The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Valentine’s gift guide on a budget

Because finding that special something on a student budget is never easy

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Valentine’s Day can be quite tricky when it comes to deciding on presents for your significant other. With it being so soon after Christmas, it can be hard to think of an original and unique gift idea, and finding the funds for said gift can also be problematic. So here’s some inspiration and potential gift ideas to surprise your loved one, without breaking the bank.

Gifts for Her

Candles are always a nice present to receive. With Christmas now being over, it’s time to banish the cinnamon and peppermint scents until next year and replace them with something fresh. There are of course Yankee candles, however others such as Urban Outfitters, Anthropology and even supermarkets like Marks & Spencer have their own range of uniqu, and intricately decorated candles starting from £5.

The most on-trend gift idea, this year, is an adult colouring book. These can be so calming and brilliant for relieving any of that niggling post-exam stress! With an abundance of themes such as enchanted forests, mandalas, travel landmarks and even Harry Potter, these can be found at most major book retailers and start from only £3.

Photo: The Works

Photo: The Works

Finally, everyone needs a place to keep their jewellery, so trinket or ring storage can also make a lovely gift. Urban Outfitters, in particular, have some beautiful and individual designs, ranging from ceramic trinket bowls to copper tortoise jewellery storage, which are generally under £12.

Gifts for Him

For men, washing and bathing gift sets are always a good option. Boots stock a huge range of branded gift sets, from Ted Baker to Jack Wills which can include body washes, body sprays and anti-perspirants for very reasonable prices. It can also be worth browsing the “male grooming” section of department stores such as Debenhams and House of Fraser whose post-Christmas sales are still ongoing.

A slightly more original gift idea is a ‘grow-your-own’ kit. Believe it or not, there are so many things you can grow even in student accommodation: bonsai trees, chilli peppers, green tea, coffee plants. Available from places such as notonthehighstreet.com, prezzybox and also Urban Outfitters, they usually sell for around £10.

Photo: amazon.co.uk

Photo: amazon.co.uk

For a super budget-friendly and more creative option, you could make your own hamper including all of his favourite sweets, snacks and potentially alcohol. Decorate an old shoe box with tissue or wrapping paper and fill it with treats. Many low budget shops, such as Poundland, stock quality brands, including Cadburys and Thorntons, for a fraction of the supermarket price; allowing you to fill your hamper for less!

DIY

Ultimately, the best way to stay low-budget is to pick a DIY option. Whether it’s making an old-school mix CD or framing a photo of you two together, gifting something handmade can often mean so much more (and cost much less!).

Another creative idea is making tokens for your partner. Include tokens for things which you maybe begrudge slightly but they love, e.g. token for a back massage or token to watch Mean Girls (again). Using coloured paper and metallic pens could make them look even more special.

Glass mason jars are a DIY-ers heaven. Try filling one with hot chocolate powder and mini marshmallows, for a DIY movie treat. You could also include their favourite DVDs or an Alphabet mug from Next or Debenhams.

Photo: sanakeefer@Flickr

Photo: sanakeefer@Flickr

For Friends 

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to specifically be for couples, you could also choose to share the love with your friends, your mum, your flatmates or anyone else you just want to spoil. A ‘secret cupid’ could also be a great way of giving the gift of love to single friends this Valentine’s day.

Personalised Nutella jars, available from Selfridges, are an ideal present for anyone with a love for hazelnuts (or who just wants to make it clear that that is their jar of Nutella, nobody else’s). However, if you’re more of a savoury spread fan then Marmite are also offering a personalisation service. Although they warn that requests for cringeworthy pet names such as “Bae” and “babycakes” will be duly denied.

Photo: Marmite Facebook

Photo: Marmite Facebook

For artsy or creative friends, Urban Outfitters provide a brilliant variety of innovative books, including “Cakeology”, “Tequila Mockingbird” and “642 Tiny Things to Draw”: This February, spend less time sniffling over a lack of Valentine’s cards and more time on artsy activities.