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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Columbia Barnard chapter.

Ok, let’s talk about Valentine’s Day. This year, Valentine’s Day just so happens to be on the same day as the Super Bowl. You romantics out there, just prepare yourselves because your S.O. may be less invested in showering you with love on the 14th and more invested watching the game. However, this article is meant to help everybody create a very special day for their S.O. (or anyone whom you love very much) on a fixed income. 

So, let’s start with my favorite store, CVS. If you live anywhere even remotely close to campus (or anywhere in the United States) you will know where the nearest CVS is. Head down to Broadway and you can find loads of Valentine’s day goodies for your person. Chocolate boxes, candy hearts with cute messages on them, even a case of toilet paper (honestly, that might be the most romantic thing anyone could get for me) because for some reason we (yes, I will speak for all of us) are always out of TP, cute cards, and more. This is a simple way to make your person feel special whilst leaving your bank account full. 

Now, you might not have time for this one, but before there was SMS messaging, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger (does anyone use this?), and the Instagram “dm,” people used to write, wait for it, handwritten letters to one another! Wow! So, if you own a piece of paper and a pen, jot down how you feel about your person!  You can get creative and maybe even put a couple of red hearts on there! If you don’t have a pen and paper, use your notability app on your iPad to write yours (that’s right I know you). This is basically free, the only thing you spend on it will be your time, and that shouldn’t be too much to give up for your loved one, and if it is, well, maybe it’s time to reevaluate. 

I raved about FUMO in my previous article, and I will shamelessly do it again because 12 dollar pasta is something that deserves to be talked about multiple times. The Sunday before the 14th, go to FUMO and get the 12 dollar pasta. Your stomach will be full, your Valentine’s date will be happy, and, once again, your bank account won’t suffer. This is, what I believe people call “ballin’ on a budget,” no? 

Want to get creative? No? Um, ok skip this section then. Yes? Ok, keep reading. I am always a sucker for a nice DIY gift, it shows me that the other person put time and effort into my gift, which is always a good feeling. Think long and hard about what is special to both you and your S.O. (or friend) and make a nice DIY project based on whatever that is. This could even be going down to Pret or Starbucks, getting their favorite order, and writing on top “I love you a latte” (if you use this idea please cite me as your source). Yes, it is cheesy and kind of cringey but isn’t that kind of the whole point of Valentine’s Day? You are unabashedly showing how much you love someone. I mean, for one whole day people think that PDA is acceptable, and in my opinion, that’s one day too many, but I say just go all in and be your true, corny self. 

If you happen to be in an area where there is a kitchen readily available to you, maybe make some baked goods. This, too, takes up a lot of your time, but it is certainly cheaper than going to LeVain and splurging on expensive cookies. It’s cute, personal, and everyone loves sweets.

There are hundreds of cheap things you can do to celebrate Valentine’s Day. You don’t have to spend tons of money to make it special. Take some time away from your crazy schedule to appreciate who you have in your life and really try to make them feel special. Even something you might think is simple and underwhelming will certainly make your person feel special. Just show them how much you care! Happy Valentine’s day xx. 

Alexandra Weber

Columbia Barnard '24

My name is Ola Weber and I play soccer here at Columbia. I have a passion for theater, coffee, and good books! I am from New Jersey (it's not that bad) and have always loved writing! My major is economics & mathematics so, as you can imagine, I don't write as much as I would like to!