Valentine’s Day on a college student budget

By Lwilliams

It’s Friday the 13th, and if that wasn't scary enough, it’s also the day before Valentine’s Day. Going through a day of celebrating love can present some awesome — and awkward — circumstances. Whether you’ve been in a long-term relationship, just met someone, or plan to go solo, Valentine’s Day can create some serious stress. Let’s face it, some people go above and beyond to impress their loved ones. And, if you’re a broke college kid, you may be freaking out just a bit at the idea of buying an extravagant gift. Ditch the conventional ideas of how to impress someone, and check out our tips and tricks for celebrating Valentine’s Day as a college student.

Going solo

Now put your hands up! Courtesy of
Now put your hands up! Courtesy of

Maybe you dodged a bullet on this one, or perhaps you’re a little down about being single (and of all days!). Either way, going solo on Valentine’s Day doesn't need to be as depressing as people make it out to be. In fact, you may be in the clear in many ways. For one, you may not have any obligations today — meaning you can do what you want and treat yo’self. If you’re still looking for things to do, here are some suggestions.

  • Plan an anti-Valentine’s Day party

    We’re guessing you’re not the only single person. Call up some friends, watch some movies, eat some food, and throw in a tub of ice cream for good measure. At the end you’ll be saying, “Val who?”
  • Volunteer

    If you don’t have plans for the day, why not use your free time to help make a difference? Donate your time at an animal shelter, elderly home, or see how you can help at the local food bank. Volunteering is a great way to spread the love and feel fantastic about yourself.

New love

At least you won't be alone? Courtesy of
At least you won't be alone? Courtesy of

If you've just started seeing someone, you may feel pressure to make your first Valentine’s Day together a memorable one. But, that doesn't mean it has to be expensive. You can still impress your date by keeping it simple and sweet.

  • Find something fun/free in the community

    Farmers’ markets, poetry slams, a local band playing at the park — you’d be surprised at how many community events take place for zero dollars. And, most of these events score big points in the romance category. Check out events taking place on and off campus that may be listed in your school newspaper or community boards. You’ll score bonus points for being thoughtful, and your wallet will thank you.
  • Visit a museum

    Many museums, art galleries, and cultural centers offer a reduced (or sometimes free!) rate for students. Take advantage of that college ID and get your culture on at the same time.

Long-time love

#relationshipgoals - courtesy of
#relationshipgoals. Courtesy of

If this isn't your first time at the rodeo, you may feel pressure to come up with something new, exciting, and impressive. For many, impressive also translates to expensive, but that doesn't have to be the case. As with any relationship — new or old — it really is the thought that counts.

  • Create a scavenger hunt

    Create clues that lead your date to places that hold a special meaning or where you have hidden little trinkets for him/her. The final clue could lead to a romantic picnic or dinner at your favorite restaurant. It’s also a great way to make new memories and collect some fun photographs along the way.
  • Cook dinner at home

    If you haven't already made a dinner reservation at a restaurant, you're probably out of luck. Surprise your date with a fabulous homemade meal, instead. Making meals at home can be a lot less expensive, and cooking together is a great date idea, too.

How do you plan to spend this Valentine's Day? Share your ideas in the comment section below.