Valentine's Day on a budget? It's doable.

The Concordia Courier


By Ariana Rosales | 2/9/2024

Valentine’s Day is Wed., Feb. 14, and for college students on a budget, planning for the holiday might seem challenging. However, romance does not have to break the bank. There are plenty of creative and inexpensive gestures that will make Valentine’s Day memorable for college couples without emptying your wallet.

For many Americans, the holiday can be very expensive. The National Retail Federation expected 2023 to be “one of the highest spending years on record.” This can be discouraging for those who want to make Valentine’s Day special for someone, but might not have the funds to go all out

Sophomore Katie Reyes said, “I prefer homemade gifts over expensive ones because it shows me that he listens to the small things I talk about and he cares enough to go out of his way and make it a personal present.” Reyes added that stuffed animals are small, but important aspects of the gifts she receives from her boyfriend.

Homemade and DIY gifts are both affordable and communicate that time and effort were put into the gift. Expressing your feelings in a letter, compiling pictures in an album or frame, or even a playlist with songs you both like are all gestures with a personal touch. These are timeless and are reminders of shared moments.

Haku Dudoit, junior, shared his experience and gave advice to those who may be tight on money and in a long-distance relationship. Dudoit said, “I have to ship things and make sure it gets in on time, but also need to be aware of my budget.” He added some online stores that offer thoughtful gifts without the hefty price tag; including Dudoit said, “This is an online website I used last year where you can build your own heart-shaped bundle box.” He added, “I think it only cost me around $20 to $30 and I even added my own notes.”

Communicating budgets and expectations with your partner is the most recommended piece of advice for people in relationships. Juanse Garcia, senior, said, “If my girlfriend wants something for a while and I know about it and it’s within budget, then why not get that and do something homemade too; like a card.” Garcia added that being honest with one another about financial situations sets expectations and focuses on meaningful gifts and moments.

Spending time with someone and making memories is another way to make Valentine’s Day special. Something as simple as a picnic, watching the sunset at the beach or a movie night can be the best way to relax and enjoy each other's company.

Kiana Hernandez, junior, said that she and her boyfriend, “made pasta in the dorms and watched ‘Ratatouille,’ which was super fun and cheap.” Hernandez added that grabbing a bite to eat or going on a date doesn’t always have to be extravagant; there are plenty of good and affordable places. Hernandez said, “Last Valentine’s Day me and my roommates had a single girls dinner at CPK.” She notes that simple gestures and nights out can create some of the best memories with friends and significant others.

From DIY presents to wallet-friendly date ideas, there are many options to create the perfect blend of intimacy and affordability. Focusing on the connection shared with loved ones and friends, regardless of the cost.


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