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, but you could open a savings account and start saving money now. 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.
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. “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]
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. 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]
5. Whiskey Stones
Does your partner like a stiff drink? Well don’t let ice cubes water down their drink! Get them whiskey stones for Valentine’s Day, perhaps along with their favorite bottle 🙂 Whiskey stones are stored in the freezer so they are nice and cold by the time you’re ready for a drink. These sets are relatively cheap, maybe try this one: Whiskey Stone Gift Set [$7.95]
6. Plants for the Kitchen or Office
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]
7. 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.
8. 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 🙂
9. A Comb for his Beard or Mustache
Does your man have a beard? Instead of letting him 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]
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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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