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How to Give a Gift on Valentine’s Day Without Spending a Fortune

Even though I’ve been on all sides of the relationship spectrum on Valentine’s Day (long-term relationship, awkward first date, single) I’ve never really liked it. There is so much pressure to give the perfect gift, to have the perfect date, host the perfect “Galentine’s” night. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about spreading love, whether it be to your S.O., or friends and family. Letting people know that you love them shouldn’t feel like a chore, or equate to the cost of a broker's fee for an apartment.

There are lots of different ways to show someone you love them. Sure, you can go out to fancy dinners, or spend money on a gift, but let’s be honest: sometimes those options aren’t feasible for college students. If you’re looking to spend a little less money this Valentine’s Day, but you still want to let someone you love and appreciate know that you’re thinking of them, here are some things you can do.


Use Your Talents to Your Advantage

I think many people would agree that the effort and thought that people put into a gift is more important than the gift itself. So if you’re someone who’s lucky enough to have a creative talent, use it when you give a gift. Write someone a poem or letter. Draw something. Bake something for them. It feels really good when you know someone spent a prolonged period of time working on something just for you, and that definitely applies to Valentine’s Day gifts. More often than not, people will forget what the physical gift was, but they certainly will remember the way it made them feel. 

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Stay at Home

Being at home on Valentine’s Day probably doesn’t seem like a fantastic option to many, but sometimes just spending quality time with someone can be better than any gift you would’ve given them. There are so many things you can do at home — for example, cooking dinner together. Not only does this option save you some money, but it gives you more one on one time with that person as well. And if neither of you are good at cooking, you can laugh about how bad it is later and order pizza. 


Set a Spending Limit 

OK, so maybe you like giving gifts (me) and like to spend a little more money than you probably should (me) when you give people gifts and then realize that you went overboard and end up with $6 in your bank account (still me).

If you struggle to find a balance between getting something meaningful but not spending an arm and a leg, maybe consider setting a spending limit with your S.O. or friends. No one likes being the person that gets the short end of the stick at gift exchanges, so this policy ensures everyone is even. 

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Split an ~Experience~ Gift

It goes without saying that spending uninterrupted time with someone is a great way to show them you love them, but experiencing something new together might be an even better way to get closer to someone. Try one of those classes where you paint and drink wine at the same time, take a cooking class together, see a cheap concert near you, go hiking or walk on the beach, watch the sunrise. If you’re with the right person, anything can be fun, and it doesn’t always have to cost a fortune. 

Everyone likes to be reminded that they’re loved and appreciated. This Valentine’s Day, if there’s a special person you want to show some love to, or you just want to thank someone for being a great friend, do something for them. It doesn’t have to be huge or expensive -- the fact that someone knows you were thinking about them is usually enough. 


Madeline is a journalism major at Hofstra University, and is a writer for HC Hofstra. If you're looking for her, you can probably find her at an Anthropologie, the beach, or eating peanut butter out of the jar.
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