College Couples on Valentine’s Day: Know When to Splurge and When to Cut Back

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If you’re a couple in college, Valentine’s Day can be tricky. You want to make it a special day with your loved one, but budget restrictions may prevent you from splurging. You need to carefully think about what is worth the extra money and what to cut back on. Don’t worry, though, you can celebrate on a budget. Here are some ideas to help you and your honey plan your special day:

1. Jewelry vs. a Trip Together

For the man who is contemplating splurging on jewelry, consider an alternative to a present that only she can enjoy. Instead, use that money on an experience, like a road trip or a quick getaway to bed and breakfast. The experience of vacationing together can strengthen your relationship in ways you don’t expect. Check Expedia for travel and hotel deals and apps like Groupon for activities and restaurants. This way you might even pay less for a trip together than on a single piece of jewelry.

2. Dinner and a Movie vs. Cooking in and Renting a Movie

Because going out for a dinner and a movie on Valentine’s Day is so popular, you might sacrifice on the quality of food, run into long wait times or spend a lot of money at restaurants. The alternative is to save money and cook a meal together. You can collaborate on the menu, shop together for the ingredients and open a bottle of wine while you cook. Guys also can bring a bouquet of flowers from FTD as an unexpected surprise for their girlfriends. There is no replacement for enjoying quality time together.

3. A Box of Candy vs. a Gift Card

According to Visual Economics, over 50 percent of people buy candy on Valentine’s Day. At $20 per box, it may not break the bank, but it also may not be worth the so-so impact. Once the candy or chocolate is gone, it will be a fleeting memory. Instead, skip the candy and treat your sweetheart to a gift card to a place he or she can relax and enjoy like a coffee shop or a spa. This will allow your loved one to relax and really enjoy the gift.

4. An Expensive Gift vs. an Experience

Maybe you are tempted to buy your loved one a big ticket item to celebrate the occasion, but you might want to consider spending that money an experience you can do together instead. Think outside the box for this activity to make it memorable. For example, go to a track to race cars, go horseback riding or fly over the city in a helicopter. By doing something you’ve never done together, you will create memories that are scrapbook worthy.

Even though you may feel some pressure to splurge on Valentine’s Day, be smart about your choices and stay within your budget. You can still have fun, but try to think out of the box and focus on the gestures and experiences that will create real memories.

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