Budgeting, Managing your money

Valentines Gifts on a Budget

Kate, Student Intern shares 10 DIY Valentine’s treats to share with loved ones without breaking the bank…

Love is in the air, but for us students that doesn’t mean money magically appears from the air as well!

There’s no need to spend a fortune on cards, flowers and gifts; here are some meaningful Valentine’s gift ideas that are sure to mean more than a box of chocolates.


Jar of Love

This is a really simple idea that is all about love, love and more love. Soak a glass jam jar in hot water and peel off the label. And then fill the jar with small pieces of paper with all the reasons you love your special person.

From your favourite memories with them or the small things that they might not even notice they do. This jar is also free to make (if you eat jam…) but is priceless. You could even give the jar a makeover to make it even more special.

Date night jar

Do you have the weekly struggle of what to do for date night or weekend plans? Look no further! This jar can be filled with coloured lollipop sticks, each different colour will represent three different price categories of your choice, for example free dates, dates under £10 and then expensive dates for when you and your bank account are feeling adventurous. On the lollipop sticks write the date ideas and then when you both get stuck for ideas of what to do reach into the jar and pick a lollipop stick of your colour choice and boom, you have yourselves a date.

Mix tapes

Cue the cheesy ‘standing outside your window holding a boom box playing your favourite songs to you’ moment. This is a classic idea for your loved one, but also one that will be a lot of sentiment and meaning.

You could even make each other Spotify playlists so they can listen to the mix tape on the go. This is a free gift but if picked correctly each song will hold memories and emotions that money couldn’t buy.


Letters to be opened when…

This gift may not be for them to open straight away but instead to be opened when certain events happen. These letters may be for when the person needs a laugh or is upset, and you can write a letter to do that in case you aren’t available at the time. Other letters could be for anniversaries or Valentine’s Days in future years. The letters are for you to choose and the amount of options are endless. Try and personalise the cards by adding photos if you’re talking about memories or cards for specific occasions e.g. valentines. These letters will be treasured for ever by your loved ones.


Make a cake

Who doesn’t love cake? Am I right? If you are feeling creative and want to practice your Great British Bake Off skills then why not bake a cake for your Valentine! You could even make a heart-shaped red velvet cake to stick to the whole Valentine’s Day theme. This is a cheap and yummy way to show your affection.


Handmade card

Forget about buying a 99p card from the local shop, get your creative juices flowing and the glitter out. Whether you want to make a massive card with love hearts on and a cute hand drawn teddy bear or a card full of photos of your favourite memories together, this year add some extra love into the day by hand-making them a card.


Breakfast in bed

Pop down to the shops and grab the essentials for a classic breakfast in bed. Whether that’s a vegan special of scrambled tofu on crumpets or a full English breakfast, your Valentines date will appreciate an extra lie-in and waking up to the sweet smell of food being cooked for them.

Hand-painted mug

Does your loved one live off caffeine like so many of the student population? Why not make them a hand painted mug so that every morning they wake up slowly using your valentines gift! Buy a plain mug and draw on it with a sharpie paint pen, let the sharpie dry completely then bake it in a hot over for 30-45 mins and you have yourself a personalised mug.  (These aren’t dishwasher friendly, so to those lucky students who have a dishwasher, refrain from putting these mugs in them!)


Notebook for the future

Buy a cheap notebook and decorate it with pictures and glue. Then inside the first page explain that this notebook is for all the future memories that you spend together. This by the end of the year will be filled with the funny, mad, weird and wonderful moments you have spent together and next Valentine’s Day, you can sit and read through them all.

Personalised photo frame

Finally, one for all you photo fans. Buy a plain photo frame and decorate it to make it personal for you and your Valentine. Then place your favourite photo in the frame and you have yourself a cheap and meaningful present that your loved one will see every day.


Good luck making your perfect gift!

And there we have it, 10 cheap Valentines Day treats to save all you students from turning up empty-handed on Valentine’s day. Sometimes thoughtful gifts mean the world to people – more in fact than expensive gifts!

Have a lovely Valentine’s day, whether you spend it with your friends, family or partner.


Contact Advice & Money for advice on housing and finance

Student Support Services at Cardiff University are here to help you, please drop in or contact us should you have any questions.

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Your feedback and help please

Have you found this blog post useful?  Please help us by commenting in the comments bar below, and  if there is anything further you’d like to know ask your questions there too.

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Best wishes,

Kate, Student Intern.


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