Valentine’s Day gift guide for students on a budget

Please your partner without breaking the bank


Joann JEZEBEL - CC by 2.0

Cupcakes are tiny tasty treats. Seasonal cupcakes located at your local cupcake shops new Arden-Arcade and Midtown Sacramento.

Ruby Pineda

When we think of Valentine’s Day gifts we immediately think of jewelry, oversized teddy bears and expensive dinners. With the holiday only a few days away, plan ahead with a nice affordable way to surprise your partner.

Gifts under $5

DIY Deck of love cards

All the items needed to make this gift can be found at your nearby dollar store. This gift will require a deck of cards, construction paper, markers or pens, scissors and glue. First, cut 52 small squares of construction paper. Write special reasons why you love your partner on the squares. Paste them onto the back of each playing card. On the Joker card, paste a piece of construction paper and write “52 Reasons I love you.” Feel free to decorate the deck of your cards creatively.

Photo Courtesy of Davit Velasco
Deck of love cards: 52 Reasons I love you, easy to make and affordable. A fun gift to give your partner on Valentine’s Day.

DIY Collage of Pictures

Print photos using a color printer or a photo printer at your nearest photo processing center. Depending on the number of photos you decide to print it’ll cost you roughly 50 cents to $2. Next, cut the photos into your desired design. You can transform your photos into any shape or letter you’d like.

Heart-shaped Rice Krispies Treats

Making Rice Krispies Treats is quite easy! You will only need three ingredients and about 15 minutes of prep time. You will need 1 box of Rice Krispies cereal, 1 bag of marshmallows and 3 tablespoons of butter. Melt the butter in a pot and add the bag of marshmallows. Slowly stir in 4 cups of cereal and mix. Place the sticky cereal onto a pan and let cool. Cut into desired heart sizes. Use frosting to decorate fun colors and designs.

Gifts under $10

Room décor with balloons

What’s more romantic than your partner coming home to their room decorated with balloons? Print out cute photos and attach them to the balloon strings. Use heart-shaped balloons or red balloons that can be purchased at Party City or the Dollar Store. For extra room décor, purchase red roses and spread rose petals along the bed or the bedroom floor.


Gather some sugar, chocolate and eggs and bake some cupcakes together. If you aren’t much of a baker, you can spend a few more bucks for a tasty treat. There are a couple cupcake shops in the Sacramento that have special flavors and accommodate most diets.

  1. Located in Arden-Arcade, Cupcake Craving has unique flavors such as ”Chocolate Bliss” and “Monkey Mania.” Each cupcake costs $2.75. Cupcake Craving is at 2100 Arden Way, Suite 169.  
  2. Icing on a Cupcake is located in midtown and each cupcake costs $3.25. This shop has a variety of seasonal cupcakes, like “Pinkdelicious” and “Death by Chocolate.” Icing on a Cupcake is at 1730 J St., Suite A. Grab some for your favorite person the day before to avoid long lines.

Basket of mason jars

Mason jars can serve many different purposes and can be quite handy for a love basket. Make a small basket full of mason jars that have candies or other small items a special someone might enjoy. You can attach cute notes like “kisses for when I’m gone” in a jar full of Hershey’s Kisses. Mason jars can be found any dollar store. Decorate the basket and jars creatively and include a handmade card for an extra sweet boost.

Photo Courtesy of Davit Velasco
Mason jar full of Hershey Kisses. Add a fun note and give it as an affordable gift on Valentine’s Day.

Under $20

Homemade Dinners

Making dinner reservations for Valentine’s day can be quite stressful. Most restaurants are overbooked and dinner at a nice restaurant can be quite costly. Cooking a dinner at home can be much easier on your bank account and can oftentimes be less stressful. Pasta dinners are easy and are best paired with a glass of wine. Use your romantic muse to decorate and set your table and the mood for dinner. Try cooking together with your partner for a more intimate night.

Groupon vouchers

Still want to take your favorite person out on a date and not much of a chef? Search on Groupon for a voucher to local restaurants. Groupon offers vouchers at affordable prices to nearby eateries as well as dessert places! Sign up as a student and receive an extra 25% off. Groupon also offers vouchers for things to do such as paint and wine classes, cooking classes, bowling, etc.

Don’t let Valentine’s day be a stressful holiday, take time to show gratitude to those you love without breaking the bank. Be creative and think outside the box when expressing love for your significant others. Still stumped on a gift idea? Check out Pinterest for more inspiration.