Valentine’s Day may be criticized as a made-up holiday, but it never seems to fail at loading some extra stress on couples. Plans must be made, and they must be romantic, sweet, fun and hopefully not too cliché. For college students, “not too expensive” certainly makes the list as well.
So, in the hopes of alleviating some of that extra stress, here are some Valentines-themed ideas that won’t break the bank:
- Make something. This takes the somewhat negative connotation of “it’s the thought that counts” and turns it into total swooning. Even if you’re not particularly crafty or artistic, your sweetheart will almost certainly appreciate the effort. So take the time and create a handmade card. Write a love letter. Make a mix CD of songs that are meaningful to both of you, or songs that make you think of your significant other, or any combination thereof.
- Come up with a little surprise. This can be as simple as buying those Valentine’s Day cards that kids use in the classroom and sticking them in a K-box. (May it be noted that those cards have gotten a lot cooler since the early 2000s.) Add some candy and it’s sure to be a hit. Or, if the apple of your eye likes flowers, hit up a local florist and buy them one of their favorites. A single flower has a marked elegance to it, especially with a ribbon tied on in a bow. Coordinate with roommates or suitemates and sneak into a room so that they can find it between classes or at the end of the day.
- Light candles, and lots of them. A pack of 100 tea-light candles costs only six or seven dollars at Target or Walmart, and it’s worth it to spend the evening in nothing but candlelight. Listen to that CD you made and the atmosphere is instantly romantic.
- Take a walk down memory lane. Friday’s forecast weather is balmy in comparison to the rest of the week, so there’s no reason not to spend some time outside. Take your cutie on a walk and visit all the places that have been significant in your relationship: the spot where you first met, where you had your first kiss, where you decided to go steady, where you said you loved each other (if you have exchanged that L-word).
- Build a fort. Really. Tear all the blankets off of all the beds and create a cozy hideout for you and your darling. It’s the best place to be this winter — the childhood version of yourself agrees. Once inside, your activities don’t have to be so childlike.
- Have a picnic. This can be done on the floor of an off-campus apartment’s living room or in the middle of a dorm room floor. All you need is a blanket and the scene is set. For your meal, spend some time cooking together and make your favorite foods. And maybe a little dessert, too. (Chocolate covered strawberries are an easy and always satisfying recipe.)
- Frame a favorite photo. Here’s another thoughtful gift that won’t make you think twice about the budget. Walgreens will print individual four-by-six inch photos for mere cents, and simple frames cost less than five dollars. It’s a great way to remember that awesome first date or that silly selfie that both of you love.