How to: Do Valentine’s Day on a budget

When the middle of February rolls around, it's hard to walk through a store without seeing red, heart-shaped balloons, teddy bears holding candy hearts between their furry paws and boxes of caramel-filled chocolates. Let's say that you don't have the cash to drop on a dozen roses, or a romantic trip to a tropical location, or a limousine ride to that new fancy restaurant in Kansas City, the one where each plate costs roughly 50 bucks. The question on most college kids' minds is how in the world am I going to afford this commercialized holiday in order to make my significant other think I'm both romantic and awesome? St. Joseph offers a slew of reasonably-priced Valentine date ideas. You could take your date to Plaza 8 Theater, where the movie tickets are $3 a person after 6 p.m. and $2 a person before 6 p.m. If movies aren't your thing, sign up for a couples dance lesson or a couples massage. There's always bowling, as both Olympia Lanes and Belt Bowl are reasonably priced, at around $5 a game. If you're not into fitting the dinner and a movie stereotype, get creative. You could have a picnic at Krug Park, take your love on a mini camping trip to a local camp site, or make dinner yourself and set the table with candles and fancy dishes. You could write a love note and attach it to your sweetheart's car or front door. It's the thought that counts, not the price tag. Valentine's Day can be an intimidating holiday, especially if you have been in a relationship for a while and you feel like you are out of fresh, thoughtful ideas. Don't freak out. Even when your pockets are empty, you can still have a good time with the one you love. Offer to see a movie that your significant other has been wanting to check out, even if you think the latest chick flick looks ridiculous and the thought of seeing it makes you want to gouge out your eyes. Write a poem and read it to your girlfriend. Even if it's riddled with errors and reads like nonsense, she'll appreciate the gesture. Shoot some hoops in the driveway if your boyfriend loves basketball even if none of your shots even hit the rim. Selflessness and romance are what make Valentine's Day special, and sometimes, when the commercialism overtakes the holiday, those two important components can get lost in a pile of red roses, Hallmark cards and half-eaten chocolates. When it comes down to it, showing someone that you love them shouldn't cost anything, except maybe a little bit of time and effort. The more creative you get, the better. Everyone likes feeling special, and most of the time, a kind and selfless act speaks volumes louder than a $20 steak dinner and a store-bought greeting card.

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