The big day is coming up. All the New Years merch is gone and suddenly CVS looks like Cupid’s wet dream. You start to feel all panicky. Flashbacks from third grade resurface, like when your teacher made you make a Valentine for everyone in the class so that no one would feel left out. Today, there’s no teacher to make sure you don’t get left out. What if you get left out? Wow, calm down, kiddo! Stop crying; here’s a tissue. Now go on a date.
1. Get Coffee
I’m gonna take a wild guess and say that you crazy kids nowadays often get coffee for your first date. Coffee is low maintenance, inexpensive and has very few strings attached—i.e., a great first date. So for V-Day, why not go back to the place that started it all? Even if it’s just a Starbucks close to campus, it’ll bring back fun memories for you two lovebirds.
2. Go Out for Fancy Desserts
Listen, dinner is nice. But if you’re doing a three-course shindig with drinks, the prices start to add up and everything gets notably less nice. If you just go for dessert, you get the quiet table for two, at least semi-fancy options and the gift of watching your favorite person get chocolate all over his dumb, cute face.
3. Take a Promenade along the Green, Guv’nor
Maybe you live by a cool park, or some kind of farmers market happens on the weekends. Regardless, take a walk! It may sound boring, but when classes keep you inside all the time, it’ll be nice to get some fresh air.
4. In the Words of Miley Cyrus: IT’S THE CLIIIIIMB!!!
Oh, are you guys just naturally outdoorsy? A walk’s just too lame for you? Take it up a notch then! Find your nearby state park or look up hiking trails in the area, then go climb a mountain with your Valentine. Maybe you could even pack a…
You don’t even need to go on a hike to do a picnic. Just grab a blanket and find a nearby patch of grass. Do a chill spread with a few snacks, take the time to cook something at home or even go with store-bought sandwiches—it’s still gonna be a good time. If it’s chilly in your area and all the grass is covered with nice patches of dirty snow, build a fort and lay your picnic spread out under that Star Wars blanket you’ve been hiding away for special occasions.
6. Go Stargazing
It’s like a picnic for your eyes. Use the same blanket, maybe even the same patch of grass. If the weather keeps you in, invest in a pack of glow-in-the-dark stars and entertain yourselves making creatively inappropriate constellations.
7. Hit the Waterfront
There’s just something lovely about the water. For some of y’all it might be a walk along the river, a beach day, a trip to the lake or a dip in the pool. Take your bae along and make a day of it. Even if it’s too cold to swim, you still get a great view. Is the local lake frozen over? Grab a broom and a ball and see if you can coerce other couples in the area to a game on the ice.
8. In the Words of Mary Poppins: LET’S GO FLYYYY A KITE!
When was the last time any of you have done this? A kite costs next to nothing and I guarantee it’ll be super cute watching your date run across a big field until your giant paper bird is airborne. You can even do the move where you wrap your arms around her and pretend to help her fly the kite. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.
9. Hit Up the Local Museum
Fine, yes, I am a nerd and I freakin’ love museums. A lot of museums are free to the public, but in case that isn’t true for you and the tickets are expensive…
10. Go for Those Sweet Student Discounts
A ton of places offer discounts if you show your student ID. Museums, dance classes and even some movie theaters will take pity on your broke ass. A quick Google search is all it takes.
11. Go for Those Sweet Free Tours
Take a tour of the local brewery or gelato factory. Go, learn something about fancy ice cream and get some free samples. Chances are there’s somewhere in your area that offers free tours.
12. Cook Dinner
This is one of my favorite cheap date ideas. You get to show off your cooking skills or let your date show off his. It’s like you own a restaurant—you can pick the menu, the music, the seating, the mood lighting and the dress code (or lack thereof).
13. Netflix and Chill: Fancy Edition
Right, so we all know about the most beloved way to fool around with somebody without calling it a date. But what if you turned it into a date? Class up this iconic pastime with a fancy cheese plate or the home-cooked meal you made during date idea number 12. Don’t just put on Netflix as background noise; pick something romantic or choose an old favorite.
14. Skip the Date
We’re all adults here. You know what’s cheaper than going out? Staying the hell in. Put on some music, light a candle or two and have some fun. Make sure your roommates give you the all-clear though—that’s just common courtesy.