By Taylor Cotter
Valentine’s Day can be rough in college. I learned this the hard way – forgetting to make reservations, having to order off expensive prix-fixe menus, and dealing with the freezing cold! Now, I try to make Valentine’s run as smoothly – and cheaply – as possible. Whether this is your first date, long-term relationship, or just a weekend out with friends, here are some tips to have a Valentine’s Day that’s cheap, romantic – and actually fun.
1. Go out on the 13th.
Just by pushing your Valentine’s date up one day, you avoid massive crowding at restaurants, expensive menus, and the unspoken pressure of having a date on February 14th. You can steer clear of ordering the non-optional appetizers, desserts and drinks and share a meal at your favorite restaurant, ordering off the regular menu.
2. Find a free event.
All cities and college campuses have regular events put on by students or community groups; this might be something that you and your significant other rarely make time to check out. Even if it’s just an A Capella concert, improv show, or a local high school is putting on a musical, finding time to do something free and entertaining can be a fun date, and something special.
3. Go out for dessert.
You might not want to shell out fifty dollars or more for a nice restaurant and expensive dinner, but you can still have the romantic experience of a Valentine’s date. Check out the dessert menu at a normally expensive restaurant. Even the fanciest and most expensive restaurants don’t often have desserts that cost more than $10 – and there’s always something romantic about eating a really great dessert.
4. Explore your city.
I’ve lived in Boston for four years now and haven’t even seen half of the city’s attractions. Chances are, wherever your college is, there are tourist attractions, museums or landmarks that you have yet to see. Use Valentine’s Day to take an adventure across your town and cross a couple items off your college bucket list. Your college ID might also give you free admission to some museums.
5. Play with dogs!
You might live in a college residence hall, but that’s no excuse to not want puppies in your life. Most animal shelters allow people to come in and play with the dogs (and cats!) for a little while. It’s a great way to give the animals a little exercise, as well as a great way to spend a few hours getting to know your date. You’re guaranteed to have fun picking out and giving names to your future dogs.
6. Find a free class.
Many gyms, dance studios and karate studios offer one free (or discounted) class to those who are interested in learning. These free passes can let you and your date try out a new skill or hobby, or just the opportunity to spend some time fooling around! The best part of this date is that you might discover something you’re great at, or want to continue learning.
Any ideas that we missed? Let us know in the comments or tweet at @StudentAdvisor!