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Valentine’s Day date ideas under $50

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and you’re probably realizing that the $20 in your bank account isn’t going to cover an extravagant dinner at a top-notch restaurant or the present of your loved one’s dreams.

The good news for financially strained college kids is that there are plenty of low budget Valentine’s Day activities and gifts that will make the day just as good and, dare I say it, even better than it would be if they dropped $100.

You’re probably asking yourself what kinds of activities there are out there that are budget-friendly and still romantic enough for the holiday. Here are a few ideas that can all be accomplished in less than $50.

Classic Dinner and a Movie

It’s not the most original idea, but you can’t really go wrong with a dinner and a movie. There are plenty of affordable restaurants, such as Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and Olive Garden, close to campus that will provide a hearty meal for you and your sweetheart.

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After dinner, you can accompany one another to the theater, where you can catch a wide variety of movies ranging from romance with “The Space Between Us” and “La La Land” to inspirational and tear-jerker dramas like “Hidden Figures” or “A Dog’s Purpose.” Whatever your niche is, make the date your own and take the time to be together.

Beach Day and Sunset Viewing

One of the best perks of living in Southwest Florida is the close proximity to any given beach. From our very own beach in North Lake to the peaceful paradises of Sanibel and Captiva Islands, there are plenty of places to go for a day of relaxation with your loved one.

You can pack some food, grab some sunscreen and head on down to the beach, where you can end your day by catching one of the gorgeous Southwest Florida sunsets.

Late Night Picnic and Stargazing

There’s nothing more romantic than sitting and gazing at the stars while enjoying a quality conversation with your significant other. Grab some food and a blanket, and you’ve got yourself a picnic under the stars.

Quiet Night In

Going out and doing things might not be up your alley, and that’s fine too. Throw in a little bit of music and maybe some Netflix and just enjoy a night in with a romantic home-cooked meal. Baking cookies can add an activity to do together. Spend the day together baking sweets and cooking a nice meal.

If you’re really in the cliché kind of mood, you could even start a food fight with flour.

Ice Cream Hopping

The only thing better than getting an ice cream cone is getting multiple ice cream cones. Depending on your schedule, you can spread this out over the day or just do it all at once. In Gulf Coast Town Center, there are many places that serve ice cream and custard, like Rita’s, Coldstone Creamery, Culver’s and Kilwin’s. You can make this idea even sweeter by daring one another to try flavors and hosting a competition to see which store is the best.

Organize a Scavenger Hunt

Unlock your inner child and create a scavenger hunt for your loved one around your dorm, apartment or campus. You can leave little gifts or notes along the way, and when it’s over, you can end the evening with some music, a movie or a nice dinner.

Picking out a budget- friendly gift can be a challenge, but one of these ideas may just be the one or may inspire other gift ideas.

The “Classic” Compilation

When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a classic Valentine’s gift package: flowers, chocolate, stuffed animals and a homemade card. If you want to make it more personal, replace standard chocolates with your loved one’s favorite candy bar or packets of hot chocolate or heart-shaped donuts. There are a few Valentine basket-stuffers at the Dollar Tree, including bobbleheads, mini heart balloons and Valentine’s Day themed socks.

Gift Cards

They may seem impersonal, but a good gift card won’t go unappreciated. You can add an element of personalization by including their favorite candy or a card.

Homemade all the way

This could be the toughest, but cheapest, category. There are plenty of ideas for this category, especially on Pinterest. You could make a mixtape of all your sweetheart’s favorite songs.

A personalized picture frame with a single picture or a collage of memories is always a cute idea. If you’re artistic, then a poem or a piece of artwork can go a long way.

Whatever you decide to do, make it creative and unique, so it’s just the right mixture of romantic and memorable.

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