Smart Shopping: Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Money can’t buy love, or at least that’s what The Beatles want us to believe. It seems consumers disagree because they spent $18.2 billion on Valentine’s Day last year. Showing someone you care doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Here are some suggestions for gifts and activities that won’t break the bank or any hearts.

Make a Honey Do List. Make a list of chores or activities that your valentine would appreciate you doing for them. Think washing the car, going to Costco, cleaning the cat litter, packing home lunch for the week, or vacuuming. For the next week, month, or even year, your valentine can choose various chores or activities for you to do whenever they’d like. Your significant other is sure to appreciate this practical gift that keeps on giving.

Show off your culinary skills. Instead of going out to a fancy dinner, why not stay in and save money? One year, my husband surprised me by making heart-shaped pizzas. And since he knew I don’t care for red pizza sauce, he made a fresh pesto sauce and added my favorite topping, mushrooms, cut into little hearts. It was a delicious and thoughtful way to show me he paid attention. Think of a way to present your valentine’s favorite dish or dessert in a romantic way.

Get creative. Use a skill you have to make a card or write a poem. You could write a short story about the first time you met or paint the place you had your first date. If you’re feeling adventurous, plan a scavenger hunt. Use special memories, activities, and locations to create clues or challenges to keep your valentine on their toes.

Start a tradition. It’s never too late to start a new tradition with your valentine. Picnic in the park, take an annual selfie in the same place each year, or pick shells and sea glass on the beach. Afterward, put your treasures in a glass vase for decoration or glue them to a picture frame. Or if want to stay in, you and your Valentine can watch a movie you both enjoy and make a popcorn bar with a variety of popcorn (butter, kettle, cheddar), fun toppings (furikake, herbs), and fun snacks like nuts or mini-chocolate chips. 

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be about extravagant gifts or grand gestures. It’s about connecting with your partner and letting them know you love and appreciate them year-round. 

Have you given or received a beloved but inexpensive Valentine’s Day gift? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Smart shopping is an ongoing series where we share tips and tricks on how to save money. We’re here to help and encourage you whether you’re on a tight budget or simply want to be a more mindful consumer.