Five Ways to Enjoy Valentine’s Day on a Budget

If there is love in your smoke-filled air, then it’s a fantastic time to start planning your Valentine’s celebration. Over the next few weeks, What’s On In Wollongong will be giving you all the hot tips on how and where to spend the occasion with your loved one. But for now, we want to take a look at how you can dress up your Valentine’s plans when working with a budget.

Let’s face it; it’s an expensive time of year. If Christmas knocked you around and the school holidays are leaving you feeling like a walking ATM, we get it. Many are trying to build that romance factor on a strict budget, and we are here to give you a helping hand.

Let’s look at five ways you can fill your romance cup without taking out a loan. 

Focus on Dessert

If your Valentine’s will consist of spending the day at the office before Friday night’s scheduled spaghetti with the family, don’t despair, there is still an opportunity to wow your other half with something special.  

Dessert can be a great way to share a few special moments once the day is coming to a close, and the jobs ticked off. Surprise your special someone with a unique offering from a local sweet spot like Pasticceria Massimo Papa in Fairy Meadow that offers cannoli, cakes and other Italian sweets that will certainly get you in the good books. 

Share a Picnic

If you can swing a lunch or dinner date but don’t have the budget to spring for a seafood extravaganza, score brownie points with a picnic instead. 

Depending on your available time, you can either create something from store-bought ready-made options or put in the hard yards and make it from scratch with sandwiches, cut fruit, and heart-shaped cupcakes. Make this one as simple or as complex as you like. Just add the picnic rug as well as a scenic spot on the beach, and you are sure to impress. 

If you are feeling creative, try your hand at a charcuterie board with an assortment of meats, cheeses, crackers and fruit to share. Oh, and don’t forget the wine or champers.

Book a Low-Key Dinner

Dinners don’t have to be expensive to be unique and romantic. Some of the best experiences as a couple are enjoyed over some cheap sushi and a few laughs. 

If you are looking for a night out that won’t break the bank, consider some of our local restaurants that have a more intimate atmosphere and exotic cuisines such as HaLongBayVietnamese in Wollongong, SitSmileThai in Corrimal, or Kneading Ruby for your Italian fix in Wollongong. 

Looking for something sweet to share afterwards? Head straight to Kürtősh in Wollongong Central for their title pastry dessert.

A Classic with a Twist

Many first dates are spent clumsily side-eyeing our partner from the comfort of movie-theatre darkness. Will they hold my hand? Should I hold theirs? It’s such an exciting time. 

Whether you have had a thousand dates since that first nerve-racking trip to the cinema or you are trying to pull out the big guns right off the bat with a first date to be reckoned with, we’ve got you sorted in two words, Sunset Cinema

Every summer, Sunset Cinema uses the stunning backdrop of the Fig Lawn in Wollongong’s Botanic Gardens to host a fully-licensed outdoor cinema experience you won’t forget in a hurry. 

Most summer showings are on sale now though the main event for Valentine’s Day is being kept under wraps for the moment. Don’t worry, we will let you know when the big secret is released. 

UPDATE: Sunset Cinema Announces Ten Things I Hate About You as Valentine’s Day feature. Book Now!

Sunset Cinema Wollongong

Surprise them with flowers

When all else fails, and you just can’t find the time or the funds to make plans stick, you can always resort to the old faithful flower. 

Florists like Primavera in Wollongong – phone: (02) 4226 2887 – or Twig & Bo in Bulli – phone 0433 273 202 – make beautiful arrangements that can be collected or delivered.


Zoë Wood is an international travel writer from the local Illawarra area. Contact her here: Facebook –  Instagram  –  Email