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Valentines Day
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Thoughtful (and Inexpensive) Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Was your New Year’s Resolution this year to spend less money? If you’re still going strong through January, February 14th may test your resolve. We all want to treat the person we love to something special, whether it be Valentine’s Day, their birthday, or just any other day.

The good news is that some of the most meaningful gifts don’t require breaking the bank, or breaking your resolution to curb spending in 2019. Here are some ideas to make the maximum romantic impact with minimal impact on your budget.

Send a Physical Love Letter

In the digital age, the value of a physical love letter is heightened. If you don’t live together, it’s an especially great way to send your thoughts, in a way that they can continue to reference. If you do live together, consider hiding the note in the bathroom, their purse or bag, or in the car. This playful placement elevates the act and shows that you were thinking about your Valentine when planning the surprise.

Now that you have a card, don’t let it do all the talking. Really make an effort to get your feelings out in writing and leave an impression. Or write an inside joke, something that shows you didn’t just buy a card and sign your name.

A Framed Photo

While the average cost of a professional portrait photographer is $200 per hour, you and your significant other probably have a digital warehouse of photos to pick from (especially if you have been together for a while). You can either use a digital printer like Shutterfly or Snapfish, or even walk into most Walgreens and have your print the same day.

Frames can be bought at almost any home goods store or online for a reasonable price. Make sure you pick one with a little personality and solid construction. A 4’’ x 4’’ frame is a great way to bring a favorite Instagram photo into the real world.

Cook a Meal for Them

Few things in life are as romantic as a homemade meal. It’s your opportunity to design a customized pizza pie for your sweetie pie, or a decadent dessert for your honey. If planning a fancy meal from scratch is too intimidating, sign up for a free trial from a meal kit company like Blue Apron, Sun Basket, or Home Chef. You might even prepare a printed ‘menu’ of romantic ‘appetizers’ and ‘side dishes’ for them to order.

Give Them a Call During the Day

The lowest cost option of all, just pick up the phone and give them a call. Try to pick a time you know they are more likely to pick up, but you can always leave a voicemail too. You might be tempted to just send a text, but think of how much you already text your significant other. Take it a step further and leave a voice or video message that lets them know that today stands out.  

An Accessory to Their Hobby

Is your significant other really into video games, running, or needlepoint? Pick up something small, but highly relevant to their favorite past time, showing that you know what’s important to them. If you don’t know what hobby-related gift to give, consider looking around at what they already have and then looking at related items online or in a brick and mortar store. There might also be online forums related to this hobby that you could look through.

Another option is to open yourself to learning their hobby, so you can participate in it together. Showing that you want to learn about the activity they are excited about shows your investment in time together in the future.

Make a Breakfast Date

Start your Valentine’s Day on a high note and get breakfast together. Restaurants often set up special menus on Valentine’s Day, but they can be overpriced and overbooked. A Valentine’s Day breakfast can be much more informal and cost-effective.

This date should not be a surprise; both people need to know this works with their work or school schedules. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can still do something out of the ordinary and start their day on a high note. Is there a bakery that they really like? Drop by in the morning and pick something up before work.

This article was written by Carolyn Pairitz Morris, Senior Editor, and David Zandman, Copywriter for Earnest.

Disclaimer: This blog post provides personal finance educational information, and it is not intended to provide legal, financial, or tax advice.