Romantic, creative or extravagant ... it’s on you to find unique Valentine’s Day gifts every February – to come up with new ideas to meet the expectations of your sweetheart. If you’re like most people – male or female – you’re often stumped. or at least you wouldn’t mind a few suggestions (especially cheap Valentine gift ideas).
If you’re open to a new round of fun gifts for your partner, read on. Valentine’s Day is all about showing affection and appreciation to the one you love, but you’re probably interested in saving some money too. Here are 14 inexpensive ways to say “I love you” this Valentine’s Day.
Breakfast in Bed
Begin your morning by cooking your partner a yummy breakfast and serve it up in bed, because it’s one of the easiest ways to say I love you in a practical way. Taste of Home magazine has a list of top-rated breakfast recipes so your Valentine can sample a first-time effort:
• Blueberry French Toast – A Minnesota blueberry grower shared a recipe that one reader said was the best breakfast food she’s ever eaten. The combination of white bread cubes and squares of cream cheese form the base, and a mixture of eggs, milk and syrup are poured over the top. You bake it the next day and serve it with a blueberry sauce.
• True Belgian Waffles – The best thing about Belgian waffles is that you can choose your favorite topping: powdered sugar or whipped cream with fried apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or something else.
• Amish Breakfast Casserole – You don’t have to live on the farm to appreciate a hearty breakfast. Taste of Home selected this modified recipe from an Amish Inn for its ease. It has just 7 ingredients including bacon, cheese, Swiss cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, sweet onion and frozen hash browns.
• Fluffy Pancakes – We’ve all made pancakes, but this Virginia family recipe rises to a level above most. The balance of power between the baking powder and salt creates a noticeable fluff factor.
• Oven Denver Omelet – There’s no standing over a hot stove when you bake your omelets. This egg dish comes from Taneytown, Maryland, not Denver, but has the requisite ham, green bell pepper and onions.
• Fruity Baked Oatmeal – If your loved one likes when you put the “sweet” into “sweetheart,” he or she may like a nice, homemade breakfast bar. This winning recipe includes fresh or frozen peaches, blueberries and tart apples sweetened with brown sugar and held together with oats.
Homemade Coupon Book
If you’ve ever received a handmade coupon from your mom, child or a loved one, you know the lasting effect it has for the recipient. Bring back the joy with a custom, updated promise book for your Valentine. Imagine the possibilities – you can fill this book with creative ways to say I love you throughout the year.
Is he active? Every page can offer another challenge. You can plan/register the two of you for:
• Iron Man competition
• Charity obstacle course
• Half Dome ascent
• National Parks tour
Is she a foodie? Consider a home-cooked dinner with delicacies like scallop sashimi, a standing rib roast or pork rillette hand pies. Don’t forget the champagne.
If money’s an issue, you can fill an entire coupon book with free offers. Promise your partner neck massages, foot rubs or washing the car. You can create pages for various chores such as reloading the dishwasher or schlepping the kids to after school activities.
You’d be hard pressed to find cheap Valentine gift ideas to rival this one.
Donate Your Vehicle
The spirit of Valentine’s Day is love, and there’s no better way to express that emotion than by giving. Donating your vehicle through Cars2Charities is a way to send some love to the charity of your choice.
Do you just LOVE your kids’ school? When you donate a car to charity the proceeds can go to the PTA if you choose. If you’ve tried to think of ways to say I love you as a reward for the service of a favorite organization, you can make a car donation to charity and throw them your support.
Most nonprofits rely on gifts in order to survive, and if you don’t have a lot of expendable income to simply write checks, you can transfer the value of a vehicle you don’t need and put money into their programs.
Hide Love Notes
You don’t have to be in elementary school to appreciate messages in your lunch bag. You can strategically place notes in his or her coat pockets or dresser drawers – let them count the ways you love them. In fact, you can start early and brainstorm ways to say I love you and leave a note-a-day with a separate sentiment on each one.
When Matt Killingsworth was doing his Ph.D. research at Harvard, he designed an app to gather data on happiness. He determined, among other things, that “a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”
His conclusion is very simple – we’re typically happier when we’re lost in the moment, and by contrast, when our minds wander, the less happy we can be. If you look around you will find the same statements from such sources as Deepak Chopra, who says that present-moment awareness gives you better control.
Philosophers and psychologists agree that being fully present instead of dwelling on past failures or future expectations will give you better opportunity for connection. But with busy lives, it’s easy to forget that principle.
When it comes to Valentine gift ideas for him or her, aside from expensive jewelry or travel tickets, simply “being completely there” is a good start.
Mail a Letter
Nothing says I love you like an old-fashioned, handwritten letter – to send your significant other either at work or at home. In a world of email, text messaging and voicemail, there’s a certain elegance to the effort of the snail mail system.
And talk about cheap Valentine gift ideas! All you need is a pen, paper, an envelope and a stamp. You do need some forethought, of course, because it can take a few days for delivery.
As an extra fun idea, you can forego the roll of flag stamps and order a special one. The Post Office considers postage stamps miniature works of art and is always rolling out new designs. “From legendary poet Walt Whitman to the entertainment genius of Gregory Hines to the majestic beauty of our Wild and Scenic Rivers, this program is diverse and wide ranging and tells America’s story on stamps,” said U.S. Postal Service Stamp Services Executive Director Mary-Anne Penner.
It's a way to customize fun gifts for your partner, whether you mail cards or letters. If he or she is a musician you can buy the Marvin Gaye stamp or the one commemorating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. Is your beloved a veteran? How about the USS Missouri stamp? Or you can always celebrate the holiday with the Hearts Blossom stamp.
Make a Book
If you’ve ever created a gift on Shutterfly, you know it’s quick, easy and high in quality. Do you have beaucoup photos of your significant other? If so, put them together and create a book: about the moment you knew you were in love, or a page for each year you’ve been together. You can add on to this keepsake every Valentine’s Day. There are numerous other customized items you can buy, such as a photo blanket or a mouse pad.
Celebrate a Day Later
You love them all year long, right? Celebrating this holiday later than the rest of the crowd means half-priced chocolate and discounted flowers.
And when Valentine’s Day lands midweek, you have to race home early to get up for work. Imagine the possibilities if you shelf it for a Friday or Saturday night!
Have a Picnic on the Floor
What’s better than an expensive dinner? A cheap, tasty dinner in the comfort of your own home, starting with takeout from your favorite restaurant. Next, cover your living room with blankets, pillows and battery-operated candles, put some
tunes on and you’ve got a great evening ahead of you.
If you want to throw in a couple of bucks, you can add Valentine gifts for him or her to punctuate the occasion.
A lot of the best Valentine’s Day gifts are expensive if you buy them retail, but they’re cheap Valentine gift ideas if you make them yourself. For instance, chocolate covered strawberries are a classic Valentine’s Day treat. If you order them from Shari’s Berries you pay $29 plus shipping for just 6 of them. But if you purchase fresh strawberries (about $5) and chocolate for melting and dipping (about $5) you come out WAY ahead.
Bringing home a dozen roses is the classic Valentine’s Day surprise, but they tend to be expensive and are thrown away after a week. Houseplants bring color and life into the house all year long, with different types offering various benefits, like air purifying plants or stress-relieving plants.
If your significant other has trouble keeping anything green alive, Good Housekeeping has some suggested plants for you.
• Chinese Money plants survive fine in shade and only need watering once a week.
• A yucca plant, by contrast, likes sunshine. It needs very little water – great for anyone who’s forgetful.
• African violets win the popularity contest. It has beautiful blooms and thrives in indirect light.
• An air plant can survive without any dirt, but it needs water. Ideally, you set it in water for 3-4 hours every week and a half.
Give the Gift of Music
Because it’s the thought that counts, taking the time to create something special for your Valentine is a way to say I love you. If his car has a CD player, you can burn him a playlist of his favorite songs. Or you can download a series of romantic music on his device.
If you’re the one who typically sets the mood in the house, you can create a playlist that includes all your favorite love songs. Then determine just the right time to hit the remote control to blast it on the speakers.
Do you like to play games? Step away from your screens and pull out a board game. New games can be fun gifts for your partner, but even an old faithful can make for some friendly competition. If all you have is cards, play a romantic round of poker.
You don’t have to bet money and it doesn’t even have to get X-rated. Set rules, such as loser has to do laundry for the week or the winner gets a neck massage!
Volunteer for a Charity
What are your favorite nonprofits? Let the generosity of volunteerism be an outcropping of the level of love you share. It’s a way to spread the love to those who need it, which gives you both some satisfaction while offering practical help.
Think outside the box of chocolates this year. There are choices that save money, score points for creativity and choose many ways to say I love you to your Valentine this year.