Valentine’s Day

Courier staffer offers tips for getting big fun out of little funds

By Jessica Ayers

Senior Staff Writer


We have been programmed our entire lives to plan ahead. But in the case of Valentine’s Day, planning can backfire. Lovers create Pinterest boards filled with meals from 5-star restaurants, exuberant gifts and trips to Tahiti. All of these sound amazing, but would require being a billionaire to accomplish. Keeping plans as simple as possible will help alleviate some of the anxiety of the day.


This takes some practice, but it can be accomplished. Making and evaluating a budget (the available balance in the bank account, not on the credit cards) can determine what is actually feasible to achieve – whether it be McCormick & Schmick’s or the McRib at McDonald’s. Rule of thumb: If one has to sell their books or drop a class, it is not in the budget.


Advertisers claim Valentine’s Day is all about diamonds from Zales and chocolates from Godiva, but the truth is, it does not take all of that to make the day special. A handwritten love letter is worth more than a $5 Hallmark card any day of the week. Memories are what make the day, not the amount of money spent.


With memories in mind, start thinking of creative ways to make the day unique – maybe a treasure hunt in the park or a homemade dinner for two. Or better still, try an old-school idea by making a mixtape (oops, I meant playlist), sitting on the couch and just getting lost in the music. Even Mark Zuckerberg or Oprah could appreciate a good DIY date.


This is the key component to ensuring the success of a low-cost date. If the McRib is all that is affordable, find a way to make that Mickey D’s trip exciting. Otherwise, count on being single by St. Patrick’s Day. Make that McRib a to-go order and head to the nearest park for a picnic. Or, instead of ramen, make it a Redbox night. Having fun is all about creativity and finding a way to turn ordinary into extraordinary (cue pixie dust). And however the day unfolds, make sure every activity is done out of love.