Budget Friendly Valentine’s Day Ideas

As I’m sure you know, thanks to all of the red and pink you’ve seen popping up everywhere, next Thursday is Valentine’s Day!

I thought a round-up post of creative, budget-friendly Valentine’s Day ideas might be a good way to throw some fun, yet inexpensive, ideas out there.

Budget Friendly Valentine's Day Ideas

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you may have seen a couple of these Valentine’s Day ideas before, but I found a bunch of new ideas share with you from other blogs and Pinterest (of course).

Hopefully one of these ideas will help make someone you love feel extra special on February 14!

Budget Friendly Valentine’s Day Ideas

52 Reasons Why I Love You Deck of Cards

  • 52 Reasons I Love You Deck of Cards: My sister did this project for her boyfriend last year and he loved it! She wrote a different thing that she loved about him on each card. Some were silly, others were really sweet, and the whole thing was really cute!

Candy Hearts Poster for Valentine's Day

  • Candy Hearts Poster: I made Ryan a poster that revolved around the sayings found on the candy hearts that are always for sale around Valentine’s Day. It took some time to come up with what I wanted the poster to say since the sayings on the candy hearts can be super hokey, but it was such a fun project.

You Float My Boat Basket - Valentine's Day

  • You Float My Boat Basket – This idea immediately appealed to me because Ryan is just a little bit obsessed with root beer floats. It’s simple – you just fill a basket with ice cream, root beer and straws – but still super cute!

Keys of All the Places You've Lives

Now That I've Kissed The Ground You Walk On... Poster   Trail of Hershey's Kisses Valentine's Day Idea

  • Now That I’ve Kissed the Ground You Walked On + Trail of Hershey Kisses: I totally stole this idea from a guy in high school who used it to ask a friend of mine to the prom! I placed a trail of Hershey Kisses from the front door of Ryan’s apartment into his bedroom where I had this sign propped up on his bed, along with more Hershey Kisses, the above poster and homemade cupcakes, asking him to be my valentine.

Dates that Changed Your World Poster

Met Engaged Married Map Project

  • Met, Engaged, Married Embroidered Map: I gave this gift to Ryan for our one-year wedding anniversary. I got the idea from a map project that I saw on Pinterest and changed it slightly to read “Met, Engaged, Married.” (The original read “Met, Married, Live.”) A map of the location of each of these special events in our relationship filled the picture space above the corresponding text.

I Love You Thiiiis Much

  • I Love You This Much Handprint Card: Though I don’t have kids, my heart melted when I saw this card. I just had to share it with you guys just in case there are any parents out there looking for an adorable Valentine’s Day craft project to do with their kids to surprise a loved one.

Alphabet Of Our Love Book for Valentine's Day


  • Scrapbook: For our first Valentine’s Day together, I gave Ryan a homemade scrapbook and filled it with photos, captions and admission tickets that captured the first year of our relationship. Be prepared: This takes hours and hours of work. Phew.

Personalized Mug - Just Need a Sharpie!

  • Personalized Coffee Mug or Tea Cup: Use a Sharpie to design your own mug! Add hearts, a favorite quote, song lyrics and more. Simply buy a mug, write away with the Sharpie and bake the mugs for 30 minutes at 350 degrees to let the design set.

Question of the Morning

  • What is the most memorable thing that you’ve done for someone or that someone has done for you on Valentine’s Day?

I love our annual Valentine’s Day Mission! Ryan and I create a small budget (usually $20) and both leave the house at the same time, setting a time limit during which we both have to get each other a bunch of little Valentine’s Day gifts! We have also gone to the mall together and split up for an hour to each buy each other an outfit to wear on a date that evening. Both ideas are a lot of fun!


  1. says

    Such cute ideas!!! I especially love the frame with all of the keys to the places that you have lived in. It is an easy enough project to put together, but looks very creative and thoughtful. Thanks for sharing so many awesome ideas :).


  2. says

    Wow you have some super cute ideas here. I love the “I love you this much” one! Sooo adorable. Sadly, my boyfriend things Valentine’s Day is the worst day in creation and that he doesn’t need a day to tell me he loves me. Oh well. 🙂 I remember all the Valentines we’d have to fill out for school – no one could be left out – and I’d spend hours making sure my good friends got the best ones. It was silly but fun.


  3. says

    We just booked a spring break trip so we are doing a $20 limit this year too!! I really like the root beer float idea – simple, but cute and Jonny does love root beer floats yet we rarely have them!!


  4. Jeanie says

    My boyfriend and I don’t really do much on Valentine’s day, except eating in for a “favorite” meal. Over the last three or so years we have tried to recreate our favorite restaurant foods. This year, we have agreed on fondue, and I have found some great ideas on Pinterest.
    My favorite creative gift happened a few years ago, when I got a bag of “favorites” (candies, supply items for my classroom etc) and a set of running headphones I had been eyeing. I didn’t NEED them, so I wouldn’t buy them. Mark knew I loved them and swiped them up when I wasn’t looking. Three years later, I still use them 😉


    • Samantha says

      what kind of head phones last three years??? I don’t think I’ve ever had any running headphones that have lasted more than one year, and that’s pushing it!


      • Samantha S.S. says

        My favorites are the Nike Sport. I’m a distance runner and also do the gym. They used to be black with little rounds that went into the ears (but didn’t stab you in the ear) and had an adjustable piece over the head. It seems that these have been discontinued and since I tried their new style (at Target for about $19.99) that are while and they go around the ear with little piece that goes inside your ear (but doesn’t bother it at all). Best headphones ever! Mine get abused, covered in sweat daily and still are great. I think this pair has been going for about 9 months already and is still great. Highly Recommend Nike Sport.


  5. says

    I’m such a sucker for anything related to love, so clearly I get excited about Valentine’s Day! I really like the alphabet book idea and may go with that this year! Our Valentine’s tradition usually involves making a nice dinner together with some sort of delicious dessert.
    Thanks for the great ideas!


  6. says

    One year I replaced all the tiny pieces of paper that are in the Hershey’s kisses with pieces of paper that I had written on with reasons “why I love you”. I did a whole bag. It took forever to write them (tiny) cut out the strips and carefully unwrap each kiss and replace the paper then wrap it back up. It turned out really cute and my boyfriend at the time really loved it. If you do it I recommend maybe doing 10-12 not the whole bag.


  7. Katie says

    Wow Ryan had some long hair! Cute and sweet ideas! But word on the street is that guys are big fans of March 14th which is apparently the male valentines day….there is a full website dedicated to this nonsense!


  8. says

    Awww was Ryan an SAE? I just love it when people meet through the Greek system and end up together forever!! Oh hmm my best valentines day was when I made my BF Barefoot Contessa’s Lasagna (the BEST) and a heart shaped chocolate cake….we ate dinner, danced in the living room and watched a movie 🙂 and although he is in a different state for college now, he is the man I hope I end up with….but, who knows, we shall see!


  9. says

    For our first Valentine’s Day, Brian and I had only been together a month or so and I didn’t want to do something expensive. I was a bit of an artist at the time and he kept telling me I should paint him something. So, I casually asked what kind of scene/ subject he would want and when he came to pick me up for dinner I brought him up to my dorm room and unveiled a painting of… the apocalypse. Yep, super romantic. Just what he asked me for!


  10. says

    Aw, such cute ideas! I love your $20 time limit idea – what a great way to do v-day quickly and effenciently. This is me and my husband’s first married Valentine’s day. He’s actually on business all week but gets back v-day night. Planning a special dinner, but that’s about it.


  11. says

    For our first valentines day Mike gave me dead flowers… he tried so hard to keep them fresh and one of his roommates told him that to keep Roses fresh overnight you had to keep them cold. Needless to say pink roses +12 hours in a mini fridge=brown mess. It was the thought that counts and every valentines day since he has given me FRESH pink roses! 🙂


  12. Emily says

    My friend is in a long-distance relationship while she’s at school, and when she last saw her boyfriend she gave him 14 home-made cards so he could open one every day in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. I thought it was really cute and thoughtful.


  13. Sherri says

    OMG! The root beer float idea is SO perfect for my hubby!!! I typically just grab him some chocolate from Walgreens but this is so creative and he LOVES root beer floats!

    I want to do something extra special for him this year since I’ve been giving him a run for his money with pregnancy-induced mood swings. Oh the joys.

    Thanks so much for the fab idea 🙂


  14. says

    I absolutely love the Root Beer Float idea! Dan and I don’t do anything big for Valentine’s Day, but that is adorable! Thanks for sharing these 🙂 He actually just gave me a personalized dates poster and it is one of my favorite gifts I have ever received. I would definitely recommend it as well!


  15. says

    I never used to like Valentine’s Day (I still really don’t), but the first Valentine’s Day I was with my fiancee fell during President’s Week, and since he was in the Marines, he had a four day pass. He flew me down to where he was stationed, met me at the airport with a single rose and we spent the weekend strolling around DC – it felt so old fashioned and romantic! We don’t do much to celebrate now, but we usually exchange cards or give eachother a “task” like make everything by hand, or find the best gift for $5! I think he’s into it more than I am…


  16. says

    Love all of these! I think taking the time to make a personal gift like this is so much better than simply going out and buying something. I’d have to say the most memorable thing that I’ve done for someone was…. okay, one year my guy had to go visit his family overseas and was gone for about a month, so each day he was gone I wrote kind of a diary entry telling him that I missed him, and what I was thinking about, and random things like that. I gave it all to him in a little journal on Valentine’s Day, and I seriously thought he was going to choke up. Best reaction ever 🙂


  17. JLo says

    I love the “met, engaged, married” frame! I am one of the dumb ones who thought it would be a great idea to get married on Valentine’s Day. I absolutely hate it. Everything is marked up and it is impossible to make a reservation. So we tend to just not celebrate it. However, I love the $20 idea and I am going to make that frame!!! Thanks for the ideas!


  18. LG says

    This year, we’re exchanging the cheeziest gifts that we can find, but they have to be under $10. I was able to find fake flower petals, a large felt banner that says “Happy Valentine”, a horribly ugly bear figurine holding a balloon that says “I love you”, and a package of Skor bars. (Ahem, score…um, yeah – that’s kind of Valentines-ish!.) I got it all for $8.50 and will set it out before the hubs gets up on Valentine’s morning. It’s going to be a hilarious surprise!

    We each make quite good money, but neither of us want to spend very much on such a commercialized “you must be romantic” holiday.


  19. says

    Those are good ideas, I’ve done something similar to the scrapbook but called it a boyfriend book (google it!) I found a lot of inspiration for it and he totally loved it! 🙂


  20. says

    I made a scrapbook for my mom before for Mother’s Day and they DO take so long to make! I couldn’t believe how much time it takes to cut things out and make it look SO cute! Plus, you have to gather all of the pictures and everything. Phew, what a project! My favorite gift you got Ryan was probably the “Met, Engaged, and Married” picture. I think that’s a really cute and fun idea!


  21. Katy @ just playing house says

    These are so cute! I definitely want to use the map idea next year! We typically make dinner together rather than sitting in a crowded restaurant, but I’d love to throw in your last idea- a quick shopping trip before the cooking begins!
    I’m trying to brainstorm a cute gift for my hubby-to-be from our puppy…any ideas?!


  22. Sarah says

    When I was a senior in high school, my boyfriend was a freshman in college about 6 hours away. I figured we wouldn’t see each other that day, but he rearranged to take some tests and drove down that morning, and walked into my last class of the day dressed in a suit and carrying a dozen roses. It was fabulous. He was a super romantic guy!

    I did the scrapbook for my now-husband during one of the times we were dating, but during one of our break-ups when he was dating someone else, she destroyed it. Booooo. 🙁


  23. says

    These are some fantastic ideas! I really want to do the map of the places you lived or the framed dates. Valentine’s is just memorable in itself because that’s when my now husband asked me on our first date. We were not supposed to date because we were on the same Young Life Team, so he had to get permission from several people to do it; but it worked out in the end!


  24. Mand says

    Now i want a root beer float, haha.

    I love the low budget v day gift idea. For me, most of my favorite and “most thoughtful” gifts received have been something little and not expensive or lavish. I’ve dated guys who would whip out their credit card to pay for anything but after the fact i’d realize there was no thoughtfulness there… No matter how nice of a dinner or trip or whatever.

    That being said about guys/dating… I know there are many commenters here… Does anyone have any “single girl” healthy living bloggers or even fun dating/lifestyle blogs I could also add to my rreader? I’ve found that all the blogs I read are of happily married young women and while that’s great and I do enjoy a glimpse into that lifestyle in my daily reads, it is so vastly different from what I’m living now as a newly single 29 year old woman.


  25. says

    We don’t do Valentine’s Day. I have a weird thing against it (but I don’t judge anyone who celebrates it). But one year we were gearing up for a backpacking trip and of course camping gear tends to be browns and greens. Nothing girly at all! My husband found a mini-MAG flashlight in PURPLE and bought it for me. It was totally practical but UBER thoughtful since he knew of my love of purple and the dreary colors of our hiking gear.


  26. says

    OH MY GOODNESS thank you for posting this! I’ve been struggling to come up with something to give my man friend since we’re on a tight budget. I love the 52 reasons one! I wish I would have known about the key one earlier so I could have made sneaky copies of our apartment keys before giving them back haha. We’ve only lived together for 2 years but have had 4 different residences so far! It would have been perfect.


  27. Kim says

    This year we’re doing a backyard Valentine’s camping trip, setting up the tent & grilling out with smores, bringing some music back there and watching the stars – since it’s on a Thursday we need to camp close to home, and this is pretty much 100% free 🙂


  28. says

    I love the “Float My Boat” idea. So cute! One really memorable Valentine’s Day was during my sophomore year in high school. My HS boyfriend created a scavenger hunt that took me all over school. All my friends followed me around the campus as I found each of the clues, and it ended with a huge present that the high school secretary was keeping in her office. So much fun!


  29. says

    Back in 2008, after my boyfriend and I moved in together, we began looking to adopt a kitten. We hadn’t struck any luck the first few places we looked and had been keeping an eye on craigslist. When Valentine’s Day came, I was sick and left work early to go to the Dr’s. When I got home, I found a 5 week old kitten that my boyfriend adopted and brought home all on his work break!


  30. says

    -What awesome ideas, Julie! My husband and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary http://happyhoyt.blogspot.com/2013/02/twenty-year-anniversary.html and I wish I had seen this before then. Since this we be our 25th Valentine’s Day together, (5 years dating before marriage) we have mellowed out a bit. But this post has renewed my Valentine’s Day spirit. Thanks!
    -Favorite Valentine’s Day for us was a “love scavenger hunt” where we sent each other to all our favorite places in town to spend time together. We took turns and did it together so we could reminisce about each place. It was a lot of fun!
    -I have to say something about Ryan’s hair in that scrapbook picture. He looks so different with long wavy hair…very surfer dude! 😉


  31. says

    Thank you for great ideas, Julie! My man and I just celebrated one year and I bought him a very nice watch so I wanted to keep it budget friendly but still meaningful for Valentines day! I definitely will be doing one of these 🙂


  32. says

    I love these budget friendly ideas. Boys are the hardest to shop for sometimes so these sentimental gifts are wonderful.

    My most memorable Valentine’s day was when we had a snow day in college and all classes were closed on V-day 🙂 we got to stay in and snuggle in our own little world.


  33. says

    Very cute! I think one of my favorite valentine’s days was in college. I was sad because my boyfriend at the time and I were in a long distance relationship and couldn’t be together. My roommates decorated the apartment, bought a heart-shaped pizza from Papa Johns, and set out adorable placemats with chocolate boxes and handmade valentines. It was really, really sweet!


  34. Stephanie says

    Fun ideas, thanks! My husband and I usually do low key but heartfelt gifts, which are more meaningful in my opinion. This year, though, we may have to postpone our celebrations as we will need to focus on our new little Valentine, who “interrupted” our V-Day when she was born last Feb. 14. 😉


  35. says

    Love all of these ideas!! My husband and I aren’t much of gift-givers – we prefer experiences together such as traveling, going out to eat, visiting an aquarium, etc. But, these ideas are so cute I just might have to get or make my sweetie a little something this year. 😉


  36. Heather says

    Hahaha, gotta love Ryan’s hair! I’m sure he wish he could go back to growing it out, eh?

    Very cute ideas! I love the idea of a smaller budget – takes all the stress out of Valentine’s Day. Although I might hint at that root beef float basket! Ingenious 😀


  37. says

    My boyfriend came into my college english class with a huge cardboard heart sign draped over him that said, “Bret, will you be my valentine?”
    In the middle of class!
    It was hilarious, but also the sweetest thing. Really showed me how far he was willing to go to show he loved me haha.


  38. Kate Brown says

    Julie! All of these ideas are wonderful. I will save this post in my web archives forever, because I want to use absolutely every one of these gift ideas….I just need to space them out over a few years. I think I am going to make the 52 Reasons Why I Love You deck of cards this time around, but I will for sure make the Framed Keys, the Embroidered Met, Engaged, Married Poster, and the Personalized Date Calendar.

    Thank you!


  39. says

    I absolutely love all your ideas! I think the poster board is my favorite! I’ve seen it done with candy wrappers on Pinterest but your board is too cute. I will definitely be making note of these for the future!


  40. Lisa says

    We do a 20 minute/$20 max Target dash to get each other a present (or multiple presents). Last year he got me a shower curtain! We also come up with the cheeziest/non-traditionally romantic restaurant we could go to instead of the forced romance at an expensive dimly lit steak place etc. This year we’re heading to the local casino’s all you can eat crab leg buffet! Nothing spells romance more than stinky crab juice running down your fingers!


  41. says

    I love these ideas so cute! We’ll always set a limit and try to do more meaningful rather than expensive gifts, I think it’s always much more fun that way! And we usually make dinner or order dinner in and have a picnic dinner on the living room floor ha So much nicer being alone than beating those restaurant crowds on Valentines! And I love those mission ideas, so fun!


  42. says

    For my highschool boyfriend I went to his house early in the morning before school and mad a giant heart in his driveway with mountain dew cans… and My curent boyfriend I made him a home made heart shaped pizza! super cheese but loved it!


  43. says

    This year my bible study and I doing free baby sitting at our church for parents who want to go out on date without the kids! I’m really excited and hopefully a lot of parents take advantage of it! I think the hubby and I will have to V-day the day after this year. I have made him a candy bar card, kinda like the candy hearts one, and he loved it! It’s been awhile so maybe I’ll do that again!


  44. says

    I love all of these ideas! I have already started on the deck of cards. 12 down, 40 to go. Hopefully he’ll like it 🙂 I made him an advent calendar for Christmas, and he was like a little kid when he got to open one every morning, hehe.


  45. says

    I usually bake lots of sweets which I find is inexpensive and special because its handmade. My favorite to make are my mom’s heart-waffle cookies! A recipe will soon be posted on my blog! I think this year will be my best Valentine’s day yet, I get to spend in with my main squeeze in St. Petersburg…my 18-month-old nephew!


  46. says

    I love your ideas and I love Valentine’s! Love doing sentimental things for all the loves in my life;) My hubby’s favorite meal is pizza so it’s been our tradition to always have a heart shaped one on Valentine’s. The only thing I don’t get excited about is a dozen roses! lol. Too traditional and easy;) Hope everyone’s is filled with lots of xoxo


  47. says

    Every year I have been with my husband I have made him a “boy bag”. I get a boy themed gift bag and fill it with his favorite boy things! boxers, dip (when he dipped –YUCK!), cookies, a fun shirt, boy stuff! I have done that the last 9 years and last year I did not make him one (thought maybe he wasnt as in to it as I was). Well, he came home from work and was upset when I hadnt made him one. Long story short, he had one the next day, but has not let me live it down yet! Wont make that mistake again!!


  48. MJ says

    One year I made my then boyfriend coupons for the following year. Things from 1 free massage upon request, to a home cooked dinner. Can be as fun and playful as you want or as naughty as you want. I printed them off, cut them out and got them laminated so that we could reused them. He loved the coupons. Unfortunately the relationship didn’t work but I still love the idea of the coupons.


  49. says

    I love these ideas, Julie! Ryan’s hair is out of control in that scrapbook! too funny!
    I really like the idea of splitting up at the mall or maybe Target with a set budget and time limit. Maybe I can talk the husband into doing that this weekend. Thanks!


  50. says

    Thanks for all the great ideas!! I think the $20 as fast as you can gift is amazing. I am definitely going to suggest that to my bf this year! Also scrap books while they look like they are easy to do definitely take a ton of time!! I did one for my boyfriend for our 2 year anniversary and it took me forever to pick out pictures, quotes, and everything else. Ryan looks like a lucky guy!


  51. says

    These are all great ideas!!!!!! This year, I’ve already got my scrapbook completed 🙂 It was a year of on-and-off work (when he’s not around!), covering a monthlong vacation from back when. Hope it brings back all those wonderful memories 🙂



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