A Valentine’s Day date doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars. Here are a few options for those who want to go against the flow and spend some quality time together. Graphic by Ricky Birchfield | THE ALL STATE

Are you looking to plan an at-home date for you and your partner for Valentine’s Day? Do you want to do something out of the ordinary, yet still on a college-kid budget? Well look no further! I have compiled a list of simple, cheap and unconventional date ideas that are perfect for a romantic night in. 

Candle Painting: Candle Painting is as simple as it sounds. You only really need three things: a taper candle, tea candles of different colors, and paintbrushes. You can get a small pack of taper candles for less than $5 at Walmart, a pack of colorful tea candles for between $5 to $15, and a pack of paintbrushes for as cheap as $4.

To candle paint, you melt the wax of the tea candles to use as your “paint”, then make designs onto your taper candles with your paint brushes. This is a simple yet fun way to have a cheap night in!

Building Bouquets: Receiving store-bought bouquets is a nice gesture, but have you ever built your own bouquet? Building your own bouquet is simple and can even be cheaper than buying a store-bought one, especially around this time of year.

All you need is a vase and an array of different types of flowers. My personal favorite place to buy flowers is Trader Joe’s, but since we don’t have one in Clarksville, any grocery store with fresh flowers will do. Most packs of flowers will range between $4 and $13 dollars.

Pressing Flowers: To tack on to the last idea, an easy and free way to preserve your flowers is to press them. All you need is parchment paper, a big book, and something heavy. Lay out all of your flowers on one piece of parchment paper, giving them each enough space.

Then, place another piece of parchment paper on top of your flowers and place your arrangement in the middle of a book. Close the book, then place your heavy object on top of the book. Your flowers will be pressed in 2-3 days, making your Valentine’s bouquet last even longer.  

Baking Desserts: This is a simple yet fun bonding activity that can have a Valentine’s Day spin on it. Most stores have some sort of Valentine’s-themed cookie or brownie mix, but you can always get creative and attempt to make a dessert from scratch. It doesn’t have to be pretty; just have fun with it! 

Building a Pillow Fort: Constructing your own cozy pillow fort at home is a great way to spend your Valentine’s Day evening; the best part is it is free! You can use objects you have at home to build your fort. All you really need are some pillows, blankets, and some sort of clips to keep your fort up. To make your fort more interesting, build it around a TV and add fairy-lights to make a whimsical movie fort!

Making Heart Shaped Pizzas: Heart shaped pizzas are easy to make and won’t break the bank. All you need is an unbaked crust, sauce of your choice (my go to is red sauce), cheese of your choice, and any other toppings you so choose. The whole pizza will cost no more than $10. The fun part is making the dough heart shaped and building your pizza how you and your partner want. 

There are plenty of other unique, cheap date ideas, but hopefully these ideas helped to get the ball of ideas rolling. Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!