You just recovered from spending money on Christmas presents and a pile of textbooks for the new semester. It could be so easy to start saving up for Spring Break but then the aisles start filling up with chocolates, teddy bears and a whole lot of pink: It’s Valentine’s Day! Another occasion where hardly any excuses will be accepted if you miss it, do not have a present or at least a card. So before you start re-gifting Christmas presents, look at our gift ideas that will help you shine on Valentine’s Day – without breaking the bank and eating ramen noodles for the next few weeks.

Do It Yourself

Remember when you were a kid and macaroni necklaces seemed like a perfect gift for anyone? Well, there is only a small window in your childhood when you can get away with that but even as a grown up, nothing shows more that you care than a homemade present. Depending on your crafting skills you can make, draw, or paint something. Old photos, ticket stubs, a few drawings or stickers and a lot of glue can work magic! Look here for some great inspiration

If you don’t feel very crafty, why not make a mix CD or a play list with your favorite songs?

Write (The Old School Way)
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Not everyone is a poet or can keep up with Shakespeare but why not try to put your feelings on an actual piece of paper? Handwritten letters or cards can go a very long way in a time of emails, status updates, tweets and texts.
Post-its hidden in the apartment of your significant other will make for romantic surprises way past Valentine’s Day!

Who Doesn’t Like Coupons?
Handmade coupons or vouchers are another inexpensive idea – they can be used for those dreaded chores nobody likes or more fun activities the two of you can enjoy together. After all, no present will be more valuable than spending time together.

Kiss The Cook
Instead of trying to make a reservation at a restaurant and risking having to eat dinner at 4pm because that was the only time available, a homemade meal will be cheaper, more relaxed and more fun. If you can’t cook or bake you can always check out the deli section of your grocery store, ask for help from a roommate or cook together with your significant other. Cooking is one of those activities where a little effort can go a long way: Even if you just spice up food from the freezer or the store- a little personal touch will show that you care. Add some candles and “real” napkins and it will be better and more personal than any restaurant. Depending on the meal, why not have a picnic on the living room floor? And instead of going outside and standing in line for a movie, you can just hit play and your favorite flick will start playing right when you serve the (homemade) chocolate covered strawberries.

Isabelle Mitchell is from Switzerland (not Sweden). She loves coffee and chocolate and she can talk about movies and the weather for a very long time. Isabelle went to Film School in Denmark and Canada and is a Sound Designer, but she’s currently working on getting her BS in Advertising at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (Online Division). She’s planning on slowly taking over the advertising world one tagline at a time. When she’s not doing homework or studying, she works as a Marketing Assistant. You can find her on Twitter @isabellesagt or if you have a longer attention span, her blog.