Itâs nearly Valentineâs Day, which means itâs almost time to blow an entire paycheck on a dozen long-stem roses, a six-foot-tall teddy bear and a rare, perfectly aged bottle of Champagne.Â
And donât forget to make a reservation for that fancy restaurant that has limited seating due to the pandemic and is only serving an overpriced âtasting menuâ on that particular night!
Oh, and it wouldnât hurt to spring for a coupleâs massage, too, right?
Wait, did someone mention a box of chocolates?
Well, the good news is you can forgo the romantic candles â at this point, your empty wallet is useless and you can just set fire to it and let the soft, warm glow of broke-ness wash over you and your date.Â
But it doesnât have to be like that.Â
A Valentineâs Day Date Idea That Only Costs a Penny
In fact, if youâre in it for the long haul, finances can be a pretty touchy subject, and the last thing you need is to add another pricy line-item to your coupleâs budget this month.Â
Luckily, thereâs a way to take your sweetheart on a fun and interesting date â the likes of which theyâve probably never been on before â that wonât cost you more than, say, a penny.Â
(Which just so happens to be our favorite coin!)
The Penny Date Rules
Hereâs how it works:
- Find a penny. If you donât have a penny handy, itâs just a matter of yanking the cushions off the couch, checking the cupholder of your car or sneaking one out of your kidâs piggy bank while theyâre at school.
- Roll a 30-sided die. Alternatively, have your date pick a number (without telling them what itâs for) or use an online random number generator. This number is the number of turns youâll take throughout your date.
- Hop in the car or, if youâre walking, pick a corner to start on.
- To start the adventure, have your date flip the penny. If it lands heads up, turn right. If it lands tails up, turn left.
- Start walking or driving in whichever direction the penny instructs. Stop and flip again each time you reach a stop sign, stop light or intersection.
- Continue flipping the penny, turning left or right at each juncture, until youâve reached the number you set at the beginning of the night.
- Once you reach that number, stop the car (or, uh, your legs).
- Wherever you are, thatâs where your date will take place.
If you look up to find a park with a lovely, lit gazebo, good for you!Â
If all you happen to see before you is a gas station, I wish you the best of luck throwing a romantic spin on that one. Yikes.Â
But itâs all part of the adventure, right?Â
No, really. The fun of the penny date is in the mystery, the confusion and the downright ridiculousness of your time together. Itâs a way to do something different, something that you wouldnât have done ordinarily, and to have fun doing it.Â
Either way, itâs sure to be a memorable date, right?
A Few Notes to Help You Create the Perfect Penny Date
To keep costs low, pack a picnic meal to bring with you. That way, wherever you end up, youâll have dinner ready to go. (This is especially important if youâre going on this date on Valentineâs Day, because most places will be booked solid. You wonât be able to randomly show up at a restaurant and expect to get a table â especially in this age of social distancing.)
You donât have to be in a metropolitan area to make this date work, but youâll want to adjust your number of turns based on your location. Thirty turns wonât take very long on city streets, but if youâre driving long back roads, 30 turns could take forever.Â
Even if thereâs a stop sign or traffic light, donât turn into a parking lot or street with no outlet. Just move along to the next intersection and flip the penny there.Â
Keep your adventurous spirit open to the experience. Chances are, youâre going to end up somewhere less than romantic (or maybe even downright weird), but itâs all part of the fun of a date night left totally up to chance.Â
More often than not, a penny date offers up a little nonsense, a lot of laughter and a couple of really great stories.Â
Besides, like any good relationship, a penny date is about the journey â not the destination.Â
Right? (No, left.)
Grace Schweizer is the email content writer at The Penny Hoarder.Â
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.