Valentine’s Day on a budget

It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is not only filled with loving hearts and romantic evenings. It’s also loaded with over spending and empty pocketbooks, high-priced dinners, lavish flower arrangements and you can’t forget about all that wonderful candy.

Total spending per year on Valentine’s day is estimated at $18.9 billion for flowers, candy, jewelry and other gifts, according to the National Retail Federation. The estimated tab per person this Valentine’s Day is $142.31. So how are we as college students supposed to show our significant others that we care without spending outside our means?

Let’s start with the flowers. What would valentines be without roses, and we all know that it has to be a dozen, right? Or does it? By keeping it to only one rose, the cost drops considerably, after all, they’ll be dead within two weeks. Besides, if you only have one flower, you can keep it on the table while you enjoy your dinner and still be able to see your better half.

Dinner is the trickiest feat to plan because we all have different living situations. If you live with roommates, it might be time to kick them out for a few hours.

Making dinner for your valentine saves money as well as shows that you have skills in the kitchen. This is a time for the men to shine. If you can read, you can make dinner.

Living at home with your parents can make this a bit more difficult, but this is California, go have a romantic picnic. Plus, if you go at sunset the food can be less extravagant because your focus will be on the horizon.

One Saddleback college student, Dylan McDaniel, 23, undeclared, says he plans to keep it low key with his lady friend this year.

“We’re going to Ventura to surf C Street, then we are cruising back down the coast,” said McDaniel. “ Whoop, whoop for cheap gas.”

Paris Mitchell, 19, psychology, used a Groupon to score her boyfriend and her a sunset cruise. “It was only $15,” Mitchell said, “and it comes with free drinks.”

Some budget conscious couples communicate about price before the big night.

“We talk about the price before hand so that we don’t spend more then each other,” said Sofia Abril, 19, undeclared.

She’s happy gifting her man with cheap but personal presents, even if they’re just a joke.

“I’d custom make a shirt with my face on it,” Abril said, “and make [my boyfriend] wear it on our date.”