Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas on a College Budget

The day that filled with love and romance is filled in the air, yet the peak time for merchants to generate profit is about to arrive at the same time. Step into any supermarket or department stores nearby, you will experience massive attack by teddy bears, chocolates, and red-colored ribboned boxes.

Put the symbolic meaning of Valentine’s Day aside, the commercial hype of this holiday has been widely recognized among the consumers. To dig out the consumption status that this holiday brings up, I would love to share a few interesting blogs. The first one is an 2015 data analysis from the U.S. News. According to this blog, “The average person celebrating Feb. 14 will shell out $142.31”. In addition, the average expenditure for guys is around $190.53, while ladies will spend $96.58 on gifts.

Where the money goes? I doubt for the same question as well. Still, according to the same article, the first things you happened to bombarded in the entry of the supermarkets or department stores are probably the things you will purchase for the significant others.

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The second blog implies the impact of Valentine’s day buying epic. In the name of love, consumers are playing the role of economic catalyst at the same time. This year will be a record-high in terms of Valentine’s Day expenditure, based on the analysis of National Retail Federation. The CEO of NRF indicated that “Valentine’s Day could provide a positive boost in spending our economy needs”. 

While helping out the president and the retail industry to stimulate economic growth, Let’s take college students into account. According to the CollegeBoard, the average undergrad student (in-state public school) budget is around $24,061, and $2005/ month. Break it down into details, majority of our expenditure goes to tuition, apartment renting, books and transportation. It is easy to imagine how hard it is to squeeze some dollars for the Valentine’s gift.


Relate this to my personal experience, even though I am not a crafty girl or a great idea maker, I normally choose to DIY things by myself and give away to families and friends, instead of spending money on buying gifts. It is necessary to shout out our love to our beloved ones, but the price tag of the present? It is not all that matters about Valentine’s Day.

For this Valentine’s Day, I choose to go with home-made sushi for my friends.

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First of all, let’s take a look at the ingredients you might nee:



Price Where to Buy
Rice 1 Bowl 10.47 Grocery
Instant Sushi Seasoning 1 Bag 4.98 Amazon
Cucumber 2~4 Slices 0.99 Grocery
Imitation Crab Meat 2~4 Slices 7.99 Hana Market
Mayonnaise 2~3 Teaspoons 9.99 Grocery
Nori 1 Sheet 3.99 Grocery

Total: 35.41

Second;y, the equipments:

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Bamboo mat

And finally, my secret customized recipe.:


  1. Lay a bamboo mat on the table, grab a nori seaweed sheet and put it on the mat.
  2. Get your hand wet, use your hand to take some pre-seasoned rice and lay it on the seaweed sheet, gently spread it out.
  3. Grab 2 slices of crab imitations, 2 slices of cucumber, put them on the top of the rice.
  4. Now we will start to roll: Start from one-end of the seaweed sheet, use the mat to slowly roll to the other end of the sheet.
  5. Dip your hand with water, apply some on the edge of the nori sheet to seal the roll.
  6. Hold the roll for a few seconds to make sure it is firmly sticked together.
  7. Use a knife to slice the roll into smaller pieces, put them into a container.


The total expenditure for making this gift is around $35, and it took me only an hour for the whole process. This is my second try yet it turned out to be very tasty.

Last but not the least, Happy Valentine’s Day and try celebrate on your college budget:)

*Share an interesting blog


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