Just for Men: Surviving Valentine’s Day on a Budget


Valentine IdeasValentine’s Day seems to get more complicated as you get older. In high school, it only took a card or a single rose to make a girl happy, but now that you are in college, women expect a bit more. They want romance and a gift that says their guy actually took some time to think about them and what they want. Although she’d love to be whisked away on a romantic weekend or have a little blue box with something sparkly waiting for her in the dorm room, if you are like most college men, you can’t afford to shower her with these types of gifts. Don’t think that this gives you a free pass on Valentine’s Day though, as there are plenty of other creative and fun ways to show your girl she is important without breaking the bank. Since most guys have a difficult time coming up with romantic gestures and gifts, here are a few suggestions you should consider if you want to make your girl happy this Valentine’s Day.


1. Dinner Out

Depending on your budget, there are several different options for enjoying a meal out together. If you have limited funds, a picnic will do the trick. Find a romantic spot on campus, such as a lake setting (or maybe where you shared your first kiss), and lay out a blanket. Bring along her favorite sandwiches and snacks, as well as some cold drinks. You can even recite some poetry or read to her from her favorite book. If you have some money set aside, quite a few restaurants now offer meals for two at very reasonable prices. For something on the more romantic side, check out Maggiano’s Marco Meal for Two at just $39.95. It includes an appetizer, two main dishes and a dessert to share. You also get to take home two additional pastas, which makes it an even better deal. If you prefer to stay under $25, Chili’s offers a meal for two at $20 that includes an appetizer and two main dishes. You can also get a similar offer at Applebee’s for the same price. For just a bit more, consider Olive Garden’s three-course Italian dinner at $12.95 per person.


2. Get Physical

If you are one of those couples who enjoy working out together and staying fit, incorporate that into your Valentine’s Day celebration. Check to see if there are any 5k events the weekend before Valentine’s Day and register for a race. Recruit a friend or volunteer to have a bouquet of flowers waiting for her at the finish line, or have a medal engraved with the date and a special sentiment, such as ‘You’ll always finish first in my heart.’ Another fun date is ice-skating. If you don’t live in a cold climate, locate an indoor rink nearby. Spend a few hours skating together and then head back to your place for some snuggle time. You can roast marshmallows over the fire (or a grill) and sip hot chocolate. It won’t cost you a fortune, but the quality time together will pay huge dividends for your relationship.


3. Pamper Her

Women love massages and it’s an easy way to make her smile. If you have a Massage Envy or a Massage Green in your area, you can purchase an hour-long massage for under $50. If that is out of your budget, consider picking up some massage oils and candles, and giving her a massage yourself. Either way, she’ll be happy. If you’re not a hands-on kind of guy, consider creating a spa basket for her instead. You can pick up a basket and candles at any thrift store, and then head to your local dollar store for other essentials, such as bubble bath, eye mask, bath salts and lotion. Toss in a cute teddy bear and you’ll have a gift any girl would be glad to receive.


4. Movie Time

If you both enjoy the movies, consider skipping the traditional night out at the theater. Instead, head to your local library and rent your favorite flick to watch at home or in the dorm. Bring along some snacks, such as popcorn and candy, and settle in for a quiet night alone. If you are dating someone in another city or state, and can’t be together on Valentine’s Day, you can still enjoy a movie together through Skype. Just send her a care package with all the goodies and an invitation to join you for the movie online. You may be miles apart, but this gesture is sure to make you both feel closer together.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to cost a fortune; sometimes, it’s the simple gestures that mean the most. If you put in a little thought and make it personal, your girl is bound to be thrilled with her gift, no matter what it costs you. Just remember, the key to a happy life is a happy girlfriend!

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