By Alli Atayee and Markia Gore
RICHMOND, Va.–The recession. A new semester of expenses. Students deal with the bad economy on all sides, and that includes buying Valentine’s Day gifts for their special someones.
Virginia Commonwealth University students Amy Hadra and Drew Vanlandingham know better than most about saving money.
“We had been friends since high school but then the summer before college Drew told me he loved me and now we’re engaged,” said Hadra.
What’s surprising about the couple isn’t that they’re engaged at such a young age, but instead what they’ve chosen to do because of their recent engagement.
“We both had apartments downtown but we both chose to move back home with our parents so that we could save money that we’ll need for our future together,” Drew said.
Though their adjustments haven’t been ideal the couple is making the most out of their current situation.
Hadra said, “ We cut back by ordering water when we go out with a bunch of lemons, and we use the sugar or splenda on the table to make lemonade.”
And they plan carry over their money-saving ways into the Valentine’s Weekend.
“We got gift cars to Magionos from Drew’s aunt for Christmas,” said Hadra.
In case gift cards aren’t at your disposal; there are many other ways of impressing a significant other without breaking the bank.
Chocolate and desert shops, just like Cary Town’s For the Love of Chocolate, offer deals that within the budget of most students. The shops owner and manager, James Kinnard, was once a VCU student and knows how hard it is to live college kids budget. But he assures customers that the low prices don’t mean a cheap product.
“We let the customer select and then we try to do the artistic work of putting it together, we have trays that have different cavities where we can fit bigger pieces, smaller pieces, exactly what you want,” Kinnard said.
According to the to the National Retail Federation, American’s will spend more than 14 billion dollars this Valentines Day. Men will spend an average of $135 dollars; women tend to spend half of that.
The couple is taking different kind of approach and hope the money they save now will help them with future Valentines Day’s, as well as several other special occasions in the couples future.
“Honestly,” Vanlandingham said, “the biggest gift we could give each other would be saving money.”