How to Ball on a Budget this Valentine’s Day

It’s February, which means that all of your favorite stores and restaurants (and any pretty much any public venue) is decked to the nines with pink hearts and red roses. But here’s the problem: you’re a little tight on money right now, and it seems the holiday of love won’t be one filled with experiences or sweet treats. However, fear not because I’ve formulated a guide to having a great Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank.

  1. 1. Cook at home

    baking ingredients on a table next to a cupcake tray
    Instead of dining out this Valentine’s Day, make a night of it! Look up cute recipes for you and your special someone to make together, and if it fails, remember it’s the journey that counts. Disclaimer: this is not limited to those in relationships; you can turn your cooking adventure into a group activity for Galentine’s Day!
  2. 2. Pack a picnic

    Picnic Donuts
    Fortunately, the weather has been beautiful these past few weeks, making it the ideal time for a picnic. Optimal locations include Lettuce Lake Park, Downtown Tampa and Hyde Park. Additionally, there are many museums and parks that have free admissions with a valid university ID.
  3. 3. Make chocolates

    While Russell Stover does make a pretty mean box of chocolates for around a dollar, making candies with others is an ideal Valentine’s activity. Melt various colors of candy melts, which are about two dollars at Michaels, and place each mixture into a Ziploc bag or piping bag. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a tray that is freezer safe. Then, cut the tip of the piping bag and get to creating! Chill in the freezer until hard and enjoy!
  4. 4. Karaoke

    hand holding a microphone
    Nothing says a good time like karaoke! Fortunately, you don’t even really have to drive to a karaoke bar to get this experience. Simply hook up your laptop or smartphone to a speaker and sing along to the words. For an extra kick, make it a carpool karaoke!
  5. 5. "Crafternooning"

    i love you card
    “Crafternooning” is a term I first stumbled upon while watching drag queen William Belli’s YouTube channel. A budget is not just limited to money, but also time. “Crafternooning” is the practice of getting together for about an hour and doing fun and stress-free craft, such as cards, pottery or painting. This is an ideal activity for the middle of a stressful February.

Don’t let all that holiday marketing fool you — it is possible to have a nice holiday without breaking the bank. I hope these tips add a little bit of joy and love this Valentine’s season!