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How to Keep Valentine’s Day Both Affordable and Enjoyable

We’ve all been in the spot where your  bank statement says just $100.00, especially around the holidays.  In college, saving money is tough as it is and the added pressure of satisfying your significant other during a holiday can make some of us go mad...and broke.

Valentine’s Day especially, can seem nearly impossible to understand; girls go crazy over romance and most guys just don’t get it. So now what? Your bank account is close to empty, your significant other has something planned, and you’re racking your brain on how you’re going to survive on those last few dollars. Well have no fear! Here are some fantastic Valentine’s ideas that will surely please your man!

First, you need to be honest with your guy. If you’re struggling with your finances (he probably is, too), let him know! Tell him how much he means to you and money is not everything. Let him know you want to be low key this year and spending time with him is more important. (I can assure you, he will love this, most guys hate how expensive holidays get.) Don’t send him mixed messages about this either, especially if you agree to not exceed a price limit.

If you’re the one making the food plans make sure you call ahead. Most places know they can overcharge you by only offering a fixed price (which really is the same thing but more expensive). If they do, call other places and compare prices before you have your heart set. Check out www.urbanspoon.com for online menus, reviews, and price listings.

Now, what can you do for him this Valentine’s Day?

1. Spend time not money. Instead of buying a cliché box of chocolates and a stuffed animal, propose that both of you save your money and go somewhere for a weekend. Go away another time, most places raise their prices for the holiday weekend. This is perfect because it shows your man that spending time, not money, is the priority of your relationship. 

Quick tip: Check out bed and breakfast inns around your area. (Even though you may be in the same town, most college students won’t be there and it will seem like you’re further away.) You can spend the weekend visiting a nearby town with local shops and restaurants. Although if you’re in the Harrisonburg area, visit Cross Keys Vineyards for a wine tour and tasting priced at only $10.00 a person (www.crosskeysvineyards.com).

2. Be the next great : Instead of buying premade goodies, make them yourself by following any simple recipe or buying any kind of boxed baking mix and put your own twist on it. Is your man a brownie fan?  Buy M&Ms and mix them into the dough. Then cut the edges of the cooked brownie into the shape of a heart and bam! Instant brownie love.

Cup cake fan? Find the cheapest cake mix on sale because they essentially all taste the same. And if you don’t have a cupcake tray, buy a tin baking sheet for $1 and put the paper cup cake leafs in a row on the sheet. Take some decorate icing and spell something such as “I.L.O.V.E.Y.O.U.” by writing one letter per cupcake.  As they say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

Quick tip: If you’re feeling more sensual, go to any super market and pick up strawberries, a banana, and some marshmallows.  They sell tubs of melting/dipping chocolate that you can just heat up in the microwave. 

To create delectable chocolate covered fruit, put out a glass dish, dip the pieces of fruit in the melted chocolate and place them on a dish.  You can decorate them with sprinkles for an extra touch.  Finally, put them in the fridge after some time, they will pop right off the dish!

3. L is for the way you…:  If you’re head over heels be creative with the way you let him know.  Don’t just tell your man how much you love him, show him by spelling it out.  To do this, take a jar and decorate it with stickers. 
And for every month, week or day that you have been dating cut out a heart (this will depend on how long you have been together). 

On each heart write one thing you love about him.  You can be as naughty or nice as you want because these will be for his eyes only!  Leave the jar in a place where he works.  When he gets stressed, too busy, misses you or just thinks about you, he can pull one out and be reminded of what a great girlfriend you are!

4. Turn the tables:  Let’s face it, most of the time Valentine’s Day is a female focused holiday, so try to make it all about him this time.  Start by making him breakfast in bed, then rent and watch his favorite movie (even if you hate it).   

That night make him his favorite dish for dinner (this could even be his favorite fast food if you want to go pick it up).  End the night back in the bedroom, because let’s be honest, what guy wouldn’t want to end the perfect day there?

5. Spice up your night:Feeling a little frisky?  Go to Spencer’s to get some sultry ideas.  They have plenty of little knick knacks that will surely spice up your night.  Buy a few things to try out (make sure they are not too out of the ordinary, you don’t want to intimidate him). 

Flip through their “sex coupon” book to get some ideas, then go home and make your man a personal one with things you know he likes.  Put everything together in a little bag along with a card along with some midnight munchies and he will go wild!

6. Across the miles:  What if your guy is long distance and you won’t be able to see him?  Again no fear!  Go to Walmart, the dollar store, the grocery store, etc. and pick up little things you know he loves; his favorite gum, candy bar, and old time DVD. 

Then pick up little things that you know he could use such as sleepy time tea if he is stressed, fortune cookies for good luck, a gift card to a coffee shop, and don’t forget to print some pictures of the two of you! (If you register for the first time with CVS.com they allow you 25 initial free prints.) 

And lastly, to spice things up, buy yourself a pair of lacy panties (which you will also send to him) and attach a sticky that says you can’t wait to show them off next time you see him J.  And when you ship the box, try one of those flat rate boxes from USPS so you’re not paying crazy shipping costs.

Quick tip:  If you want a one-hit-wonder try sending him chocolate covered goodies through www.berries.com.  They have everything from fruit to cakes for every holiday, including great Valentine’s specials. And prices start at just $19.99!

 Now go, start planning and purchasing!  The time is now so you don’t have to spend all your money at once.  Try any of these tips and be assured your bank account won’t hurt and neither will your Valentine!

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