Valentine’s Day Single and on a Budget

St. Valentine’s Day can be a divisive holiday. On one hand, there are couples who have already set up a wedding savings account and love Cupid, flowers, chocolates and romance. On the other hand, there are people who are single and on a budget — who want to mark the occasion, but won’t be spending money on extravagant dates or giant teddy bears. If you’re in the latter group, here are a few ways to enjoy February 14 without breaking any hearts or the bank.

For the Single Ladies

To celebrate girl power and your love for all of your lady friends, “Galentine’s Day,” popularized by the television series Parks and Recreation, is an excellent option. Bust out your favorite pink and red dresses to really get festive. And if you don’t have a cute dress in the right color, visit a local thrift store to find something fun and affordable.

You’ll also want the surroundings to match the festivity. Here are some budget-friendly DIY decoration ideas for your celebration:

  • Fringed photo backdrop — cut several large strips of pink, white, and red crepe paper, then trim for a fringed border. Attach one side of each to the ceiling and twist the bottom for a great background for your photos.
  • Garland — cut out some felt hearts and hot glue them to a long ribbon or piece of twine. Then you’ll have something to hang over your windows and doorways.
  • Hugs & kisses — take a basic red, white or pink cotton tablecloth and use acrylic or fabric paint to draw simple Xs and Os on it.

We all know food can make or break a party. Brunch is great because it’s affordable and easy for everyone to contribute. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive:

  • Waffles — this staple is always a favorite. Have everyone bring their favorite waffle topping (whipped cream, chocolate, strawberries, etc.) to save some money.
  • Omelets — find items at the supermarket to create an omelet bar. Simple ingredients such as mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, spinach and cheese are inexpensive, yet delicious.
  • Add granola and dried or fresh fruits to a small bowl of yogurt for a hearty and satisfying snack that is also easy on the pocketbook.

You can also gather to binge-watch your favorite chick flicks via streaming services; it’s much cheaper than heading out to the theater. Give each other Valentine’s-themed manicures as you’re watching. Another idea is to end the evening with a lip-sync battle featuring the all-time greatest girl power songs.

For the Single Men

Don’t worry, guys, we didn’t forget about you! This season is also a good time to celebrate your bromance with your friends! Here are some suggestions for you.

Have a tournament. You probably already own most of the necessary equipment, so it shouldn’t cost much. Just print out a bracket, invite some of your guy friends over, pick a team name and show who is the best at:

  • Basketball — play three-on-three, H-O-R-S-E, or lightning in your driveway or at a nearby gym or blacktop where you can play for free.
  • Football — flag football is fun for large and small teams. You can also search online for pick-up games happening in your area.
  • Ping-pong — go one-on-one in single elimination or compete in doubles. Blast the Rocky soundtrack to make it even more epic.
  • Foosball — you’ll have to determine if your house rules allow spinning or not, but this is even a crowd pleaser for those who don’t like sports.
  • Video games – host a LAN party or dust off your old N64 and play some Goldeneye.

Food is also essential here. Pizza is a good, inexpensive way to feed a large group. Here are some other dishes that you can bring to a bromantic potluck:

  • Seven-layer dip — as long as you have beans, sour cream, guacamole and cheese, people usually won’t count the actual layers. Don’t forget the chips!
  • Pulled pork — shoulder (or Boston butt) roast usually goes for about $2 a pound. Watch store prices and buy when it’s on sale.
  • Hot dogs — add some diversity to your dogs with inexpensive toppings such as ketchup, mustard, Dijon mustard, pickles, relish, onions, sauerkraut, chili, banana peppers and BBQ sauce.

So instead of feeling sad or lonely on Valentine’s if you’re single, have some fun with your friends and do it without spending too much.