33 Creative and Cheap Valentine’s Day Ideas

Valentine's day can be a great chance to reconnect with a loved one. But you don't need to break the bank to do it. Despite what the diamond, chocolate, and rose industries might advertise, it is possible to have a romantic Valentine’s Day without spending a ton of money on your sweetheart. Knowing your sweetheart is the key to providing a romantic, memorable, and inexpensive Valentine’s gift for him or her.

Cheap Valentine’s Day Ideas for Him or Her

1. Acts of Service
Does your loved one hate emptying the dishwasher, taking the car for an oil change or putting away laundry? For Valentine's Day this year, why not surprise them by taking over a chore for them! It’s a little act of romance that will be greatly appreciated.

2. A Comb for his Beard or Mustache
Facial hair is all the rage, these days. Instead of letting your loved one use a cheap comb from the drugstore for his locks, why not buy him a high-quality comb designed for a man's facial hair? The reviews on this one look impressive Beard Comb Kit with Leather Pouch [$12.95]

3. *No Phones* for 24 Hours
Are you the type who is always looking at your phone, even when your significant other is speaking to you? Maybe they've even asked you to stop? If that's the case, which it is for many of us these days, I highly encourage giving your loved one a FULL day, completely detached from your device. The gift of your undivided attention for Valentine’s Day is something they are sure to love.

4. Hand-Written Letter
There is nothing more romantic or touching than when someone writes down on paper how they feel about you. Do this for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day. Tell them exactly what you love and appreciate about them. Nothing says I love you like your own words. *Bonus Idea* Send the letter to Loveland, Colorado where it will be stamped with a special message and mailed directly to your mate. Getting a love letter in the mail would make anyone swoon. Look up “Loveland Remailing Program” or just send your letter to: Postmaster, Valentine Re-Mailing, 446 E. 29th St., Loveland, CO 80538.

5. The Ultimate Love Book
No matter what stage in the relationship you are, it is always a good time to be a better partner. There is a famous book that teaches you how to communicate love. Some of us need love in the form of gifts while others need love in the form of affection. You may think by telling your partner you love them is enough, but if they receive love by acts of service then they won't hear you. I highly recommend reading together The Five Love Languages [$9.95]

6. Secret Notes or Candy
Hide notes or candy hearts where you know your beloved will find them. For instance, you could tape a love note to her steering wheel, slip another one in her wallet, and another onto her toothbrush. Waking up in the morning to find a post-it note on the coffee maker from your loved one saying he loves you is the best 🙂

7. “What I love About You” Book
This is a sweet idea. Just like a little box of pieces of paper that list all the reasons you love someone, there is a book that actually prompts you to fill in the answers. It's a very small book and there are about 50 prompts (i.e., “I love how you BLANK every day;” “I love to watch you BLANK,” etc.). You can make this book funny, serious and romantic, or whatever reflects your relationship: What I love About You [$9.90]

8. Instagram Photo Book
Print an inexpensive photo book of your favorite Instagram moments together. Chatbooks is a great, easy app that accesses your Instagram account directly.

9. Plants!
Look, flowers are great…but succulents are so much better! Consider getting your partner a beautiful succulent that is super easy to maintain and can be enjoyed at the office, kitchen table or wherever is in need of some greenery. This set of 5 on Amazon has high reviews and come fully planted with soil: Fully Rooted Succulents (5 pack) [$15.95]

10. Pre-Order Flowers
That said, flowers are always a treat. If you prefer cut flowers, they are much less expensive if you purchase from a supermarket florist, rather than a stand-alone or online store. You can save even more if you order your supermarket flower arrangement at least two weeks in advance, and pay upfront. Then shop thrift stores, Salvation Army, or Good Will for a special container to use as a vase for the flowers.

11. Eat Edible Flowers
Make “roses” from strawberries with nothing more than a pound of strawberries and some bamboo skewers. If you get some dipping chocolate or whipped cream, you’ve also made yourself a bouquet of dessert.

12. DIY Gift Basket
If you’d like to recreate one of the cute gifts florists also sell, look for Valentine’s Day themed coffee mugs, or red and white (or pink) dishes, and other decorations. Then you can fill the themed dishware with candy or other treats, and wrap with colored cellophane from the dollar store. It’s a lovely Valentine’s gift for less than half the cost from a florist or gift store.

13. Fun Technology Gadget
Valentine's Day is always a good time for a fun technology gift, too. If your sweetheart loves the latest gadgets shop for an Echo Dot. It is reasonably priced and great to hook up to all your smart devices.

Echo Dot Price: $49.99 Echo Dot

Valentines Day Date Ideas

Experience trumps stuff every time. Get out there and live the adventure with your sweetheart with these cheap Valentine's Day ideas.

14. Scavenger Hunt
Create a Valentine’s scavenger hunt, with riddles your sweetheart must answer to reach the next clue.

15. Take a Dance Class!
How often do you take your lady out dancing? Or maybe it's your husband who's more likely to hit the dance floor? Either way, surprising your partner with a Tango, Salsa, Hip Hop, Bachata, etc. class will be a blast! Check Groupon or local dance studios, most offer low-cost (or even free) single two-hour classes. This is a great opportunity to learn something new together.

16. Make a Homemade Meal Together
Sometimes when you're cooking with your loved one, maybe while listening to music and drinking a glass of wine, it can be quite pleasant. You could gather the ingredients, find a recipe and ask him or her to join you at X time in the kitchen. Maybe go for a homemade pizza, or take a stab at lasagna. Don't forget the candlelight 🙂

17. Go on a Picnic
Plan a picnic if the weather is nice. You supply the food and drink and a nice blanket. Find your favorite place and just hang out. (This is obviously only feasible for Texans and other Southerners, or those who have an indoor favorite picnic spot.)

18. Walk or Bike Together
Looking for cheap Valentine’s Day ideas that will help you fit in exercise? Go for a walk or a bike ride. How long has it been since you and your loved one did something active together? If being more active is a goal for your sweetheart, you can give them a fitness tracker on your walk together.

Fitbit Flex 2 Price: $59.95 Fitbit Flex 2

19. Redbox Movie Night
Plan a movie night at home. Get free movies with Redbox using their codes, or just pay $1.50. Add some popcorn and some candy for a traditional movie date.

20. Library Movie Night
Instead of Redbox, check out the romantic movies available at your local library. You can find some of the great old romances from the golden age of film at the library—which you certainly cannot find at Redbox. For instance, look for:

  • Casablanca
  • An Affair to Remember
  • It Happened One Night
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • Bringing Up Baby
  • The Lady Eve

If your Valentine loves to take a weekly trip to the library an e-reader is also a great gift! Many libraries are moving toward more electronic resources, making an e-reader a book lover's necessity.

Kindle E-reader Price: $79.99 Kindle E-reader

21. Dine Out On the Cheap
Go out to eat. No, I don’t mean having a ridiculously expensive Valentine’s dinner–but if you are sold on the romantic Valentine’s meal out, there are ways to be a frugal diner:

  • Use the tricks you’ve learned to save money when dining out.
  • White Castle has the classic dinner for two—great for a date night. An added bonus is that it will make you feel like a love-struck (and cash-strapped) teenager again.
  • Try having Valentine’s lunch or breakfast out, rather than dinner.
  • Skip dinner and go out for coffee and dessert at a very upscale restaurant.

22. Become a “Local Tourist”
Discover your city. Spend the day visiting local landmarks and museums. As far as cheap Valentine’s Day ideas go, this one can be very inexpensive if you avoid tourist traps and focus on learning about your city.

23. Bring Hot Chocolate
Depending on where you live and the weather in your area, plan a day outside. Go ice-skating and carry a thermos of hot chocolate.

Valentine’s Day Gifts and Activities for Kids

If you're like me, you've got kids to think about on this holiday too. Here are a few fun and cheap Valentine's Day ideas and activities for kids.

24. Card Packs for the Classroom
The yearly Valentine exchange in the primary school classroom is an important part of American childhood. Luckily, classroom packs of Valentine’s cards are inexpensive, and they often include a card for the teacher. What gets expensive are all the other expectations for Valentine’s Day in kid world. Here are some ways to lower those costs.

Kids Valentine Treats Price: $14.99 Kids Valentine Treats

25. Homemade Treats
Make cookies or cupcakes at home instead of getting the Valentine treats from the bakery. You can easily make heart-shaped cupcakes in a regular muffin tin even if you do not have any themed cookie cutters or baking pans.

Fill your cupcake liners in the muffin tin with batter as usual, but then place a marble between the liner and the tin for each cupcake. The marble makes the cupcake bake into a heart shape.

26. Printable Cards
If your kids want to make their own cards, but you don’t already have a stash of craft supplies and construction paper, you can print out Valentines. See this list from PopSugar. These can be printed in black-and-white for your kids to color in, or in color if they’d like to just cut them out.

27. Dollar Store Bag O' Balloons
Showering your kids with balloons doesn’t mean you have to buy mylar balloons with licensed characters. Instead, get a dollar bag of latex balloons and blow them all up for a fun-filled party. You can fill each balloon with confetti (which you can make with old magazines and a hole punch) so your kids can have the fun of popping them. Consider placing a love note in each balloon. If you must have balloons that float on their own, some party stores and dollar stores will blow up latex balloons for a small fee.

28. Dollar Store Stuffed Animal
As far as cheap Valentine’s Day ideas go, this one is a no-brainer. A small stuffed animal from the dollar store works just as well as the high-priced toy from gift shops or toy stores. Your child will never know the difference.

29. Valentine's Day Games
The gift of time means more than material goods ever could. Create a long-lasting Valentine memory by playing a love-themed game with your child. Some games your children will love include:

30. At-Home Restaurant
Create a restaurant at home. Get the whole family involved in making a romantic meal. The children can create menus, decorate the “bistro,” and help with the cooking. They can also pretend to be the server.

31. Love Centerpiece
Make a love centerpiece. Fill a vase with pebbles, sand, or beans, and place several small branches in it. Cut hearts out of paper, and write things you love about each other on each one, then tape them to the branches.

32. Valentine's Day Library Visit
Head to the library before the big day and check out books about Valentine’s Day to read together. Your local library is also a great source for cheap Valentine’s Day ideas and activities so talk to a librarian to see what else may be going on.

33. Poster Board Valentine
Create a huge poster board Valentine, using candy bars as your adjectives.

Check out more cheap Valentine's Day ideas in this funny video by What the Fain:

 

It really is what is in your heart that counts. Count your dollars saved as part of helping keep your budget in line while making Valentine’s Day special. The values you teach your children about sharing without overspending is an act of love, as is keeping your budget healthy for both you and your sweetie.

What awesome cheap Valentine's Day idea have you done?

Need more ideas? See more Valentine's Day savings and sales.

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About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a former English teacher and respected personal finance blogger. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her engineer husband and two high-energy little boys. She has written four books: The Five Years Before You Retire, Choose Your Retirement, Making Social Security Work For You, and End Financial Stress Now. Emily's thoughts on parenting and life in general are found at The SAHMnambulist.

Comments

  1. Horrible cheesy OBVIOUS ideas! It appears you lack creativity and compiled several of your ideas from other pages also. AND – What a joke! Go to the library and get a free movie? What is this the 1986 Popcorn and Movie Day from grade school? Your ideas suck. Oh sure come on babe lets go to the local drug store and read each other a card then put them back on the shelf and leave??!?!?!? WHAT? I could right 50 better ideas off the top of my head. Maybe you should hire me to write for you so the other 98% of your readers who agree with me come back…. I may not.

    Bet you won’t approve this comment because you wouldn’t want any bad comments that are TRUE.

    • JW,

      Do you know what this blog is about? It’s seems to me that its about doing more with less. I came to this site for good ideas. They may be cheesy but if we and our spouses accept living a bit frugal and still enjoy each other, then great for us. Remember, Valentine’s isn’t about giving all your money to a company to show your significant other your feelings, it’s about showing your love or feelings. Money doesn’t need to be spent to do this.

      I’d really enjoy seeing some of your great suggestions. Maybe I will follow your blog also. It doesn’t appear that you have a blog that adds to our lives. Be creative like the rest of us are trying to do with our lives.

      By the way, this is not my blog so maybe I’m being too negative myself. Love to hear your positive suggestions.

    • Philip Taylor says:

      Sorry we disappointed, JW. I hope you got a Valentine.

  2. Tissue King says:

    Make Valentine’s an everyday event and you never have to worry about that special day. What I saying is treat your spouse special everyday. I haven’t celebrated Valentine’s once in my 20 years of marriage.

    • Love your comment! My husband and I have almost been married 10 years, and we really don’t do “Valentine’s Day” – it’s a Hallmark holiday. We end up spending the evening with our kids doing something special at home. I feel sorry for those who wait until a special day- Anniversary or V-Day to wait for the love to be shown. I also feel bad for the husbands of those wives, who feel they deserve something. I am happily married and my husband & kids are enough for me. My husband and I have always made sure to do something or say something nice everyday. (even when we are mad-he will still come by, pinch my booty, and tell me I’m gorgeous!

  3. Quick Loans says:

    Sit on the couch, start cute little talks, reminisce your happy moments, plan your future, set relationship goals,… And say heartwarming words that you do not say to your partner in an ordinary day…. Don’t forget kisses and hugs…

  4. great ideas, I will take my sweetheart to dinner and in meantime i will place Little Love Notes on pillow to read them when we return, thanks for idea.

  5. Kimberly Sturgis says:

    I say; “think love” “think fun” “think relaxing/hold each others hand for a few”, act giddy..get dressed up& just go bowling!..go back home/relax for an hour then back out again&stopto a pub for a quick drink,play a $2 game of Keno while playing both of your favorite song on the jukebox&shoot a game of pool while flurting&being lovey the whole time because how often do we get a chance to just be together&have NO plans?so get dressed&have a happy/relaxing funtime w/the person that wants2be with you today,theyr obviously your love&your friend..Kim Sturgis_Muskegon,MI..

  6. Fred finance says:

    Large list, I like the idea of giving cards in the shop saves a unnecessary expense!

  7. planetbake says:

    Wow this is really amazing concept.

  8. Matthew Coan says:

    I use my credit card rewards points every Valentines Day. This way I can still do something nice and I dont have to worry about it impacting my budget.

  9. Kanwal Sarai says:

    These are great frugal tips!

  10. My mom used to write our Valentine’s out on huge poster board using candy bars as adjectives. Pretty awesome idea.

  11. AverageJoeMoney says:

    Remember the most romantic part of the White Castle dinner for two: the sexy “feed each other Tums” dessert. Yum!