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Life > Experiences

A Broke Girl’s Guide to Gifts

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Pinterest awakens the inner DIY enthusiast in all of us. While we all see those hilarious Pinterest fails and can too often relate, Pinterest serves as the perfect guide to semi-homemade gifts on a budget. Here’s how you can use Pinterest to your advantage when looking to give a great gift on a college budget: 

Step 1: The Idea

AKA: the browsing Pinterest stage. My boyfriend and I are long distance, so I knew right away that I wanted to go for the care package idea. This way, just in case we couldn’t see each other I could mail it instead. Pinterest is flooded with tons of care package ideas. Find one that fits your relationship or fits your significant others personality. My boyfriend is really into lifting, so when I saw a hulk themed package I knew it was the one. I also jokingly call him the hulk so I knew he would totally appreciate the idea. Sure, the minion care package is adorable, but it doesn’t mean anything to my boyfriend and I. Pick an idea that means something to you.

Step 2: The Planning

I think this is where a lot of Pinterest projects go wrong. You don’t have to follow what you see in the picture to the T. Adapt what you see to what works for you. The picture is a great idea base, but adding the personal touch is what matters. I began by brainstorming things that fit into my “hulk” theme. Obviously, anything green or fitness related would work. I also tailored my items to stores I knew would be on campus. It’s a little difficult to plan to buy a hulk action figure when there are no toy stores around. Keep in mind things that you already have in your room as well!

Step 3: The Shopping

This can either be the best or worst part of the whole project. I went to my local Walmart to begin my adventure. The box itself only cost about 50 cents. I pretty much went up and down each isle looking for anything that would work and that was under $5. Food wise, I bought double stuff Oreos, peanut butter and chocolate among an array of other small things. I added in some more practical items as well. I bought some five hour energy shots and travel size deodorants and shampoos. I really wanted green Gatorade but that was much harder to find. I ended up having to go to Target to buy a bottle. My best steal was a reusable water bottle that was on clearance for 88 cents. I skipped on buying a card and I hand made a card instead. Do they really even read the card anyway? And do you really want to spend another $5 on a card when you can just write “Happy Anniversary” on a piece of paper? In total, I spent about $30 on everything. I do have to admit that my boyfriend has a serious addiction to tank tops, and I did splurge on buying one online from Under Armour.

Part 4: The Assembling

Putting it all together is always my favorite part! I already had packaging tape and green construction paper, as well as access to a color printer where I printed out some little pictures of the Hulk. I cut out my pictures and cut my construction paper to fit the flaps of my box and taped everything into place. I wrote funny little sayings on the flaps like in the Pinterest photo. Then, I just dumped everything into the box! It doesn’t have to take you long to assemble everything. If you’re a perfectionist like me, keep telling yourself “they’re going to rip it all apart in 5 seconds anyway!”

Part 5: The Reveal

I kept the box sealed up and I did not write anything on the outside of the box. Nonchalantly I told my boyfriend that my mom sent me a package and I asked him if he wouldn’t mind opening it to hand me something that was in there. I didn’t specifically plan for it to unfold this way, but when he opened the first flap it said “Bro, do you even lift?” and the next flap said “Get bulk like Hulk”. The construction paper and photos did crumble a little bit once it was folded, but it totally wasn’t close to making the Pinterest fail list.

A gift on a budget only needs one thing- some thought. Your significant other doesn’t care what the number on the register says (even though it might be all you’re worried about!). Honestly, I think my boyfriend was more interested in the hulk photos stuck to the box. What can you find on Pinterest to spark your next project? Check out another one of my cheap gift alternatives on my personal Pinterest account here!

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