How to Be Romantic on a College Budget

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In between paychecks, you suddenly get the urge to do something romantic for your significant other. Maybe they haven’t been feeling like themselves, just bombed a test or maybe they’re perfectly fine but you wanna do something special for them anyways. You don’t have to take them to a fancy restaurant that’ll easily cost you $200.

You can learn how to be romantic under $30 and still earn that priceless kiss.

1. Picnic in the park

Find your boo’s favorite place, perhaps the beach or a nearby park, pack up their favorite food and maybe take a little wine to be cute like that. Or just pick up McDonald’s if your relationship is the one to prefer a chicken nugget bouquet. “My girlfriend and I were trying to figure out what to do for the day, and we had just stopped at a McDonald’s drive thru because we were going to the Keys,” University of Miami senior political science major Mark Gomez said. “The Keys plan fell through, so we had McDonald’s in the car, and we were passing the park on South Miami Drive with the volleyball courts near the Monty’s,” Gomez said. “I looked at the food and turned into the park we got down and just ate by the bay. It was awesome and makes you feel like if the whole world stops because it was spontaneous.” The best dates are the ones least expected.

Total price: $10-25

2. Flowers

Everyone loves flowers. They brighten up a room like no other. Now ladies, if you think your man would appreciate being given flowers, get him flowers too. But if your boo can’t keep flowers alive for their life, try getting plastic ones. “Well my girlfriend at the time didn’t know how to take care of flowers, so when I went to Belgium I brought her back plastic tulips,” Florida International University junior physical therapy major Landy Muñoz said. If flowers don’t make bae swoon though, any little bouquet of chocolates or their favorite junk food will work, too.

Total price: $5-$10.

3. Write them a letter

You don’t have to be as extra as Noah and send Allie 365 letters when you’re first learning how to be romantic, but I mean you totally can. We all loved Noah for it, and it was super romantic, but that doesn’t mean we expect that. Hand-written letters are sappy and your partner will have to act hard tp pretend they don’t love it. If you want to be a bit more romantic than just writing one letter, write a letter every day of the week for a week or one for every year they’ve been born for a romantic birthday present. These letters don’t have to be three pages long, back and forth, they could just be half a page. Pour your heart out on the page, and put in a little more effort than the essay you write at 3 a.m. hopped up on free library coffee.

Total price: $0, just your love.

4. Breakfast in bed

If you’re a morning person and your SO would put blackout curtains over the sun if possible, this is the perfect romantic gesture. During the week, a full-blown breakfast in bed might be a stretch because of work or school, but just making them a morning coffee would bring a smile to their face. “Having breakfast in bed made me feel cared for and like I was the first thing he thought about when he woke up,”Florida State University junior psychology major Hannah Oria said. On the weekends though using that crepe maker you got for Christmas, make healthy yogurt parfaits or whip up omelets for the gainz. Use whatever groceries you bought that week to make bae their perfect breakfast in bed. You’ll probably be more welcome in their bed with the promise of food in the morning *wink wink*.

Total price: under $20 for ingredients

5. Homemade dinner

If neither of you can wake up in the morning, learn how to be romantic when the sun sets. After work or school, head to the grocery store and pick up all their favorite dinner things. Make sure you have something special for dessert, like chocolate-covered strawberries or mini cupcakes. “[My boyfriend] has developed a love for cooking, so I know whenever I get home from my late classes there’s going to be something delicious waiting for me,” FIU junior speech therapy and psychology double major Brittani Garcia said. “We even started our own cookbook. It’s a cute way to bond that’s inexpensive and the recipes don’t have to be too complicated.” If you’re not much of a chef, check out some Tasty videos (we all know you drool over them during class). Finally, light some candles and put out your fancy (real, not paper) plates for a romantic dinner at home.

Total price: under $30 for ingredients

6. Leave them a voicemail

Texting and sending Bitmojis are basic af. How to be romantic in the age of impersonal texts can be a challenge until you realize you can still dial bae’s number and call them. Leave them a voicemail and they can save your spoken love note forever.  Voicemails are beyond romantic because you can listen to it whenever you’re sad or questioning if the feelings are still there. If you don’t know how to be romantic in a voicemail since the only ones you’ve received are from CVS telling you your prescription is ready, read a famous love poem over the phone.

Total price: $0

7. Put a note in a random place

Write bae a little note that says “I love you. I miss you. I hope you’re having a great day.” Put it somewhere that you know they’ll see it at some point in the day. Put the note in their bag or in their pants pocket. Secret notes bring a smile to anyone’s face . “In high school, my boyfriend at the time and I would leave little notes in each other’s binders and books, usually just a post-it with a short, cute message,” University of Florida junior theatre and English double major Marissa Secades said. “It was always a really nice surprise,” Secades said. “I remember feeling like I would find a note at the perfect time, like when I was having a really rough day at school or stressed about rehearsals and just needed a cute surprise like that to brighten my day. It also kind of turned into a game of trying to find really unexpected or strange places we could hide these notes.” Make sure to sprinkle in some XOXO’s and little hearts so they know it’s real.

Total price: $0

8. Make them a 365 jar

learn how to be romantic

Christy Pina

With this tip you can learn how to be romantic and how to make the perfect DIY gift for your lover. Pick five different-colored papers and make each color represents something different. One can be “I love…” where you write things that you love about the person or about your relationship. Other ones can be “Song Lyrics That Remind Me of You or Us,” “Memories and Special Moments,” “Quotes About Love” and “Future Goals.” Buy a jar and start writing. Then, your colorful creation can reside within an empty jar on top of Pottery Barn dorm trinkets and textbooks to brighten up their dorm room desk.

Total price: $10-$20 

9. Print Photos

If your anniversary with your boo is coming up and you need to know how to be romantic in gift form, making a scrapbook is the way to go. Collecting all of your favorite pics together in the year(s) that you’ve been together can be really fun if you’re the one making the scrapbook, and your SO will love it. Just don’t include any embarrassing screenshots from Snapchat unless you want a fight. If your crafty abilities don’t extend very far, print your favorite photos in polaroid form and get a pack of little clothes pin so your girlfriend can decorate her room with nostalgia memories of you two.

Total price: $20-30

10. Have a movie marathon

Hollywood knows how to be romantic, so sit down and take notes. Binge a long series like Harry Potter, Star Wars or even Fast and the Furious will keep you snuggled up and cozy. Or you can finally spend the day watching all the movies you keep putting off. Stop talking about it and actually do it. Both of you need to clear your schedules for the entire day and dedicate however many hours it’ll take to watch all the movies.

Total price: $0 if you stream the movies online

Writing is life. Life is writing. I’m a junior at the University of Florida for now, but in the future catch me writing all your fave celebrity and entertainment news. Or traveling. Hopefully residing in Manhattan.

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