How to Spend Valentine’s Day as a Broke Teenager


Sophia Elizondo-Bean (she/her), Staff Writer

It’s no secret that high schoolers are broke. Even those with jobs barely make enough money to fund their Starbucks addiction. This creates a problem during Valentine’s Day when students want to help their loved ones feel special but can’t afford the traditional options of roses or selective chocolate. Here are 10 ways to celebrate this Valentine’s Day on a budget.


Park Picnic

A picnic at a local park is the perfect Valentine’s Day activity in good weather. Bring sandwiches and fruit from home or get snacks from a convenience store. This is an easy activity for those spending the day with their friends or a valentine. 


Spa Day

For those having a Galentine’s day party or celebrating with friends, a spa day is the best option to relax and enjoy time with the people you love. Make homemade face masks from household ingredients like honey and oatmeal or paint nails and wear the fuzziest pajamas available. There are so many options when it comes to spa days that will help you recharge without breaking the bank. 



“Read-overs” are the most exciting way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the bookworms in your life. Invite a group of friends over to bring and wrap their favorite romance book. Then, trade the books and read a new story for free. To make it more interesting write three words from the story on the wrapping paper such as: “beach, enemy, and family”  to give friends a hint at what the book is about. 


White Elephant

Another way to spend this Valentine’s Day with friends is to do a valentine-themed white elephant gift exchange. White elephant is a tradition that involves bringing wrapped gag gifts and stealing them from each other over three rounds until they find their rightful owner. To make it more financially accessible, limit the price per gift to as low as five dollars. Friends can buy gifts at the dollar aisle in Target or make them by hand. Everyone playing walks away with a silly gift and it’s an entertaining party activity. 


Board Party

One of the many trends blowing up across Tik Tok is board parties. At board parties, each guest brings a board of a different kind of food. Some examples are a veggie board or baked goods board. This way, everyone invited gets to enjoy a variety of snacks without putting additional financial stress on the host. Themes can add to the fun as well. One example is the theme “exes” where guests bring boards representing the reason for the end of the relationship. Bring a board full of raspberries and strawberries to represent all the red flags you wish you’d noticed, like how your ex kept raw meat in their backpack. Ultimately, board parties are about having fun with the people you care about so change it however you like to make it most enjoyable for everyone involved. 


Handmade Cards & Gifts

Handmade cards are one of the most thoughtful gifts to receive that don’t set your wallet on fire. Put a creative twist on the traditional paper valentine by making paper rings for a special Taylor Swift fan or a candy bag full of heart-shaped notes. The account @stainedhands on Tik Tok has numerous Valentine’s Day-specific crafts to help your loved ones feel special. 



Who doesn’t want to eat heart-shaped brownies? This Valentine’s Day spread love in the form of baked goods. Make pink and red treats with your valentine or hand out cupcakes to your friends and family. 


Rom Com Movie Night

Use February 14th as the perfect opportunity to catch up on all the rom-com classics with a movie night. There are so many options from “10 Things I Hate About You” to “Legally Blonde”. 

If you don’t have access to a streaming service, rent a movie from a Redbox machine at Fred Meyer. Pair a favorite film with popcorn and conversation hearts to get in the Valentine’s Day spirit. 


For those who enjoy the outdoors, go stargazing with your valentine. Council Crest Park is beautiful and has lots of open space for enjoying the night sky. Check for visibility and bring enough layers and hot chocolate to stay warm. 


Date Jar

Help your loved ones feel special all year with a coupon and date jar. Fill a mason jar with colored notes that describe activities to do together. Each color can represent a different kind of date such as one that requires going out, spending money, or staying in. Think of activities that you will both enjoy and remember to be as creative as possible.


When your bank account is drained by a daily vanilla sweet cream cold brew, it can be difficult to celebrate loved ones. Fortunately, there are many thoughtful and inexpensive options. Remember, the purpose of Valentine’s Day is to spend time with the people you care about no matter how much money you have to spend.