Being in college generally means you aren’t able to go all out for Valentine’s Day. If you’re smart, you’re already making extra cash for the big day using the Go Commando app, but what do you do if you can’t afford one of those Tiffany blue boxes, or a weekend getaway to that fancy resort in Mexico? Well, it turns out you don’t have to spend big bucks to have a fun and memorable Valentine’s Day. Check out this list of 14 wallet-friendly ideas to celebrate February 14th. I promise, none of them include boring heart-shaped boxes filled with inedible chocolates.
1. Check Out a Comedy Show or Concert
Not a fan of staying in on the year’s most romantic day? See if your local area has any comedy clubs or live music. Often these events are free or at the least, very cheap. You might even just discover the next big hit!
2. Build a Fort
You think pillow-and-blanket forts are only for the kiddos? Think again. Construct a plush hideaway and snuggle up inside for some quality couple time. Add some twinkle lights for even more of a romantic feel. Trust me, you won’t ever want to come out.
3. Compete in Game Night
Host a private game night. It can be as simple as playing a round of Monopoly (fair warning: this may actually end your relationship), or spice things up with a naughty game of Twister. Bonus points for coming up with small prizes to award the winner of each round.
4. Tour a Brewery or Winery
Maybe booze is more your thing. Check out your local breweries and wineries – many offer cheap (or free) tours of their facilities, and you get to taste samples along the way. Free beer and wine? Can’t get much better than that. Not looking to leave your apartment? Hosted your own boxed wine tasting. Buy some Pedialyte now – tomorrow won’t be pretty.
5. Play in the Snow
Head out to the winter wonderland right outside your door. Challenge your significant other to an epic snowball fight or build a snowman. Then head inside when it gets too cold for some hot chocolate (add booze where applicable), and snuggle up with your favorite Netflix show. No funds needed.
6. Have an Indoor Picnic
It may be a little too chilly to head out to the nearest park, so instead grab a blanket, pack a basket of your favorite treats, and set up a picnic in your dorm room. You can even grab a few flameless candles to set the mood. Missing that outdoor feel? Pull up the sounds of the park in the background. Best of all, no ants at this picnic!
7. Show Off Your Skills at Trivia Night
Just Google “trivia night in ______” wherever you are and you’ll be surprised how many bars and restaurants offer it. Trivia nights are a great way to team up and showcase your knowledge of random and generally useless information. With low cover charges you can make a night of it for less than $30. Plus, your team may win prize money, gift cards, or a free meal. Brush up on your skills here.
8. Make Dessert Together
Embrace your inner chef and whip up a tasty dessert together. Whether you go for classic chocolate-covered strawberries, or you want to test your baking skills with these delicious pink velvet Valentine’s cupcakes, you can both have fun in the kitchen. Plus, we’ve all seen how baking, though messy, can lead to some serious romance. Wink wink.
9. Take a Ghost Tour
Maybe mushy romantic activities aren’t your thing? Many cities offer ghost tours through their most haunted locales for a pretty cheap price tag. Learn a little bit of local history and get spooked together. Not enough supernatural for you? Hit up a psychic on your way back home.
10. Get Starry-Eyed
Go stargazing. If the weather is nice enough, grab a blanket and head outside to watch the twinkling sky above. Too cold? Hit up a planetarium and get up close and personal with the galaxy. Hey, it worked for Ross and Rachel, right? Bonus points for downloading an app to identify all the constellations!
11. Go Skating
If you have access to an ice rink, rent some blades and hit the ice. If you don’t want to be cold, try out a roller rink (there’s still a few holdovers left from the ‘70s). Sure you might fall down a bunch, but haven’t you seen all those movies where couples try skating? It usually turns out just fine. And if that isn’t your thing, go watch a roller derby instead – not nearly as cheesy, but still highly entertaining.
12. Movie Night
Avoid the Valentine’s Day crowds and hunker down with a giant bowl of popcorn and a series of romantic movies for some Netflix and chill. I suggest classics like Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, or The Notebook. Basically, anything with Meg Ryan or Ryan Gosling will do the trick.
13. Scavenger Hunt
Plan a scavenger hunt around campus for your partner. Grab those old 3×5 note cards you bought 3 years ago and still haven’t used and write out clues to locations with meaning for you as a couple. Not only will both of you have a blast chasing down the next clue, but it can be as cheap or expensive as you want. I would also suggest a prize of some sort at the end.
14. Skip the Flowers
While beautiful, flowers are both expensive and unoriginal. Rather than spending an arm and leg for a dozen red roses, grab a couple of cute mugs and whip up some fancy hot chocolate. You’ll both enjoy sippin’ on that more than looking at a bouquet. If you are dead set on getting flowers, hit up the grocery store instead (or if possible, grab a handful of wildflowers).
Celebrating the day of love doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little thought and creativity, you can have the perfect Valentine’s Day without spending the rest of your tuition.
What are creative budget-friendly ways you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day?