food and bevvies at the rooftop bar of Young Bloods Diner. You might even find the perfect gifts for your bridal party while you're there!

Cocktail o'clock

Sure, there's nothing new about cocktails for date night, but there's a reason why they've endured for so many years: because they're awesome. Open up Time Out, The Urban List or Broadsheet, pick a cocktail place you've never been to before and tell your lover to meet you at the bar - first round's on you.

Work up a sweat

Couples that train together, stay together. Depending on how you choose to get moving, working out with your fiancé can give you a good laugh or plenty of time to chat and enjoy each other’s company. Think mountain hikes, bush walks and bike rides if you don’t want to spend a thing or, if you’re looking to try something new, have a go at kayaking, rock climbing, tennis or a local fun run. High-on-life endorphins, guaranteed!

Trivial matters

A lot of local bars and pubs host trivia nights, with questions about everything from pop culture and sport to history and current affairs. So put your brain to the test, have a drink and potentially win some prizes! Up the fun factor and (friendly) competition by organising a group to go with you. 

Go bush

Camping is the cheap alternative to a luxury getaway, as many sites are either free or charge a low price. Wilderness-appropriate food is typically inexpensive, and activities such as hiking, swimming and exploring the small local towns are equally budget-friendly. If you don’t have camping gear, ask to borrow from a friend, and take a weekend away to make memories and spend some quality time with your man. 

Get your culture on

Think outside the box and see an exhibit that appeals to your interests. If you’re not a frequent gallery-goer, you’ll be surprised at the variety of things to see, ranging from modern art to fashion, animation and cars. There’s something out there for everyone, so don’t be afraid to try something new! 

The big game

Whether you prefer AFL, tennis, soccer or netball, see who's playing this weekend and head down to your local ground for the big game - nothing brings you together like cheering for the same team. Alternatively, get competitive and pick opposing sides, then see who wins! 

Fruity frolics

Australia is home to a variety of fruit farms, so take a day to fill your basket with berries, cherries and stone fruits year-round. When you’ve finished you can pack your loot for a picnic, or take them home and try a new recipe together. You can never go wrong with strawberries and chocolate! 
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