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How to Give your BFF an Amazing Birthday – On a Budget

Let’s be honest – your bff deserves a BMW, Louis Vuittons, and a tiara for her birthday – but on a college student budget you can pretty much only afford half a tank of gas, worn out Converse from Goodwill, and some confetti. Here are some ways you can make her feel as special as she deserves on her special day without breaking the bank. 

1. Surprise her with small gifts throughout the day – especially in the A.M.

This is an especially great tip for roommates. Wake up a few minutes early, run down to Starbucks and bring back an iced coffee for your bestie to enjoy right when she wakes up. It costs only a few dollars (a few more if you get one for yourself, too), and will totally make her day. Another great “wake up” gift is balloons, streamers, or decorations – decorate her room while she’s asleep or in class, and she’ll be surprised and excited when she sees it.

2. Homemade cake

This one’s a no-brainer – everyone loves cake. You can buy a cake mix and a jar of frosting for around $3.50, OR, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can make a homemade cake. It’s super easy and the ingredients all together will still only cost you around $5-10 dollars. For an extra touch, dye some frosting a fun color and write her name on the cake.

3. Balloons/Flowers 

Another way to make her feel special is to have a small gift delivered to her at school or work. Balloons, flowers, chocolates – it doesn’t matter what it is, and to save $$ you can deliver it yourself or have another friend do it. 

4. “Things I appreciate about you”

This suggestion works best with someone you know super well, like your best friend or your significant other. Make a list of the things you love or appreciate about the other person according to the age they are turning (turning 22 = 22 things I love about you). You can either give them the list, handwritten or printed, or send them individual messages throughout the day (depending on the person – some people definitely do not want to be spammed with 22 texts throughout the day).


5. Dinner

Make sure her day ends on a positive note by getting together for dinner. This certainly does not have to mean going out for steak, lobster, and fancy cocktails – you can spend $7 on 12 tacos from Taco Bell and a few Mountain Dew Baja Blasts, $8 on some cheap rum or vodka, and honestly have way more fun than going out somewhere fancy. Make her feel special any way you can, she’ll love you for the effort regardless of how much you spend!

Katrina Hicks

Northwestern '19

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