Love without the wallet

Michael Sampson--Eating sweethearts while taking a sweetheart out to a drive-in movie theater works for budget-minded students.

Have you ever wondered how many arrows Cupid goes through every Valentine’s Day? He must dish out the dough for every love-tipped arrow he buys.

The payoff ought to be worth it though, for the same icon of passion to return in a flurry of feathers and affection every February.

Lucky for the college student, Valentine’s Day does not have to cost as much as Cupid pays. Here in Riverside and even solely on California Baptist University’s campus, budget-friendly options are certainly available for mere mortals.

A candlelight dinner is a classic picture of romance – and with a simple tablecloth, a red rose, two (battery-operated) flicker candles, and a home-cooked meal, it’s possible. Unfortunately, unless you have a friend in the school’s orchestra, violinists can’t be purchased at the 99 Cent Store, the place to go for your table setting needs.

If the idea of staying on campus doesn’t flutter your heart, perhaps an old-fashioned movie viewing might. A quick trip over to the Van Buren Drive-In will land you a front row seat in your own car, close enough to see the screen-and your date, with all opportunity to cuddle in private. Seven dollars each will buy you two movies on the silver screen.

Staying out late in front of the silver screen isn’t for everyone though and for the early birds out there, perhaps a picnic will do the trick. Granted the weather stays beautiful until the national day of love, a blanket, a couple sandwiches, some Martinelli’s and some chocolate- dipped strawberries on CBU’s front lawn may set the stage for romance yet.

For the chocolate-melting-illiterate lovebirds out there, chocolate-covered strawberries can be found at most bakeries. For the more advanced, microwaveable chocolate can be found at any grocery store for less than 5 dollars and so can the strawberries.

Beautiful weather also warrants a trip to the beach. So for the more adventurous, San Clemente is the place to be. The coastal area off of Pico Avenue on the I-5 south grants not only free beachside parking in some spots but a lovely little town with plenty of shops to keep busy in.

Mom ‘n’ Pop bakeries, restaurants, café’s and retail stores offer a full day and a busy agenda, which wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Lavender Tea Lounge, the best tea shop around. Use a GPS, iPhone map system, or good old-fashioned Google Maps to route your journey to romance, beachside.

For a less than friendly weather condition, staying indoors will obviously be the optimal choice. From planning something as complicated as an indoor scavenger hunt to something as simple as watching a movie, fun is guaranteed.

Try planning and making a meal and dessert together, or just popping a bag of popcorn and watching a romantic film. To be even more celebratory, melt some chocolate and dip random things in it – potato chips, popcorn, gummy bears, pretzels, bananas – just give it a shot and let the laughter ensue.

Regardless of what happends on Valentine’s Day and who you spend it with, remember that there is a God who loves you more than any human could, so go ahead and express your love for Him this special day too.

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