By Sarah Hendrix | Staff Writer

Valentine’s Day is one of the yearly holidays that have people polarized. Some people love to celebrate it, while others believe it’s a big waste of money. Valentine’s Day can add up to an expensive holiday for couples to celebrate, but it does not need to amount to a large bill at the end of the evening. Below are 10 inexpensive dates and gifts to celebrate Valentine’s Day that students with a limited budget can afford.

Desserts Over Dinner

Going out for a full meal can be expensive for two people. Instead of paying for a full dinner, students can try a delicious alternative by going out for fancy desserts instead. If students want to go to a sit-down restaurant Cheesecake Factory in Waikīkī has an assortment of incredible cheesecakes to choose from and Duke’s Waikīkī has hula pie. Another option could be to pick up desserts and take them to a more romantic location. Fendu Boulangerie in Mānoa has elegant French desserts that can be boxed up and taken elsewhere.

Potted Plants Instead of Flowers

Buying a dozen flowers for loved ones has an expensive price tag around this time of year. Even at a local grocery store, a dozen roses is $24.99 at Safeway. Instead, students could try surprising their significant other with a potted plant. At Home Depot a 3-pack of Desert Rose Echeveria Succulent plants are $14.36. Succulents are a low maintenance plant and will last much longer than a dozen roses.

Homemade Meal & Store-Bought Wine

Couples can try this option by cooking together, or one can surprise the other with their cooking skills. Home cooking is much cheaper than going out for food and students can practice their creativity in the kitchen. Store-bought wine will cost less than going out for drinks at a bar or restaurant and there are a wide variety of options to choose from at any grocery store.

Hand-written Notes

Anything hand written is a thoughtful gesture to show people that they’re loved. This could be a short note, love letter, or even a handmade card. All of these options can be free and are more meaningful than buying a card from the store.

Make a Picnic and Explore a New Beach

One of the benefits of spending Valentine’s Day in Hawaiʻi is being able to plan romantic outdoor dates. Students can pick out their favorite food or snacks and take a blanket to a beach for a romantic day or evening date. This kind of excursion is low budget and will provide beautiful scenery (given it’s not raining) and adds a sense of adventure to the date by exploring somewhere new.

Make a Romantic Playlist for Dancing

The modern version of making a mix-tape is creating a personalized playlist on Spotify, iTunes or YouTube. Students can pick a list of romantic songs that are meaningful to them and their significant other, which is an inexpensive and timeless gift. The option of creating a romantic playlist could also be turned into a date for couples that choose to dance to their music.

Homemade Fruit Bouquet

Looking for something unique and tasty? Skip the flowers altogether and try making a fruit bouquet. The only ingredients necessary are fresh fruit and skewers. Chocolate for dipping is also a great addition to the bouquet for people who love sweets. Students can choose whichever fruit their loved ones prefer and create a unique bouquet that is enticing and easy to make. For some simple steps to help create a fruit bouquet click here.

Write a Song or Poem

This gift is a great option for anyone who already plays an instrument or is creative with words. A song or poem could take a variety of forms. From performing a song or simply giving a loved one the lyrics or poetry as a keepsake. Both options are a romantic way to express love without spending any money.

Be Technology-Free

This sounds simple, but giving someone undivided attention can be a great gift in a world where technology creates so much distraction. Whether this is for the entire day or just the duration of a date, putting away a phone, tablet or laptop gives a loved one the gift of time and attention. This gift does not cost anything and requires minimal effort.

Create a Collage Together

This could be a fun project for couples on Valentine’s Day or a great gift idea. Couples can choose their favorite photos and print them out at a local CVS store or Walmart to create a collage of moments together. This idea also works as a gift and allows for creativity and style for whoever chooses to create the collage.