Valentine’s Day is going to creep up on you faster than you might think. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money but you do want to do something romantic then you need to start planning for that special holiday now. Otherwise you’re going to find yourself in line at the grocery store on the 14th buying an overpriced box of chocolates and a way-too-expensive bouquet of roses.
For those of you who want to save your money but don’t want your honey to think that you’re being cheap on Valentine’s Day, here are 25 ideas for gifts and dates that are perfect for romance:
1. Put together your own bouquet of flowers.
Everyone loves to get a bouquet of flowers for Valentine’s Day so there’s nothing wrong with going this route. Just don’t do it the expensive way. Buying bouquets of roses from florists is just way pricier than what you need to spend on flowers. Instead, create your own beautiful bouquet by picking up single stem flowers from a local flower shop. If you’re lucky, there may be a wholesale flower store in your area. Skip the roses and go for something less expensive (gerbera daisies, lilies). Alternatively pick your own flowers from the garden or buy an inexpensive potted plant instead. Wrap it up with ribbon and add some glitter or balloons to create a special bouquet that’s really eye-catching.
2. Write a poem or a song for your sweetheart.
If you really put some thought and time into this one, it can earn you praises of how sweet you are and you won’t have to spend a penny. Really think about the things that you treasure about the person that you’re spending this Valentine’s Day with. Add in some memories that are special to the two of you. Then let your creative urges do the rest!
3. Bake brownies or cookies.
Most people pay a lot of money to get those fancy Godiva or Ghirardelli chocolates for people. It’s the default Valentine’s gift for everyone from lovers to mothers. Skip the expensive chocolates and go for spending just a few dollars on cookie ingredients instead. Splurge on some frosting and write messages on the cookies that express your feelings for the person you’re giving them to. Now that’s sweet.
4. Do that thing that your sweetheart enjoys but you never want to do.
You know what it is. It’s different for everyone. He really loves going to the racetrack but you hate horses so you never go with him. She would love it if you’d get into the bathtub with her now and then but you think it’s cramped and uncomfortable. He wants you to play video games with him but you get bored. The act itself doesn’t have to seem romantic – it’s your willingness to do it and to try to enjoy it just because the other person wants you to that will make this Valentine’s Day special.
5. Make a kiss basket.
Put together a basket filled with slips of paper that each say a different way to kiss. There are all kinds of kisses to be enjoyed – French kisses, slow kisses, pecks on the cheek, nibbles on the neck … challenge yourself to come up with 50 different kisses that you’d love to give your lover. Let him or her know that you’re hoping she’ll keep pulling kisses out of that basket for you to perform until the basket falls apart from overuse.
6. Make dinner and serve it romantically.
If you’ve ever taken someone out to dinner for Valentine’s Day, you know that it’s a costly ritual. The wine, the food, the tip for the waiter … it all costs more than one should spend on a meal. But there’s definitely something nice about sharing dinner together so don’t think that you can’t go that route for Valentine’s Day. Just do it wisely. Plan a low-budget meal. Note the term low-budget. Many people who cook at home for Valentine’s Day also waste money on treats like caviar and truffles. Stick to something simple but delicious – adding raspberry sorbet as a dessert to an otherwise basic meal can spruce it up. Go for the cheap wine that you know you both like. Then serve it up right with candles or have dinner in bed or do something else to make the experience more romantic than it usually is.
7. Create a “reasons I love you” scrapbook.
People love to be told what’s great about them and reminded of the reasons that they are loved. Put some effort into filling a whole scrapbook with the things that you adore about the person that you’re with this Valentine’s Day. Everything from the way he supports your dreams to the way that she looks with toothpaste dribbling down her chin can be reason enough to write on the page. You don’t have to be an artist to make love on the page.
8. Create a “reasons you’re loved” scrapbook or video.
This sounds similar to the last suggestion but it’s actually quite different. Rather than just being reasons that you love your sweetie, it’s a collection of reasons that he or she is loved by everyone else in their lives. Talk to grandmas and co-workers and children and employees and everyone else to see what others appreciate about the one that you are with. If you’ve got some video recording skills, you can make a video of everyone sharing their love this way but having everyone write their thoughts down to be compiled in a journal would work just as well.
9. Make a mix tape.
Truth is it doesn’t have to be so retro as to actually be a tape; it can be a playlist on an online music sharing site. But the feeling of your old mixed tape trading days should be there. Create a list of those songs that you have shared memories about and those songs that always make you think of your partner. It won’t cost much but your time and it’ll be something that’s absolutely treasured by the one that you treasure.
10. Don’t underestimate the value of coupon books.
No, we’re not talking about clipping coupons to get your darling a Valentine’s Day gift. We’re talking about those romantic coupon books that you make yourself – the ones that give your lover an IOU for a back rub or for a day spent hiking together or for whatever else it is that you know that he or she wants to be able to ask you for in the future.
11. Dance. Dancing is always a good way to spend a romantic holiday.
Do it your way. Find a cheap club where drinks aren’t too expensive and grind the night away or just put some jazz on the CD player at home and hold your baby close to you as you move.
12. Get a sexy board game.
These usually don’t cost all that much money and they can provide you with a really great evening that’s different from the norm. You can even look for deals online if you’re shopping early.
13. Plan a sexy photo shoot.
On Valentine’s Day, people want there to be romance and they want to feel sexy. What better way to make your sweetheart feel hot than to set up a photo shoot where he/she is the star? Get the bedroom cleaned up, put your sexiest sheets on the bed and figure out how to get some low lighting in there (candles are a safe bet). Then get out the digital camera and have a good time together. You don’t have to print the images if you don’t want to which means you don’t have to pay much of anything at all for this sexy experience to be shared.
14. Go on a photography adventure.
Maybe you’re not all about the idea of erotic photo shoots but you do like the idea of taking pictures together. Another good Valentine’s Day date is to head somewhere together but split up for an hour during which each of you take photos of things in the area that remind you of each other or that you really want the other person to see. You can do this in nature or in an urban area. At the end, you can go home and look at the pictures and perhaps be surprised by how many of the same things were captured in your photos for one another.
15. Fill the house with candles.
It’s a good idea to remember that candles are a great addition to anything else that you’re doing in the house on Valentine’s Day. They’re just plain romantic and they don’t have to be expensive. Candles are something that you can buy on discount and still get the same effect from as if you spent a lot of money. The more the better here.
16. Sunrises, sunsets and stargazing.
Get yourself outdoors with the one that you adore and soak in the beauty of nature together. The rising and setting of the sun or the watching of the stars are grandiose things that remind us of the magic of being alive and they’re something wonderful to share with someone else. A picnic meal or an inexpensive bottle of wine can improve this particular Valentine’s Day experience.
17. Get candy jewelry and eat it off of each other.
Not everyone needs to get diamonds for Valentine’s Day to feel special. Perhaps your partner would be happy with a candy necklace and a ring pop if it meant that you were going to be devouring the pieces slowly off of his or her body.
18. Create a memory box.
Find an inexpensive box around the house somewhere and get ready to fill it with things that are special to the person you’re gifting it to. Cover it in inexpensive wrapping paper so it looks nice. Then figure out what should go inside. The coin that you kept from the first time that you went to that ridiculous arcade together, the movie ticket stubs from a great date out, even just scraps of paper citing specific memories that you have shared … these things are all great things to go in a memory box for someone else to love for a long time to come.
19. Write out I Love You.
Write it in seashells on the sand, in steam on the bathroom mirror, in paint on the snow, on a poster that you’re partner will see when he or she walks in the door. Don’t stop there. Write a love letter that can be read over and over.
20. Make something with your hands.
People really do like handmade gifts the most and you have some sort of talent that can be put to use here. Whether you weld or knit or embroider or draw or whatever … you can make something that’s going to be a whole lot more special than what can be bought in the store because of the sheer fact that you put your own time into it.
21. Escape to heaven in your bathroom.
Draw a bubble bath for two. If the two of you don’t fit in the same tub comfortably, plan to sit on the edge offering up cheap wine and chocolates or giving your sweetheart a shoulder massage while she relaxes.
22. Make travel plans together.
There’s something fun and romantic about making plans together and who doesn’t want to dream about travel? If you start planning now, you can get some good deals for summer travel. Spend a few hours looking through brochures and books and online travel sites to daydream about the future you’re going to have together in some exotic place. Make a computer file or a scrapbook of your plans to solidify the experience without spending the money yet.
23. Agree to spend less than a certain amount of money on Valentine’s Gifts.
If you and your sweetheart are going to do the gift-exchange thing, it helps to put a dollar amount on the gift to keep the cost (and the pressure!) down. You can get creative giving each other special things that aren’t costly.
24. Spend the whole day in bed.
Most people think that Valentine’s Day isn’t a “real holiday” and that they’re not supposed to take the day off of work. Forget that. Call in sick and spend the entire day in bed with the one you want to be there with. Order in cheap takeout and get to know each other again. Now that is romantic!
25. Be your best self.
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter quite so much what you do for Valentine’s Day as long as you do it with great intentions. Wear your nicer clothes, open or unlock car doors for each other, remember to compliment your date. Leave the bickering and petty insecurities and other frustrations behind for one day. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be someone that your partner is going to be glad to be with on Valentine’s Day.
To keep that frugal romance going throughout the rest of the year, you might be interested in some of our other creative date ideas.