Guest post from Michelle of The Faith Notebook:
If the thought of Valentine’s Day has you mourning the potential loss of much-needed funds instead of celebrating your love, then it might be a good idea to think outside the gift box this year.
You can still make your partner feel special, but for less!
Try one of these frugal, but incredibly thoughtful, gifts to say ‘I love you’ in your own special way.
1. Make your own personalized chocolates.
Grab some melting chocolate or even your favorite block of chocolate and some molds (heart-shaped or alphabet molds to spell ‘I love you’ are a good choice). Melt the chocolate on the stove top or microwave, pour into the molds, set in the fridge, and voilà! Fancy chocolates on a frugal budget.
2. Bake a cake and write ‘I love you’ on it.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy flavor or even made from scratch. If you’re not the baking type, you can find a boxed cake mix of your partner’s favorite flavor and buy ready-made icing that’s ready to pipe the letters onto the cake — that’s your job half done!
3. Write a poem.
Write a few lines about how you feel, or even just use the letters of your partner’s name to come up with special words to describe them. It doesn’t have to win any literary awards, but it’s the thought that counts. If you’re feeling particularly creative, print it out and frame it.
4. Write a love letter.
If poetry isn’t your thing, write a love letter instead. Tell your partner everything that’s on your heart, why you fell in love with them, how they make you feel everyday. Spruce it up by adding some dried rose petals before folding the paper into the envelope.
5. Go for a long walk on the beach.
Doesn’t that sound like the epitome of romance? Throw in a sunset, maybe some ice cream. If it’s too cold for ice cream, even better — you now have a good excuse to snuggle up to each other.
6. Cook your partner’s favorite meal.
Or dessert. Or both. Set the table with some candles and some wine. Or pack it up and have a romantic picnic somewhere (the living room floor counts!).
7. Set up a DIY spa at home.
This can be done however you like: run a warm bath with some candles and some wine, or set up a comfortable massage station in your house with candles, some incense, and relaxing music. Robes and herbal tea are optional.
8. Organize a romantic DVD night.
Get a comfortable blanket, your partner’s favorite snacks, some wine and of course, make a big bowl of popcorn. And don’t forget the movie! Pick a selection of your partner’s favorite movies and/or some romantic comedies, then sit back, cuddle up, and enjoy.
9. Make a picture slideshow of your love story.
Use PowerPoint or find a free website to make a slideshow of your love story. If you can, burn it to a DVD or save it to a USB flash drive, and play it on your TV while cuddling up together (see last point on organizing a romantic DVD night).
10. Create a memory box.
Gather special photos, keepsakes, ticket stubs, and memorabilia from your time together and create a memory box for your partner. You can add something new to the box every year as a new tradition.
11. Use your skills to make something special for your partner.
Write a song, draw/paint a picture, take a photo, build something, create a special dish, develop a computer game — you’re only limited by your imagination.
12. Make a ‘coupon’ book.
Add coupons for anything you know your partner will like, from housework to meals to massages. It doesn’t have to look too fancy, you can either type it up and print it out or just handwrite it.
13. Make a jar of love notes.
Take an empty recycled jar (I’m assuming most of us have at least one lying around) or buy a nice jar from a dollar store, cut some colored paper into strips (or white paper, your choice) and write little love notes, things like ‘You are my favorite person’, ‘You’re my best friend’, ‘I love your smile’, ‘You have nice eyes’, to name a few. If you’re stuck for inspiration, think of your favorite song lyrics.
14. Give your partner a jar of kisses.
Hershey’s kisses, that is. Take an empty recycled jar (again, assuming you have one) or buy one from a dollar store, buy a bag of Hershey’s kisses, and seal the jar with a ribbon. If you want, you can add a note, like ‘Here are some kisses for when I’m not around’.
Bonus idea for next year: Write love letters to each other this year to open up on Valentine’s Day next year!
What are your favorite free or frugal gifts to give the love of your life?
Michelle Savignano lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two boys under 3. She writes about faith, family, food and finances. When she’s not spending time with her family, you can find her blogging at The Faith Notebook.