Show love for $20

Despite what you’ve seen in movies, I’m here to tell you that Valentine’s Day is not the holiday when it’s time to break the bank.

The whole romantic celebration can be done effectively for $20 or less.

Don’t believe me? Read on.


People use Valentine’s Day as a marker to gauge how much their partners really care about them. That’s why so many folks get caught in the big date/jewelry trap because they equate feelings with how much they spend.

But true sentiment is in the gesture – not the wallet.

Instead of rushing out to Kay Jewelers with the last dollars of your net check, consider rushing to Hallmark and picking out a card.

Instead of getting your usual heart-shaped card that sings for $6 to $8, why not try picking out a blank card?

Choose a design that will really catch your partner’s eye. Then, write on a separate sheet of paper what you’d like to say, with intimate relationship details.

When it’s perfect, copy it into the card and sign it.

Though he or she can’t flash it to his or her friends the next day, they’ll appreciate knowing how much you care.

The Date:

Cancel those dinner reservations if you don’t live in the dorms. There is no sense in paying $40 for a meal you could prepare. The trick is presentation.

For novices, Publix has a section of meats that are pre-seasoned and ready to cook. The directions are on the package.

Try going with the lemon-herb chicken or the salmon and crabmeat pinwheels for a grand total of $6.

While you’re there, pick up a $2 box or bag of minute rice or mashed potatoes and a 98-cent can of veggies.

Before you go home to prepare the meal, interrogate your partner’s friends to find out his or her favorite movie, and swing by Blockbuster to grab it on the way home. Bonus points if the film is in the $5.50 bin at Wal-Mart.

Dollar Tree has candles in all sizes and smells, and remember – you only need one.

If you don’t have nice china, hit up your friends to borrow nice plates and cups.

Cook the meal, light the candle and watch the movie for a Valentine’s Day to remember.

If you do live in the dorms, don’t fret.

Pick up a box of your date’s favorite candy when you buy the blank card and maybe a Valentine’s Day knick-knack, like a tiny bear.

After the cafe closes, take your date for an evening walk around the campus and spend the time talking. Present your card and gift in a romantic spot – the retention pond is not as icky at night.

Your date will appreciate that much more than a fake or flimsy gold chain.

 I guarantee you’ll get the same effect as if you had pulled out all the stops. Only this time, you stopped pulling out your wallet and really thought about it.

 And if your partner can’t appreciate that, they didn’t deserve anything anyway.

Robbyn Mitchell is senior newspaper journalism student from Washington D.C. She can be reached at