Playing Cupid on a Budget

By Arielle Kovalich
Staff Writer

A sigh of relief may be heard around the U.S. now that the Christmas holidays are over, and for January our stress levels may finally be lower. But, one other thing may also be lower: our bank accounts. To top off the money woes that follow the Christmas present bank blast, Valentine’s Day shows up quick enough, and it comes that time to shower that special someone with the perfect gifts…again. Unfortunately we have passed the age where paper valentines and candy hearts don’t count as gifts anymore. Luckily, there are varieties of gifts under 10 dollars to buy for your sweetie this year that will be just as heart-felt, although maybe not as shiny, as a big diamond ring.

Yes, wouldn’t all of us love to see a pretty Tiffany’s box on the special day, or sit down to dinner at a five-star restaurant, but the truth is, if you’re a college student, the odds aren’t in your favor for any of these at this point in your life right now. To be more practical during this bad economy, here are some scaled-down ideas for your romantic holiday.

For girls, we usually want to get a cute gift for our guy, so why not be a little creative? Pick a favorite picture of you and your guy, and make a picture frame or a collage. A trip to a craft store can get you in and out under ten dollars, and printing out a picture doesn’t even cost a whole dollar. Or, if you don’t like reading a million mushy cards in the store, how about just make a card and put the picture inside, so he can display it wherever he chooses.

A second gift that is both inexpensive and delicious is baked goods. There are numerous options for this gift, depending on preference, and all of these yummy treats definitely cost less than ten dollars. Even better, this gift can be shared, so both of you can get enjoyment out of the gift. Try making peanut butter kisses or Valentine’s Day colored M&M cookies to be festive, or there are always brownies or rice krispie treats. Baking could even be incorporated into a group activity for you and your valentine by taking time to prepare something together.

If you’re not much of a cook, you can always opt to buy the classic gift of candy, which is relatively inexpensive, and always delicious. How about a box of Gertrude Hawk Smidgens? They come in a variety of flavors, including peanut butter, raspberry, mint, milk and dark chocolate, and the ever-popular peanut butter. If your Valentine prefers something a little bit healthier, Gertrude Hawk also offers other gourmet treats including chocolate dipped apples, strawberries, and bananas, each under ten dollars.

Everyone loves a movie too, and there are a few options for this gift. A movie ticket to go see one of the lovey-dovey flicks coming out in the near future would be a great gift for a girl, especially with the opening of Dear John this month. In the NEPA area, a matinee ticket is only $6.50 opposed to $8.75 in the evening, so why not venture out a little earlier in the day, or even go to the first show of the day, usually no earlier than 11a.m. for only $5.25. Want to save even more on tickets? Stop by the Student Activities Office with your student ID and take advantage of discounted vouchers for the Cinemark in Moosic. If you’re not up for the movie theater, why not just rent a favorite movie for about $5? You can use the extra $5 for some snacks to share and have a stay-in date as a gift; and cozying up together on the couch beats sitting in stiff movie theater chairs any day.

To top off any of these gifts if you have cash left over, how about adding a single red rose? One rose can range anywhere from 1 to 5 dollars. One rose simply means “I Love You” and is a very romantic gesture, not to mention a good way to say those special three words in a simple way.

Those are just a few gift ideas that may not have a big price tag, but will mean just as much as any other fancy gift. Being creative can make gifts more fun to make, are just as thoughtful, and won’t leave either of you broke for spring break. And don’t forget, a hug and kiss are still free.