Valentines Day ideas for the college student budget: Teddy bears, roses, and fancy diners NOT included!


Valentines Day Chocolate fondue

If you are on a college student budget, Valentines Day can be a nightmare—the price of roses spikes, restaurants nicer than the campus dining hall are out of your price range and no one really needs another teddy bear! The good news is that it’s not too late to do something totally cool and inexpensive, without racking up your credit card bill. Check out these cheap Valentines Day ideas that will definitely woo your sweetie! Not into celebrating Valentine’s Day? Don’t worry. We’ve got your Anti Valentines Day covered too!

Where to go? What to do?

One of the toughest things about Valentines Day is deciding where to go and what to do. According to “College Students — Valentine’s Day Survey From Campus Entertainment,” an article posted  February 09, 2012 on Yahoo! Finance, “dinner and a movie still rule. 93% of respondents said they took dates to dinner while 77% said movies were in their dating mix.”

Instead of forking out $50+ on a movie and dinner, consider these fun (and romantic) ways to spend the day — even if you aren’t attached:

  • Find free or discounted student events — visit the local museum, theater, or zoo.
  • Volunteer, either on campus or at a local shelter — a great way to feel good and give back (not to mention bond with that certain someone).
  • Rent a romantic comedy from your cable provider or a vendor like Redbox, then pop some popcorn, pair it with your favorite beverage, light some candles and enjoy.
  • Celebrate Valentines Day over breakfast instead of dinner — in an article posted on January 02, 2013, on Celebrations Galore, “Valentine’s Day Gifts for College Students,” the writer suggests hitting up a favorite breakfast venue or coffee house. “A breakfast date is generally a much more affordable option than a dinner date. On Valentine’s Day, go out for a nice breakfast in a local cafe or diner. Couple this with a gift-wrapped package of your Valentine’s favorite coffee.” Unattached? Then meet your best buds for breakfast — and trash talk the day!
  • Indulge in nature — go on a hike or nature walk and take a picnic basket filled with wine, cheese, crackers and fruit.

Throw a party!

Instead of an evening alone with your darling (or just an evening alone), consider throwing a Valentines Day party or an Anti Valentines Day party! Not only can you have a great time, you can even ask guests to get into the theme of things.

For couples:

  • Have everyone arrive as their favorite Hollywood couple, and be sure to have “awards” for different categories — most creative costume, couple that looks most like their celebrities and couple that stayed in character all evening. Decorations could simply be a few “Hollywood” signs, gold stars and movie posters.
  • Ask some of your closest friend couples over for a Valentines Day game night marathon. Have a variety of fun games available (like Catch Phrase, Charades, Pictionary), offer some inexpensive snacks and ask guests to bring along their favorites. No decorations required!
  • Host a dinner party! Hand-make formal invitations, and request that guests dress up and provide an appetizer, entrée or dessert. Then, set a table with candles and some flowers, put on some soft, romantic music and you are all set. For an added treat, see if any of your friends have a fondue pot for chocolate fondue! Much better then sitting in a crowded restaurant full of strangers.

For singles:

    • Invite friends over for a movie marathon and feature movies that have to do with anything but love. girlhack‘s article, “Host an Anti-Valentine’s Day Movie Marathon,” posted February 13, 2012, gives a rundown of dos and don’ts for this occasion and also lists 5 sure-to-please films — none of which end with “happily ever after.”
    • Anti-Valentines Day Cookies

Have an Anti Valentines Day party. Tell guests that they must avoid wearing pink or red (or encourage them to dress in all black). Further the fun by making up a batch of Anti-Valentines Day themed sugar cookies! Bring along compilations of the very best “bad” anti-love songs to the list (think Three Days Grace’s “I Hate Everything About You”) and you are all set.

  • Invite your best friends over for pizza and set out to create an official “Anti Valentines Day handbook.” Remember to include chapters for “Why February 14 Stinks,” “I’m Never Going to Fall in Love” and “I Hate Pink.” Add an artsy cover and shout outs to the exes responsible, and you have a masterpiece that will keep you entertained — at least until midnight.

Whether single or in a relationship, you now have plenty of inexpensive ways to spend February 14! Happy (Anti) Valentines Day!

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