When it comes to Valentine’s Day, there are so many gift options, but many of them seem cliché after years of roses and chocolate. Plus, it can be hard to find cute presents that aren’t crazy expensive, which is a problem for many college students. Here are some ideas about what to get your loved ones this Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank.

For friends:

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for significant others, it’s for your friends, too! Leave a bag of their favorite candy outside their door to surprise them first thing in the morning. Plan a cupcake decorating party and throw in some chick flicks and classic slumber party games, like truth or dare and M.A.S.H. (instructions here ). Your friends will appreciate spending time with you on Valentine’s Day, and who doesn’t love a holiday that basically revolves around candy?

Here are some cute valentines you can send to those special gals in your life.

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For him:

If you’re on a college budget, sometimes buying gifts can be problematic. However, you can still give your boyfriend a great Valentine’s Day without killing your wallet. Here are some ideas:

Craft him something. Whether you paint a canvas, sharpie a mug, or make him a mason jar full of your favorite memories, he’ll love getting something that’s straight from the heart.

Print some pics of good times. We all have pictures on our phones, but how often do we print them out? A physical photo can be rare nowadays, and in a picture frame, it’ll look great on his desk. Happy memories evoke positive feelings, so a picture of a fun date night or a trip you went on together will remind him of those special occasions.

Cook him dinner. In college, many meals consist of cardboard pizza from the cafe or something cheap and quick like Subway. Cooking him a homemade meal is a special treat, and you both get to enjoy it! Try to use a recipe that doesn’t have many exotic ingredients so it doesn’t get too expensive (you can use simple ingredients for other cooking endeavors).

Do something unexpected. Bring him coffee first thing in the morning, tell him you want to watch his favorite TV show (even if you hate it and think it’s obnoxious), whisk him off to a night of stargazing. It’ll be out-of-the-ordinary and romantic.

Make him some coupons. And get creative! Here are some examples of coupons you might give:

Coupon good for one…

Movie night filled with any movies he wants to watch

Full body massage

Piece of lingerie

Get out of the doghouse free card

Adventure (rock climbing, hiking, ice fishing, parasailing)


Breakfast in bed

Foot rub

Give him one blank coupon that he can fill in however he wants (maybe a scary thought for you, but he’ll love it).

Here’s a link to some free coupons you can print out.

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No matter what you decide to give all your baes for Valentine’s Day, remember to tell them how much they mean to you. In the end, it’s not about how many roses she gets or what kind of candy he likes or how many heart stickers you can fit on one card, it’s about being thankful for all the special people in your life.