BY JAMES STEMPLE, STAFF WRITER
We all know that dreaded feeling: checking your bank account and seeing the equivalent of a tumbleweed rolling through the desert. It’s a common stereotype that college students are broke.
For many of us, as sad as it is, that stereotype is true. With car payments, rent, student loans, food and tuition, there’s always something sucking the green away from our pockets. This is quite a problem for those who may be in a relationship, especially with Valentine’s Day coming up. Luckily, not all dates have to be filled with fancy dinners, large bouquets and tons of chocolate. Here are a few ideas that might be a bit easier on your pocket this Valentine’s Day.
You could build your relationship by building a blanket fort and having a movie marathon. Forts aren’t just for little kids, you know. This Valentine’s Day, you might consider getting together with your significant other and having a little fun building a fort out of your sheets, blankets and pillows. Create your own comfy castle to cuddle in, lay down with a laptop, or set up a TV and watch a ton of movies.
With the weather being a little bit cooler nowadays, it might not be too fun (or romantic) to eat food in the cold. No matter: lay down your picnic blanket indoors and have yourselves a little indoor picnic. Make some PB&J sandwiches and pack some cheap snacks like trail mix or your favorite chips and hide from the cold together.
However, you could always brave the cold and take a day trip to D.C. Round trip Metro ticket—as well as food while you’re there—may cost you few bucks, but there’s nothing like visiting our nation’s capital with someone you care about. The Smithsonian museums are free and quite interesting to look around. Don’t forget your jacket!
Your jacket will certainly come in handy if you take a brisk walk through the cold over to University Mall for a movie. The Office of Student Involvement sometimes offers free tickets to movies, which eases your bank account even more. Worried that the movie won’t let you talk to that special someone? Fret not, walking back to campus could allow you to talk all about how good (or bad) that movie was. Or, for a few more bucks, you could stop by one of the many shops near the theater for coffee, a smoothie or some good ol’ greasy food.
After your movie finishes, you could always walk to the Mason Pond for a nice view. The Mason pond can be quite the place to just chill out and ease your mind. Why not share the serenity? Bring a blanket at night to bundle up with (and maybe another to sit on, if you don’t want to sit on the benches) and look at the stars. It’s great to ponder how big the universe is with someone who is your universe. Maybe you’ll even get into a heated debate (all in good fun) about the existence of aliens.
Mobius Records is a new and used records store just a few minutes from Mason, and it’s a great spot to hang out with your date and look through the creative cover art from new, old and local bands. They usually play music at the store, the staff is really nice and they have record players set up for people who want the vinyl experience. Warning: this may not be easy on your pocket if you’re a music lover.
Few feelings rival the first cup of coffee of the day. Why not have it with someone you care about? For a few bucks, you can take your special someone to the many coffee spots around campus and do what you know in your heart you’re best at: having a delightful conversation.
If you get bored, use that warm beverage in your stomach to brave the cold weather and do some people watching around campus. There are tons of interesting people on campus, and you and your date can make up backgrounds for strangers that pass by —all in good fun.
Despite this list, there’s something to keep in mind when planning a Valentine’s Day date: it’s not about how much money you spend, it’s about what you mean to your special someone and what they mean to you. Any date can be exciting as long as you can turn it into an adventure. Life is an adventure, and it’s a whole lot better when you have someone to take along with you on this crazy ride.