By ELISE STAHL
Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day of chocolate, roses and fine wine … all of which can be a drain on your savings account.
The average amount of money spent by an individual on Valentine’s Day in 2016 was $146.84, according to Time.com.
Not surprising for a nearly $20-billion-per-annum holiday, but not good news for the broke college students of the world.
Let’s face it. Many of us just don’t have the extra cash to splurge on a fancy dinner and a beaming bouquet for our significant other.
But fear not: Expensive outings are not this year’s only options.
Below are 10 ideas for a broke but beautiful Valentine’s Day:
- Cook something
If you don’t have the dough to wine and dine your sweetheart this V-Day, why not make your own food adventure and cook together? Even if your concoction doesn’t turn out restaurant-worthy, the memories will be worth the effort.
- Go stargazing
There’s just something timeless and romantic about a sky full of stars. If the weather is clear, lay out a blanket or two and spend some time staring at the sky together, hand in hand.
(And if you can catch the sunset before the stars come out, 10 Couple Points for you.)
- Hold a dance party for two
Why pay to go to a club full of strangers when you can put together your own setup for free in the comfort of your home? Push the furniture against the wall to create space for a dance floor, throw on your favorite tunes, turn out the lights and jam out together.
(And if you’ve got one buck to spare, hit up the local dollar store for a pack of glow sticks to add some psychedelic flair.)
- Give each other massages
Forget shelling out dizzying amounts of dollars for a couple’s massage. Instead, set up your own spa station. Lay down some towels on a bed or a couch, light a few candles, play some soft music and take turns giving each other the royal treatment.
- Make a blanket fort
Gather your biggest blankets and reconnect with your inner child by building an epic, cozy tent. For some extra “camping” flair, roast marshmallows over the stove and make indoor s’mores.
- Take a hike
Nothing says “romance” like panting and sweating while trekking through dirt, rocks and cacti. But the view from the top will be all the more breathtaking with your lover by your side.
(For bonus Couple Points, see how long you can hold onto each other’s hands while navigating the rougher spots on the trail.)
- Try Dressing Room Dress-Up
Get a free taste of the high life by spending a day in the dressing rooms of your favorite stores, trying on the fanciest clothes you can find. For a fun twist, choose outfits for each other and get a glimpse into your respective fashion psyches.
- Play Netflix Improv
Hop on Netflix, pick a film neither of you have seen (preferably a rom-com, in the spirit of V-Day), then mute the TV and make up your own dialogue. And during the kissing scenes? You know what to do.
- Have a game night
Kick it old-school with a gnarly game night. Pull out your old Scrabble board and see if all the knowledge you’ve gleaned from Words with Friends will spell success.
Or, try your hand at that random game that’s been sitting in the back of the game cupboard for ages, yet you’ve still never played.
- Write (and read) love letters
Take some time to write each other good old-fashioned love letters. Recount such things as your favorite shared memories, the little things you like about each other and how you have become better people through your relationship. Then read your letters aloud to each other.