Andrea Wilkinson/Nevada Sagebrush

Valentine’s Day is arguably both the most depressing and promising holiday of the year. For those of you who have yet to find your special someone (or simply aren’t looking), the thought of a whole day dedicated to love can seem a little dismal. Alternatively, even those of you who are spending the day with a romantic partner may be a little stressed when searching for gift or date ideas. But here’s the thing: Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to be a burden! Rather than dread the holiday, you can use one of the following (cheap) ideas on how to spend it, single or not.


Paint away the stress of Valentine’s Day! Whether alone, with a friend, or with a partner, painting is always a great activity that’s proven to relieve stress and expand the mind’s creativity. My favorite place to paint is in the park, where every place you look can serve as inspiration for your creation. Just bring a blanket to sit on, paint, paper towels, a blank canvas, paint brushes, cups of water and a paint palette (or disposable plates). This is a wonderful activity that can help you get in tune with your inner self or bond with your friend/significant other. Plus, if you’re like me, you hate the thought of dressing up for any special occasion. However, painting is a great excuse for wearing your dingiest or most comfortable clothing! Who wants to get paint on their nicest dress clothes?


Get lost in a world where Valentine’s Day isn’t even a concern. How, you ask? Books, books, books! With around 30 (self-proclaimed) bookstores in Reno, you can easily pick a location to spend the day roaming for new novels to submerge yourself in. The nice thing about Reno is that many bookstores give away cheap, used books for great prices. However, if money is really an issue, you could always visit Barnes & Noble, Sundance, Grassroots Books, or another location and sit around reading to your heart’s content. This is another great idea that’s both romantic and self-caring. If you’re looking for a gift idea that can be turned into a date, giving someone a book can lead to a tender night of reading next to each other and exchanging a limited amount of words. What’s better than that? For a list of bookstores to check out, visit the Reno bookstore section of


Whip up a delicious meal that would make your parents … moderately impressed. The internet is chock-full of tasty, simple meals that you can easily make on a budget. Whether you’re cooking for one, two, or more (no judgment), everybody loves to eat! I recommend taking a look at what the online magazine, Country Living, has to offer. If you visit their Valentine’s

Dinner page, you can view 42 romantic (or platonic) Valentine’s Day dinners, with the price of each recipe listed underneath. Yum! And not only that ,but for those of you who are of a responsible drinking age, you can also dine with some cheap $3 wine that’s sure to make you say “I’m gonna regret this in the morning!”

Fashion Show

This may seem a little strange, I know, but hear me out. I’m thoroughly convinced that thrift shops are God’s gift to broke college students, and for those of us who can’t afford high-end clothing, thrifting is our only option. Some of you may be familiar with the “My Boyfriend/Girlfriend Picks My Outfits” trend on YouTube, where couples pick out clothes for their partner and have a fashion show afterward. Well, this is also a great and hilarious way to spend Valentine’s Day with a partner-in-crime. Take some time to look around a thrift store (not together, or else that’ll ruin the surprise!), and at the end of your cheap shopping spree, retreat to one of your houses and try on the clothes you’ve chosen for each other! Some great Reno thrift stores you might want to consider include Thrift Depot Reno, St. Vincent’s, Bad Apple and Savers. If you’re in a relationship with someone, this may also be a good time to pick out some sensual clothing for your S/O (wink, wink).

Spa Day

Finally, what better way to end a long, stressful day than to relax at a spa … in your own home, nonetheless! All you need for a home spa kit is some scented candles/incense/oils (all of which can be found at Walmart), lotion, a calm

music playlist, dim lighting, and the internet. If you’d like to help a partner or friend de-stress,

you can Google some nice massages

or relaxation techniques to try out. Spas and mindfulness go hand-in-hand, so if you’re spending the day on your own, you can also take this time to practice meditation or other approaches to mindfulness. There’s also some self-massage tricks that you can really go to town with (some of which are not PG-13, if you know what I’m sayin’).

In conclusion, whether you’re single, in a relationship, or confused as hell, Valentine’s Day can be a great opportunity to spread love and positivity. Love isn’t just for couples, after all. It can also be projected onto yourself and your closest friends! And if none of these ideas seem appealing, you can always just sleep the day away and pretend that it doesn’t exist. Nap dates are a thing too, after all.

Honorable Mentions:

-Road Trip

-Movie Night

-Visit an Animal Shelter


-Game Night

-Hit the Gym


-Ice Skating



-Visit a Museum


-Watching the Sunset


-Walk Along the River


-Take a Hike

-Lake Tahoe


-Live Music