Budget Friendly Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Companies want you to think that a good Valentine’s Day has to include spending money. Flower shops push for more than the standard dozen roses; candy shops increase the price of chocolates to add a ribbon. Restaurants switch out normal menus for pre-fixe style dining (fixed options at a fixed price). Heck, even classroom valentine mailbox kits can be picked up at Target (no more settling for a shoebox covered in construction paper, it seems).

Basically, it seems that the day of love is more about shelling out cash than heartfelt feelings. But there are other, cheaper, ways to show your sweetie, your family, your gal-entines, or whomever you choose to spend the day with, that you love and appreciate them. Here are some of our favorites, compliments of Popsugar:

1. Do something nice for them
Hopefully you don’t wait for one day a year to do nice things for your loved ones, but there’s a little extra incentive to do it on Valentine’s Day. For example, take care of a chore they really dislike, like laundry or house cleaning.  Or, if you use their vehicle, take it through the car wash or have fill it with gas. Depending on what they value, the options are limitless.

2. Feed them
Again, we know you feed them throughout the year. But find a way to ramp up the special feels on this day. If you’re a couple that appreciates kitsch, pick up a heart-shaped pizza for fun. Grab a mason jar and fill with Hershey Kisses and Hugs, and maybe some loving notes for them. Bake their favorite meal. There’s a tradition of moving toward the sweet side of things, but don’t feel compelled to only fill them up with sugar. Make it personal and fun.

3. Make them something
Homemade gifts have a lot of potential to go straight to the heart or simply go awry. Let’s lay some ground rules: Choose something that you know you can do well...it’s impolite to knock someone’s painting skills, but if your skills are at stick-figure level, just don’t. Try printing out your favorite pics from the past year, or using an app to make a book of Instagram photos if you’re less-than-artsy. Pinterest is full of great ideas. Or make an iTunes or Spotify playlist for them...it’s the 2017 version of a mixtape.

4. Spend time together
The best gift might just be putting down the smartphone and focusing on each other. Whether it’s a hike outside in a new spot or snuggling on the couch and watching a movie, pick something you both enjoy. It doesn’t have to be complex – if you are having fun together than your mission is accomplished!

5. Write them a note
Putting your thoughts in writing makes them a keepsake. You can take a structured approach, like writing everything you like about them, or just let the words flow from the pen.  Handwritten letters are a lost art in this day of texting and email; they give a touch of love that can be enjoyed for years to come.

There’s a thread through all of these tips. Can you spot it? They all involve personalizing an action for your intended recipient. The most beautiful bouquet of roses might be fragrant and nice to receive, but ultimately, it lacks the personal touch. Let your valentine know that they matter and are loved. There’s no price that can be put on that!