Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, which means many corporations will once again try to capitalize on love and commercialize the holiday. Right now, overpriced stuffed animals line the shelves of nearly every store and jew­elry ads bombard our TV and com­puter screens. This types of advertising suggests our love for someone is pro­portional to how much money we spend on them. However, Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be expensive. There’s no need to spend tons of money in order to express true love and friendship. To prove this, here are a few inexpensive ideas that’ll make for a memorable Val­entine ’s Day:

HAVE A SPA DAY AT HOME

Treat yourself, friends or significant other to a spa day without breaking the bank! First, set the mood by playing soothing relaxation music. Next, stay hydrated and fancy with infused water — just add lemon wedges or mint leaves to a water bottle and drink up. Keep the skin radiant and relaxed with lavender scented body lotion, bath bombs or face masks. While affordable and adorable face masks or bath bombs can be bought at the beauty section at your local store, also consider testing DIY recipes on YouTube for an afternoon of relaxation or laughs.

PREPARE A HOMEMADE MEAL

Preparing and sharing food with others is a great way to connect and develop memories. Consider trying those easy recipes without breaking the bank. While you cook, be sure to turn on your favorite playlist and jam out. Don’t worry if the dish doesn’t come out perfect — it’s the quality time you spend with others or dedicate to yourself that truly matters.

EXPLORE YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Washington is a beautiful state — use this lovely holiday as an opportunity to explore. If you’re in Tacoma, take a stroll down the Bridge of Glass or observe the flowers at the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory at Wright Park. General admission to the conservatory is free, but donations are appreciated. Should you have the desire to splurge — and are 21 or older — attend the conserva­tory’s Valentine’s Day event Feb. 15. Another idea is to hop on the Tacoma link and spend a few minutes exploring each stop on its loop. For those who commute to campus from Seattle, take a night time trip to Kerry Park. Trust me, the dazzling view of the city is worth the drive.

HOMEMADE GIFTS

The most impactful, memorable gifts will come from your heart. Consider making a homemade Valentine’s Day card or write a detailed letter. A letter may seem a little old school — espe­cially in a world where everything is digital. But a letter is more personal than any tweet or text message, as it takes careful thought and effort to write one. Plus, it’s tangible so the recipient can keep it to swoon over countless times. You could also create a collage of photos that you’ve taken together or make love coupons that are redeemable for future dates. When it comes to giving great gifts on Valentine ’s Day, remember — it’s the thought that counts.

ILLUSTRATION BY BRUNO MARQUEZ
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