sex & relationships

A guide to Valentine’s Day gifts on a student budget

Kettlemag, Sex, Relationships, Valentine's Day, Rebecca Wilson
Written by rebeccaw94

It’s getting to that time of year where we hear the resounding whine of cupid-haters who insist:

“Valentine’s Day is just another way to waste money on food and gifts.” 

However, that doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re in a relationship or want to express your feelings to a special someone, but have already spent all of your loan in the January sales, then have no fear! These money-savvy, fun and thoughtful gift ideas will be sure to make your valentine swoon in your direction. I have tips for every kind of romantic, to make sure you hit it off with your valentine.

If food is the way to their heart…

Students really value their food; if you offer to cook for someone then they will be eternally grateful for a night away from the sound of microwave pings and the taste of kettle-boiled pot snacks. Making a great tasting meal for two is also a lot cheaper than it sounds. Supermarkets tend to reduce prices on a Thursday to make way for new stock at the weekend. And since Valentine’s Day lands on a Saturday this year, bagging some bargain ingredients just a couple of days before the meal means you save even more than going out to an expensive, busy restaurant. Note: Most places prohibit the use of vouchers or discount codes on Saturdays, so chances are you can’t get student discount. Get yourself down to your local supermarket and pick up some ingredients to make a great, romantic meal.

Some ideas:

  • Spaghetti Bolognaise: Spaghetti, minced beef, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, bolognaise sauce, cheese = £6.70*
  • Philadelphia Chicken: Two chicken breasts, cream cheese, two bacon rashers, green beans, new potatoes = £6.35*
  • Vegetarian Quesadillas: Tortilla wraps, cheese, chillies, peppers, avocado (guacamole), soured cream, side salad = £6.10*

For dessert, buy in a box of their favourite chocolates or check the reduced puddings section. Then you’ll have created a full, tasty, romantic meal for under £10!

*Prices based on calculations of cheapest products from (25/01/2015)

If music is the way to their heart…

Mix-tapes are a great way to tell someone how you feel. Relationships can be summed up in one song, or a longer relationship can have many song-related memories. Burn your choice of songs onto a disc and decorate the CD case with the song titles, and why you have chosen them. However, as CDs and tapes are becoming more obsolete, you could opt for a more tech-savvy mix-tape in the form of a USB. Buy or re-use a USB stick and create a case to wrap around the ‘mix-tape’. Check out this cool idea from Suck UK.

Song ideas could include:

  • Flying Without Wings – Westlife (for the way you make me feel)
  • Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars (the UK number one when we first got together)
  • I’ll Be There For You – The Rembrandts (Our favourite TV show’s theme song)
  • I Luv You – The Ordinary Boys
  • The Creep – The Lonely Island (erm)

If laughter is the way to their heart…

For those not into romance, but rather just having fun hanging out with someone special, a classic comedy is a great way to spend Valentine’s Day. Pick your all-time favourite comedy to watch and quote together and buy in a few snacks. If your valentine is the low-maintenance, laid-back type, with a good sense of humour, an affordable way to make their day special is through humour. This is also a very good idea if you’ve completely ran out of ideas (disclaimer: this may backfire terribly).  Be punny with your ‘gift’. Order a pizza and offer them a ‘pizza your heart’, or bring them a coffee and tell them you love them ‘a latte’. Ouch…!

If romance is the way to their heart…

This final gift idea is also the cheapest. Think of it as a cute Valentine’s Day gift/an apology gift for spending your last ten pounds at the SU bar instead of on chocolates and flowers: a coupon book. Get some red card, cut it up into rectangular strips and with a gold pen, draw perforation lines to create four tickets. Repeat this about six times to create a wide range of activities or treats for your valentine.

This coupon entitles you to:

  • One breakfast date
  • A big cuddle
  • A trip to your favourite restaurant
  • Ten kisses

You could stick the coupons together in a book or fold them up individually and fill a jar with them, to add more of a surprise element. Every time a coupon is used, your valentine will be reminded of how sweet and thoughtful the idea was: it’s a win-win situation!

Hopefully this guide has reignited people’s love for Valentine’s Day and shown that it’s not about the money, money, money (thank you Jessie J). If you found these ideas useful, or any student money saving gift ideas of your own, comment below!

If you missed our last guide, you can find Kayley Gilbert’s guide to making your relationship official here.