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Student Life

Buying Valentine’s Day Gifts on a College Budget

When your gift list is bigger than your bank account balance, giving great presents for Valentine’s Day can be tricky. Luckily, choosing the best Valentine’s Day gifts on a college budget is easier than you might think.

From finding cheap gifts for college students to offering your time and talent, these budget gift ideas will save you from splurging on a giant teddy bear. Whether you’re celebrating romantically or platonically, learn how to make Valentine’s Day affordable with Varsity!

Make It Personal

No matter how often you hear, “It’s the thought that counts,” you might be worried about finding great Valentine’s Day gifts on a college budget. If you think about all the presents you’ve ever received, though, the best ones probably seemed like they were custom-made for you. Here are some budget gift ideas that will earn you an A+ every time:

  • Inexpensive personalized items
  • Books that dig deep into their favorite topics
  • A poster or framed picture made from a digital photo
  • Unique vintage housewares or accessories that fit their style

If you’re close enough—and know your way around the kitchen—consider giving them a coupon for a home-cooked dinner on the day of their choice. Buy the ingredients (with coupons, of course), cook the meal, and clean up afterward.

Bundle It

Gift baskets and subscriptions are popular because they’re fun to open. Who wouldn’t want a bundle of food, beauty products, or collectibles from their favorite TV show? Boxes and baskets make excellent cheap gifts for college students, both the giver and receiver, because they’re chock-full of fun stuff. A container loaded with small goodies can seem much more expensive than it is. Turning it into a themed present makes it even more special. Try these bundled Valentine’s Day gift ideas on a budget:

  • Food boxes centered around chocolate, cheese, etc.
  • Travel-size lotions and fragrances
  • At-home spa kits
  • A ball, mug, or socks with their favorite team’s logo

Tailor these ideas to what you can find at a great price. Thrift stores, Dollar Tree, and even Aldi can be surprisingly great sources for budget gift ideas. Check out eBay as well, but pay attention to the cost of shipping and handling.

Give Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime

We can hear you groaning, but you really don’t have to spend any money to make someone happy this Valentine’s Day. Vouchers for a variety of freebies may mean you’ll be doing some work in the near future, but they’ll be appreciated when the big day rolls around. Consider giving “coupons” for these free services to your significant other, friends, and family:

  • Music lessons
  • A night of babysitting
  • Snow-shoveling service
  • At-home cooking lessons
  • One dorm, apartment, or house cleaning

Whether you have a special skill or just put in a little effort, everyone will appreciate having one less thing on their to-do list. Score bonus points by picking a chore they really hate doing or a skill they’ve really wanted to learn.

Stay on Budget for Valentine’s Day with Varsity

From picking up fun items to adding a little free time to their busy schedules, you can give truly memorable gifts on a college budget. Track your spending with help from the Varsity app. Our zero-fee interest checking helps you save money on gifts that show how much you love your friends, family, or significant other. Additionally, you’ll receive a debit card with your university’s logo to show your school spirit while on the go.

Take your first step in your financial journey with Varsity and open your account today!

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