14 Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day on a Student Budget

The more traditional options for celebrating Valentine's Day - gourmet chocolates, a big bouquet of roses, and dinner at the nearest Michelin Star - can burn a hole through a college student's pocket. But these alternative ways to express your love are no less heartfelt, and considerably more affordable.

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From Your Heart, Not Your Wallet

An occasion for love, compassion and friendship, Valentine's Day is about more than a reservation at a fancy restaurant or a bouquet of overpriced flowers. Find out how students can celebrate by themselves or with a special someone or friends for next to nothing this February 14th.

1. Write a love letter.

You can show your loved one how much you care by committing your feelings about the person to paper this Valentine's Day. You don't have to be a poet to tell the special person in your life how you feel. Just write from the heart.

2. Make a mix CD or playlist

Put together a thoughtful playlist of songs for your significant other. Think about adding tracks that the two of you share, and be sure to add some personal favorites as well. Decorate the jewel case with pictures or a personalized note.

3. Make a meal together.

Cooking a meal together can be an exciting and passionate experience. You could try a new recipe that the two of you concoct in the moment, or prepare a favorite dish you both enjoy.

4. Give a massage.

Surprise your significant other with some new massage techniques. Do some online research to brush up on your skills. You can add candles or an oil diffuser and soothing music to heighten the experience.

5. Make a scrapbook.

Use your creativity to put together a scrapbook with favorite photos. You can add baby pictures of you and your partner - or stick with current photographs of the two of you. You could even add drawings of events you'll share together in the future.

6. Have a game night.

Brush up on all of your favorite board games with a partner. Your valentine is bound to be full of laughter and playful smack talk. This is also a great option for friends who may not have other Valentine's Day plans.

7. Give blood.

Show your compassion for others on this day of love by giving some of your blood to those in need. Ask a friend, partner or family member to come along. Learn how by going to the website of the American Red Cross.

8. Take a scenic hike.

Reacquaint yourself with the beauty of nature. You can visit some of your favorite scenic spots, take a new route you've always wanted to try or wander aimlessly at a nearby park or a beach.

9. Volunteer.

Volunteering is a good activity for any day of the year. Make time to help out at an animal shelter or the soup kitchen down the block. Whether you're together with someone or single, this can be a day of love and friendship.

10. Have a movie night.

This is a fun activity for friends or couples on Valentine's Day. Make a movie night to remember by combining some old favorites with new titles. Then settle in on the sofa with a blanket and a big bowl of popcorn.

11. Have a spa day at home.

Light some candles and incense, start a warm bath and put on some relaxing music to turn your home into an exclusive spa. You can make the day all about pampering yourself or a loved one with massages, facials and pedicures.

12. Have an outdoor picnic.

Make your way to a serene outdoor spot with a blanket, a packed meal and maybe a bottle of some bubbly. You could surprise your partner at work with a picnic lunch, or wait until after dinner to watch the sunset together over dessert.

13. Design a treasure hunt.

Draw up a treasure map and begin a day of fun for your partner, friends or family members. End your hunt at a concert, favorite restaurant or playground - the excitement is in the journey, not the destination.

14. Learn something new.

Have you always wanted to learn sign language, know how to play chess or engage in some other hobby you've not made time for? Show your love for yourself by getting a start on that activity you've always wanted to try.

Need to save some cash? Learn 30 ways you can save money next month.'

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