What one might consider a “Hallmark holiday,” which is typically accompanied by flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and cards; Valentine’s Day provokes many US citizens to spend money on gifts, creating a positive benefit for the economy. According to ABC News, the “Total spending for the holiday is expected to top $18.2 billion” in 2018, meaning “an average of $136.57 per person.” According to the NRF, over half of all Americans—54 percent— are expected to participate in Valentine’s Day this year. Jewelry is expected to be the most popular gift, with Americans spending nearly $4.3 billion on it, followed by flowers at $2 billion, chocolate and candy at $1.7 billion, and $1 billion spent on cards.
For a college student, those numbers may seem terrifying. You may be asking yourself how you can afford to do something nice for your significant other, but don’t worry. There are many affordable alternatives to ensure you give your partner a Valentine’s Day they remember. According to Student Universe and Unigo, there are at least eight creative and affordable dates that you could go on with your significant other, all on a college budget. These eight suggestions include starting an “All About Us Book” where you fill in the blanks in an attempt to learn new things about one another, preparing a new meal together, going ice skating, getting a couple’s massage, sending surprise flowers, creating a scavenger hunt, visiting a museum, or snuggling up together on the couch for a night full of Netflix.
Cliff Benner, a senior at Rocky Mountain College stated that he believes the best way to create an affordable date as a college student is to make “a snack/lunch and pack that with a drink…then take a drive to a location that has meaning. Then go home, or wherever, and make a dessert. One that’s homemade or messy.”
That isn’t to say that those who are single can’t have a good Valentine’s Day too. If you’re finding yourself alone this Valentine’s Day, here are some suggestions to make your holiday just as joyful: Plan an anti-Valentine’s Day party, try something new, make cards for all of your friends, go to the gym, have dinner with friends, have a sleepover, and embrace self-love.
When asked what his advice was for people who were unsure how to spend their Valentine’s Day Benner stated, “It’s a holiday! Celebrate it some way. Take in the moment, be nerdy and cheesy about it. It makes it more memorable.”
Whether you find yourself with a date or on your own this Valentine’s Day, remember that there are always creative alternatives to celebrate the expensive holiday. And if that’s not enough, Benner urges you to remember that Valentine’s Day candy is cheap after the 14th.