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ValentinesDay Ideas and Gifts For Not a Lot of Money

Updated on March 5, 2015

by Kathy Batesel

Best Valentine's Day Plans

You don't have to spend a lot of money to make the very best Valentine's Day plans - the kind of memorable moments that will be remembered years from now. Sure, you can spend a small fortune on an elaborate gesture or an expensive bauble, but to create a lasting memory that your sweetheart will love, try thinking outside the box.

I'll show you a few ways to create cherished moments with your love that not only are fun and romantic, but that are easy on the ol' pocketbook, too.

We finger-painted our new family for Valentine's Day.
We finger-painted our new family for Valentine's Day. | Source

Finger Paint Supplies from Amazon

HP - Q1396A Universal Bond Paper (24 Inches x 150 Feet Roll)
HP - Q1396A Universal Bond Paper (24 Inches x 150 Feet Roll)
I purchased a roll of paper because it let us make our creations any size we wanted to. We taped one edge to the table, rolled the paper out to the size we wanted, cut and taped the other end, and then went to work on our masterpieces!

How would you feel if you finger painted with your loved one on Valentine's Day?

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Finger Paint on Valentine's Day

For a fun, not-too-serious Valentine's Day activity, consider being child-like with your partner. My husband and I included his daughter when we decided to have a light-hearted Valentine's Day with root beer floats and finger paint.

I purchased both the paper and the finger paints, but it's easy to make finger paint, too. Be warned, though, the home-made stuff doesn't work as well as the kind you'll find at the local department store! (I tried it with my grandkids, and the consistency was more gel-like, which I didn't like.)

On the other hand, making it with your lover might be just as fun as using it, so if you'd rather not purchase supplies like the ones shown here, try this simple recipe from Sherri Osborn. It's not the same one I used, and it looks like it might turn out more like the product you'd find on the shelf:

Finger Paint at Home

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour + 2T. salt
  • 2 1/2 c. cold water
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • Food color

Mix the cold water into the flour mixture, then add this gradually to the boiling water. Stir and continue boiling until smooth. Add food coloring to get the colors you want.

You're only limited by your imagination, but to avoid something akin to writer's block (ugh! those blank pages!) here are some ways you can turn finger painting into a memorable holiday event. Use one or combine several ideas to make the event uniquely yours.

  • Paint the "meaning of love" - whatever that brings to mind.
  • Create a painting together of a shared vision of what the future holds in store.
  • Stand facing each other and paint a portrait of your partner.
  • Individually draw yourselves as a couple or a family. (We included my step-daughter, and all three of us drew variations on these.)
  • Paint a creation that is made up entirely of hearts.
  • Recreate your favorite memory of your time together. You might be surprised by your partner's favorite recollection!
  • For a sexy theme, use each other's bodies as canvas and shower up together afterward.
  • Consider photographing or framing them when they're done.

Because it will just take an hour or so to paint (much longer if you're making your own paints), you might enjoy adding a few special touches. We lit a fire in our fireplace, made our root beer floats, and played some favorite songs, too.

"What I Love About You" Valentine's Day Ideas

"Let me count the ways..." Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem may be an enduring one, but you can make as lasting an impression on your partner by celebrating their uniqueness in creative ways.

In this video, you'll see how a little construction paper, ribbon, and a bit of sneakiness let one woman surprise her man with 145 things she loves. (They were due to marry 145 days after ValentinesDay.) "Having a beer with you" and "The way you're warmer than me" remind him of the little things that mark their days together.

There are many ways you can use "reasons I love you" messages to make Valentine's Day memorable. The best one I've ever heard about (and one that I plan to use this year!) includes three things - an actual gift of a bathrobe, personal messages, and... ahem... MOI!

I'll be wrapping myself in the bathrobe shown here and making a gift of myself to my husband. I'm not sure if he'll take the time to read the personal messages before or after he claims the robe, but they'll include what I love about him, our marriage date, a few love quotes that I like, and maybe a couple of goofy drawings (believe me, I'm no artist! Of course, you probably noticed that in the picture above!) I was first introduced to the bathrobe idea by someone who pinned their cutout messages, but I'll use colorful, permanent fabric markers so he'll be reminded again and again that I'm crazy 'bout him.

Other ways personal messages can add meaning to your Valentine's Day:

  • Each day, write something that you loved about your partner, and on Valentine's Day, present him or her with a decorative jar of your intimate thoughts about them.
  • Begin a shared journal where each of you can write down your hopes, fears, and treasured memories. If you both use it, you'll find that this can be a great way to build intimacy and strengthen existing bonds - especially when your time together is limited or you're going through a rough patch.
  • Post It ® notes can let you dash off dozens, even hundreds, of thoughts. Use them or other small notepad papers to decorate a mirror or wall. One woman I know wallpapered her bathroom with heartfelt messages to her husband.

Zazzle lets you create custom gifts like this calendar for any occasion, including Valentine's Day.
Zazzle lets you create custom gifts like this calendar for any occasion, including Valentine's Day. | Source

A Multimedia Valentines Day

Music or photos can also let you create some terrific gifts. The photo here shows a calendar I was able to make easily using Zazzle. I selected a variety of family photos from the previous year to create a one-of-a-kind calendar as a gift for my husband. He says it's the best gift he ever received. It brought a tear to his eye as he looked over it, and he is excited to use it at work where his pals will get a glimpse of some of our happy and funny moments.

I've used Zazzle to make personalized gifts for dozens of occasions because the site has a great variety of products that can be customized with photos and text. Here are just a few of the things I've created using the service:

  • Coffee mugs
  • Ornaments
  • Photo sculptures
  • T-shirts
  • Greeting cards
  • Posters & wrapped canvas prints
  • Skateboards
  • Decorative plates
  • Magnets

There are other printing services that cost less, but I use this site repeatedly because I like the high-quality printing and fast turnaround. For Valentine's Day, you can make a unique gift in just a few minutes once you've selected a photo you want to use. (You can also find others' designs if you prefer to use a template and add your own message.)

Custom music CD's are also a terrific way to compile a meaningful gift for your valentine. Select a variety of music that includes "your" song and other romantic tunes. If you're tech savvy, you can record an introduction to each song that lets your lover know why you chose that particular melody. If you need help finding enough songs, here are twenty enduring favorites. You're sure to know a few by heart!

Will you use an idea you found on this page?

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What's Your Most Cherished Valentine's Day Memory?

Share the most romantic, thoughtful, or funny Valentine's Day you ever had or one you're planning for. We want all the juicy details! (Well, the ones that are appropriate for a PG-rated audience, anyway!)

And if you're still looking for ideas, check out my article about using the Five Languages of Love on Valentine's Day to plan a gift based on what makes your partner feel most loved.

If you enjoyed this article or found it useful, please consider sharing it and voting it up!


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