How to save your bank account this Valentine’s Day

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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you’re likely trying to think of a way to treat your special someone. It can be a difficult task at the best of times, but it becomes even more challenging when working with a student budget. Maybe you’re wondering if using some of your leftover meal plan counts as a romantic date, or re-gifting some of your least favourite Christmas presents. Whatever your financial situation may be, there are plenty of things you can do to give your loved one a special day this Valentine’s Day.

One solution for your Valentine’s Day problem is to make as much of your gift as possible by hand; it’s not as hard as you might be thinking. Writing letters is one of the best solutions, plus it’s something that can be really meaningful. In addition to a letter or two, maybe develop some photos of everything you’ve shared together. If you want to take that one step further, write a note on the back of each picture about a certain memory from when the picture was taken. It’s a great way to reflect on your time together – and it makes a great gift.

Another essential part to your typical Valentine’s Day date is dinner, but again, this can be expensive. So rather than going out, put on your chef’s hat and cook from home this year. If you aren’t confident in the kitchen, don’t worry, you can find some easy recipes online — many of which only require a few different ingredients. Spend some time in the kitchen, set the table with some flowers and a candle, and suddenly you have an intimate ambiance and a restaurant-quality meal in the comfort of your own house.

For the last part of the date, swap a trip to the movie theatre for a night in with Netflix. I know this sounds like it’s just lazy, but it doesn’t have to be. While you’re out getting your groceries to make dinner, grab snacks for your movie night too. Get some chocolate, some chips, and if you want to take that extra step you could even go to the movie theatre to grab some popcorn to bring back home. With the snacks sorted out, it’s time to set where you’re going to watch the movie. Find all of your extra blankets and set up your couch to be as comfortable as you can, queue up your movie, and get your snacks within reach. Now you get the taste of a movie theatre mixed with the comfort of your own house, and for a pretty good price too.

While it does take a bit more effort and creativity to pull off a nice Valentine’s Day from home, if you put in the work it can definitely be more rewarding. Your loved one will appreciate the amount of work you put into it, and your bank account will appreciate having a few extra dollars left in it. Just make sure that you agree to keep things simple ahead of time; you don’t want to give a homemade gift while you get something expensive. Talk about your plans for Valentine’s Day ahead of time and make sure you’re both on the same page.

Now of course you don’t need to do everything at home this Valentine’s Day. If you do decide to go out, it’s always possible to search for the best deals going on that day, or decide to go out for dinner but stay in for a movie (or vice versa). Valentine’s Day can be expensive, but it really doesn’t need to be. Rather than breaking the bank this year, plan ahead and focus on a special day for your loved one at a price that’s friendly to your steadily accumulating OSAP debt.

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