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A Broke College Student’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re shopping for that special someone or finding a fun gift for a friend, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show someone that you care about them. Personally, I love shopping for my galentines; there’s no better way to make someone’s February 14th special than surprising them with a meaningful present. But on a college student’s budget, it can be tough to splurge on gifts. If you’re a broke college student like me, this list of affordable yet meaningful gift ideas is perfect for you.

A Valentine's Squishmallow

It would be hard to find someone who wouldn’t just love one of these adorable stuffed animals. They’re trending all over social media, and for good reason. Ranging from $15 to $25 for an eight-inch plush, squishmallows are cute and affordable. The Valentine’s Day special collection features a brown bear with a “beary special” embroidery, a pink fox with heart patterning, and my personal favorite, a blue shark with a “you’re jawsome” embroidery, along with other lovable options.

Lego Necklaces

If you’ve spent time on Tik Tok recently, you’ve probably come across the interlocking Lego piece necklaces on your for-you-page. Offered in a variety of colors, each necklace features a square Lego piece on a chain, and when interconnected, the two pieces form a heart. These super trendy necklaces are a fun spin on the Valentine’s day tradition of gifting jewelry. Retailing between $5 and $10 on Etsy, they won’t break the bank either.

A personal mug

This gift is perfect for coffee and tea lovers. A coffee addict myself, I love collecting fun and unique mugs. Spice up someone’s morning routine by hunting down the perfect mug for them. This may seem impersonal, but there are plenty of ways of making this gift meaningful. Try finding a cute mug related to something they love or filling the mug with their favorite candy or drink mixes.

Baked Goods

Nothing says “I love you” like a festive baked good. There are plenty of easy V-day themed recipes online. For a cheap and personal gift, choose a recipe and get to baking. When I get stressed about classes, I often turn to baking as a de-stressor. If you like baking, this can be a gift for you too. Last year for Valentine’s Day, I made pink, heart-shaped cake pops for my friends; they were a hit, and I had a great time making them.

A Valentine's House Plant

Instead of a bouquet of flowers, try gifting a Valentine’s themed house plant this year. They last much longer and are the perfect way to spruce up a dorm room. Small house plants are affordable and customizable; for a creative spin, try decorating the pot or hunting for a unique, colorful plant. Heart ferns, hoya hearts, and string of hearts plants are all fun, festive options that can be found at most plant shops. If you’re on campus, try checking out the Trader Joe’s plant selection; I’m a huge fan of their seasonal house plants.

Good luck with your gift shopping this year and happy almost Valentine's day! 

Preeta Kamat

Northwestern '24

Preeta is a sophomore from Rochester, Michigan studying Neuroscience and Global Health Studies in the seven year med program. When she's not working on school, you can find her on coffee runs, exploring campus with friends, baking, or watching reality TV.
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