It’s almost Valentine’s Day, a holiday that strikes fear into the heart of everyone (especially men) on a budget. After all, roses, fancy chocolates, and romantic restaurants are a hefty strain on the wallet. Yet, dismissing Valentine’s Day as “crass commercial hype” is NOT going to cut it. You should do something for the special someone in your life. But you don’t have to go broke.
The trick to an appreciated Valentine’s Day gift is to find or make something sentimental and personal – a gift that shows you put in some effort and considered what kinds of things are really important to your loved one. Here are some great – and cheap ideas.
1. PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEMORIES
Hopefully you already have some digital photos of your sweetie. Create a photo book or collage. If you have a Mac, the photo ordering process is built right into iPhoto. Otherwise, there’s Picasa (Google’s free photo editing program), or you can order photo books, mugs and other photo gifts from CVS or check out our top 5 photo printing sites review.
2. SCRAPBOOKS AND KEEPSAKES
Create a scrapbook or memory box to remind your honey of special times spent together. Include concert ticket stubs, shells from your beach trip, maybe printouts of news items from the day you met or were married. Add a a handwritten note or poem and use a colorful ribbon to tie it all together. For an affordable memory box, use a shoebox and cover it with attractive wrapping paper.
3. TAKE IT OUTSIDE
Is your darling an outdoor lover? Find a tree on your property and carve a heart with yours and your sweetheart’s initials. You can accent it with some red nail polish (which you can buy for .99 at a discount store). Seal it with clear spray paint. If you’re a street artist, you could do a romantic graffiti instead – just make sure to pick a place where it’s legal.
4. LOOKING FOR CLUES
Have a scavenger hunt. Write a few poems, wrap candy kisses inside, and hide them around the house. Each poem should be a clue to finding the next one. Make sure the final clue lands your mate someplace you want to end up for the entire evening.
5. MAKE A MIX
Yes, the old mixtape cliche. Songs are only .99 each in iTunes. Pick several songs and make a CD – create album cover artwork in iTunes, using a photo of the two of you. Obviously include “your song,” songs from your wedding, first date, etc. If you remember the ’80’s, then how about an actual mixtape on cassette, bonus points if you load it into a boombox and stand beneath your sweetie’s window ala Lloyd Dobler in “Say Anything”.
6. MOVIE TIME
Is there a movie that you watched together on a romantic date or on your first date? Or does he/she have some favorite films? Buy or rent them. If you’re really broke, see if you can borrow the DVD’s from the library. Important thing here: you must watch the movies with your date. Yes guys, that means watching chick flicks if that’s what she’s into. And girls, that means watching sci fi/gladiator/kung fu/action movies with him.
7. PLAY TIME
What toys did he or she love as a child? Cabbage Patch Kids? Care Bears? Hot Wheels? Surprise your love with their favorite old toys and you’ll have a very happy Valentine.
8. SWEET IDEAS
Get a chocolate bar, any kind you like, remove the paper wrapper and then rewrap it in beautiful scrapbooking or wrapping paper. Or print out some love poems. Then put a gift tag on it with a message.
9. MUSIC IS THE FOOD OF LOVE
If you’re talented, serenade your sweetie. If not, check your local entertainment listings for inexpensive concerts or dances.
10. WORDS OF LOVE
Pay a visit to your local used or bargain bookstore and pick up some romantic poetry. Read the poems out loud to your honey.
- Getting dinner reservations on Valentine’s Day is very difficult. If you want to beat the rush you could go to dinner the night before. You probably will have a greater selection of restaurants and will save quite a bit of time by avoiding the crazy Valentine’s Day crowd.
- It is all about the attention to detail. Doing the little things really add up.
- Get creative and personal. Everyone is different so instead of doing what everyone else does try and be creative, spontaneous and personal.
Photo Credit via Flickr