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Celebrating Valentine’s Day on a Campus Student Budget
Celebrating Valentine’s Day on a Campus Student Budget
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Celebrating Valentine’s Day on a Campus Student Budget

Sheila Brenda Andoi
February 3, 2022

Valentine's Day festivities come in a variety of sizes and shapes. And they get very costly really fast given the huge amount of pressure to spend money on your significant other.

This can be particularly challenging for a college student who is yet to get a steady income of their own. 

According to Mastercard's annual Love Index, the number of hotel transactions during the Valentine's Day period in Kenya increased by 65% between 2017 and 2019, compared to 22% globally.

With only 10 days left until Valentine's Day, are you prepared? 

We've got you covered if you're looking for a more cost-effective way to celebrate Valentine's Day. Here's how to have a romantic Valentine's Day while staying within your student budget.

 Discover What's Going on in Campus.

Chances are, at least one student organization body will be hosting an event like a couple's dinner or a fun activity on Valentine's Day. 

You could take advantage of such an opportunity to have a fun evening with your loved one without spending much and still mark the day in a meaningful way. 

If this option hives off a significant amount from what you would have spent at a restaurant or getaway you could pair this with a thoughtful gift. 

Check Out for Deals in Local Restaurants

Look for bargains (and book reservations as soon as possible!).

Many restaurants will offer Valentine's Day promotions or a set menu to make the bill as cheap as possible. Search for local coupon and discount sites as well and compare what works well with your budget.

Valentine's Day may be one of the worst days to eat out if you don't start early. Do some research to see if any of your favorite restaurants are offering special meals, such as brunches or special appetizers or desserts, that will allow you to feel fancy for less than the cost of an average meal.

However, before taking advantage of any deals, make sure you read all of the fine print to ensure that what you're signing up for is actually cost-effective without any other extra or hidden charges. Or else you might end up with “kuchonga viazi” or “embarazzments

Find Something Fun/Free in Your Community

Community visits to children's homes, poetry slams like Poetry After Lunch (PAL) at the Kenya National Theater, a local band performing in the park, and so on.

You might be surprised at how many free community events are available in your area. And the majority of these events may often have a romantic feel to them. 

Examine any on-campus or off-campus activities that may be listed in your school newspaper, local newspapers, or social media pages and pick one that may best come close to the mood you are aiming for. 

Your partner will definitely appreciate you for being thoughtful, and your wallet will thank you as well.

Visit a Museum or Art Gallery

For students, many museums, art galleries, and cultural centers provide discounted (or even free!) entrance. You and your date can pay only Ksh200 each to enter the Nairobi National Museum or Ksh150 each to visit the Nairobi Gallery.

You might also go to Bomas of Kenya to appreciate the rich cultural heritage and dances, and the good thing is that university or college students get a discounted fee of Ksh100.

Make the most of your student ID while simultaneously getting your culture on and spending quality time with your partner.

Make a Meal at Home

If you are unable to be among the early birds and obtain reduced Valentine's restaurant reservations, this may be an excellent alternative.

If cooking isn't your strong suit, look out for some YouTube cooking tutorials and pick a simple recipe to amaze your partner with a great prepared supper. Cooking at home is less expensive than eating out, and it's also a terrific opportunity to spend quality time with your partner. You can even cook together!

It doesn't have to be a lavish meal, just make what you know and dress it up well. Set up a beautiful table with some candles, play some low-key Celine Dion music, and serve the meal to your date.

This can be a tricky one if you really are not so good in the kitchen. You may want to do a trial run before the big day if you have doubts. You don’t want to kill the cheer with a sloppy meal. 

Time as a Gift

Many will admit, this could be one of the nicest gifts you can give to your partner. Turn off your phone and give them your whole attention. Spend time bonding, telling stories, and engaging in casual conversations. This is a kind gesture since you will both get the opportunity to connect and enjoy a romantic evening at no cost as you offer your entire focus to your companion.

Have a Game Night! 

Something very simple and enjoyable! 

If you want, you could turn the game night into a double date with some of your couple friends! Play board games like "Never Have I Ever" and "20 Questions," as well as Monopoly, PS, or any other game you and your partner like!

Custom-make your Gifts.

Making a gift for someone you love is a wonderful way to show how much you care. Anyone can go out and purchase a gift, but making one displays that you put thought and effort into it. 

This is the perfect opportunity to show off your artistic side to your loved ones, and it will mean the world to them!

A wide variety of handcrafted gift options are available. Make Pinterest your best friend this Valentine's season. 

You can be creative and custom-make a stunning gift for your partner with the millions of DIYs available. 

Not only will you save a lot of money, but you'll be surprised how much a personalized bangle or a DIY photo frame may mean to your lover.

Bring the Movie Theater to your Apartment

These days, if you want to go to the cinema, you'll need to buy your tickets in advance, especially on Valentine's Day when everyone is out there to treat their loved ones.

So why not bring your own personal movie theater into your home?

Retire to the couch after lunch or supper and cuddle up with your significant other while watching a good movie. Remember to bring some tasty popcorn just to spice it up!

You can definitely have a romantic day or night in your house on Valentine's Day. You will save money while simultaneously avoiding the crowds and you'll be able to show your loved one how much you care while still saving money.


Who said Valentine’s has to be a costly affair? This year on February 14, you simply need to personalize it, design it with love, and make Valentine's Day more memorable than ever! 

There are many simple ways you can save money as a student while still showing the person you love and care about how much you appreciate them. Valentine's Day is about the effort you put in, therefore anything you put thought into will be a gift your date will love and appreciate.

If everything else fails, the best thing you can do is simply be yourself. It's absolutely normal to be nervous; but you don't need to be flashy, or attempt to impress, just to prove a point at the expense of your finances. 

As always, remember that it is the thought that counts!

Sheila Brenda Andoi is a communicator, journalist, editor, and writer passionate about human-interest stories. You can find her on Twitter @sheilaandoi

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