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Ballin’ *with your boo* on a Budget: Five Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Home Without Breaking the Bank

By Kurana Doobay

As college students, perhaps going out to a five-star restaurant, buying a piece of jewelry that costs an arm and a leg, or taking an extravagant trip with your partner is not the most realistic. And since it’s winter in NYC, you can’t hit the beach, take a trip to an amusement park or go on a picnic. But still, your options aren’t completely limited. Here are five budget-friendly ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your partner that are inexpensive, but not cheap. 

  1. Cook a meal together

First, find a recipe you both like. You can look for some easy ideas on Google, scroll through recipes on Pinterest or recreate a family recipe you both enjoy. It can be something as simple as a box of mac and cheese or it can be as fancy as a steak with garlic mashed potatoes. 

Then, take a trip to the grocery store to gather all the ingredients you need; or you might even have the ingredients sitting in your refrigerator at home. Get out the pots and pans, the measuring cups and all the spoons you need. And you’re ready to get to work! Cooking a meal together can enrich your relationship as it’s an activity where you’re working together for the best end product possible. And it beats waiting for at least half an hour for your meal at a restaurant. 

When you’re all done cooking, set the table and light some candles to set the ambience and enjoy the meal you’ve made together. Even if it isn’t the most delicious meal you’ve ever had, it’s guaranteed to be an amazing experience, because you did it together!

  1. Have a paint night

Maybe you aren’t Picasso or Da Vinci, but a paint night is a great stay-at-home date as it does not require many materials and is not the most strenuous. 

First, take a quick trip to an arts and crafts store near you and gather up all the materials you need: some canvases, some paintbrushes and of course, some paint. Many arts and crafts stores also have wide assortments of paint-by-number kits that might be a bit of an easier option. When you get home, set yourselves up with a few cups of water and lots of napkins/ paper towels so that you don’t get paint everywhere. Maybe you want to paint the same thing or you can paint something as a surprise for your partner. 

Then, give each other your paintings! Now, even if you aren’t the most artistically talented, your partner is sure to appreciate the effort you put into their painting and they are sure to cherish it. 

  1. Arrange a photoshoot

On Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, you are sure to see photos of other couples. Just like you, everyone loves showing their partner off. But you and your partner are obviously the most beautiful, so take photos of and with each other that you can post to show each other off on Valentine’s Day. Or… you might want to take some photos to keep all for yourselves wink, wink. It’s all up to you! 

Set up a corner of one of your rooms as a backdrop with some flowers, balloons, confetti, LED lights or whatever else your heart desires. Nowadays, with your smartphone camera quality, an at-home photoshoot can totally look just as good as a professional. 

  1. Show each other your favorite movie

With all of the available streaming services, your favorite childhood movie, the movie you can watch a million times and never get sick of, or even your favorite YouTube video can be available on your TV at home. Showing someone your favorite movie is actually quite intimate as you are showing them an important part of your personality. If you aren’t in the mood for a movie, you can even start a show with your partner! 

Afterwards, it’ll be “our show” for the two of you and then you have something to look forward to doing together until the show is finished! You can light some candles all around, get a pizza delivered or gather all of your favorite snacks, and get yourselves all comfy on the couch or in bed. Even if you don’t finish the movies all in one sitting wink, wink you have all night to try again! 

  1. Create a spa night 

A spa night is a perfect way to spoil your partner in the most peaceful way. At this point of the semester, we all need some spoiling. Before though, make sure you’ve visited Target and picked up some face and eye masks, yummy smelling body butters and lotions, and maybe even some nice robes for the two of you. 

Make sure the room is cleared of clutter and light some candles – specifically lavender, jasmine or sandalwood scented for the aromatherapy aspect. Put some music on in the background to set the mood. Paint the face masks on each other and massage each other with the lotions. Close your eyes and relax together… or get busy wink, wink

These low-cost dates don’t have to be limited to Valentine’s Day. You can make them a monthly or even weekly tradition. At the end of the day, the best thing about any date is being with the person you love. No matter what you do on Feb. 14, the greatest gift you have is your partner, and the greatest date is all the time you get to spend with them. 

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