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14 Romantic Cheap Ideas for Valentine’s Day (2024)

14 Romantic Cheap Ideas for Valentine’s Day (2024)


There’s no reason to spend a lot of money when celebrating Valentine’s Day this year. These are cheap ideas for Valentine’s Day that put the focus where it should be – on the people you love! Get the tips on how to celebrate your true love without taxing your budget.

Photo credit: Conger Design on Pixabay

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This article originally published February 13th, 2015 and has been updated and republished with a new date.

Need a Few Cheap Ideas for Valentine’s Day?

Pass on the pricey red roses. Please don’t spend a fortune on teddy bears, chocolate and diamonds, either. Fancy dinners can break the bank.

Not to say we don’t love all those things or wouldn’t appreciate them. But in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, the prices for all these things skyrocket!

I want to have a sweet Valentine’s Day but I don’t want to spend a bunch of money either. There’s no need to spend a lot of cash just to do something special. Try these cheap ideas for Valentine’s Day, or save them for any day when you just want to show some love!

If you’re trying to budget and need cheap ideas for Valentine’s Day, keep reading. Some of these happy Valentine’s Day tips are great for the entire family. Others are more romantic Valentine’s Day ideas that are appropriate for adults.

Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day at Disneyland
Photo Credit: Disney Parks

Important Things to Know About Cheap Valentine’s Day Ideas

The bottom line about celebrating these cheap ideas for Valentine’s Day? BOTH partners have to mutually agree!

Is one of you is onboard with a tight budget, but the other is expecting roses and dinner out? That’s a disconnect that needs to be communicated ahead of February 14th.

There’s going to be some serious discord if the couple isn’t in agreement on expectations for the day. If you’re considering using any of these low-cost Valentine’s Day ideas, definitely review the plans ahead of time with your partner.

Photo credit: Jolier on Pixabay

Make Valentine’s Day Meaningful

What’s something meaningful to your family? Think of something that doesn’t happen very often. But when it does, it’s cause for celebration!

For us, it’s adding bacon for breakfast. Just the scent of that bacon baking in the oven gets us all giddy! It’s a rare treat.

Think about your family’s “bacon for breakfast”. What’s the one special thing to add to your Valentine’s Day that will get you and your partner excited?

There are plenty of low-cost ways to celebrate. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Hot chocolate bar with toppings
  • Using fancy wine glasses, even if you’re just pouring sparkling cider
  • Playing video games together as a family
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch
  • Take a bike ride in the park
  • Have a board game night, complete with a sweet treat to share
Valentine's charcuterie board with cheese, crackers and veggies

Set Up Easy and Lovable Valentine’s Decorations

Another cheap way of making Valentine’s Day special is with charming decorations. I’m not talking about anything you need to buy or spend a lot of money on. Just simple and sweet decor you can create using things you already have on hand.

As an example, my kids and I made this chain of paper hearts using construction paper hearts glued onto sheer ribbon. I hand painted the wooden picture frames myself with acrylic paint for just a few dollars.

Need a Few Cheap Ideas for Valentine's Day? Here are 5 special ways to tell someone you love them on Valentine's Day without spending a bunch of money!

Listen to Their Love Language

Have you heard about the 5 Love Languages? This popular bestselling book by Gary Chapman offers up both practical and insightful ideas to connect more deeply with your partner. The book is an affordable gift idea that’s filled with tips for growing your love.

Most of the ideas offer inexpensive ways to show affection. Naturally, the love languages encourage connection when practiced year round and not just this time of year.

Each person falls somewhere in one of these categories, or perhaps into several.

Words of Affirmation

Say supportive things, like “I love when you…” or “Thank you so much for helping me with that”.

Acts of Service

Do helpful things, especially without being asked. This could include emptying the dishwasher, filling the car’s gas tank or running an errand.

Receiving Gifts

Give a gift, whether it be store-bought or handmade. The love language of a thoughtful gift should be tailored specifically to the person on the receiving end.

Quality Time

Spend meaningful time together. This includes having a conversation, going on vacation together, or taking a special date night.

Physical Touch

Affection through contact, including holding hands, kissing or _______ (wink!).

Curious to know which love language you or your partner fall under? Try the Love Language Minute for Couples, a 100 day challenge with a Christian focus.

Craft Your Own Valentine’s Day Cards

We all might say, “I Love You”. But how often do we write down our thoughts and feelings?

Store-bought cards can be so expensive. The sentiment of a handmade card is much more heartfelt. Here are a few ideas for making your own cards.

Valentine's Day cards made with the Cricut Joy

Craft a card by folding scrapbook paper in half and drawing a picture on the front. Write something sweet inside (it’s the sentiment that counts). Try simple black construction paper and a white Sharpie to give it a “chalkboard” effect.

Hide a love note where it’s sure to be found. For bonus points, write several notes and hide them around the house for next level romance!

Mail a love letter to your sweethearts in advance of the holiday. Everyone loves to receive special mail!

Make a gift to go with your card. Use these free printable Valentine Bookmark Cards. There are 9 total designs, intended to hold an easy-to-make handmade wooden bookmark.

READ MORE: For the best cheap valentine’s day ideas, read this article of inexpensive Valentine’s Day ideas. There’s a list of ideas and tips for handcrafted cards and gifts.

Plan a Valentine’s Day Trip

If an elaborate vacation isn’t feasible on your bank account, consider a day trip for just the two of you. Day trips can be financially doable, because there’s no hotel involved. Just return home at the end of your day out!

Figure out how far you want to drive and plot out your day trip destination. These are a few thoughts to consider for cheap Valentine’s Day date ideas:

  • Choose a local park for a homemade picnic and nap on the grass.
  • Linger over coffee from the corner café and chat, uninterrupted.
  • Window shopping can be fun, even if you don’t plan to buy anything. Visit the bookstore or local library and peruse the stacks together. Wander at the thrift store. Visit an open house.
  • Exercise by going hiking or biking together. Walk through a botanical garden or garden nursery.
  • Do you have an unused gift card in the house? Redeem it together on this special day.
  • Many local museums offer free admission to residents on certain days of the month. Schedule your day trip on one of these days to avoid entry fees.
Woman standing with electric bicycle

A Special Valentine’s Day Meal…at Home

We eat dinner at home nearly every night. Eating at home on Valentine’s Day certainly wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary. These are a few tips for Valentine’s Day dinners at home:

Choose a special menu for February 14th and choose something you don’t normally eat. Mixing up the usual menu is a creative way to spice up a romantic meal.

Order a meal subscription service as a splurge for the week. Dinnerly is cheaper than a fancy dinner out and you can customize your meal plan. Bonus: no grocery shopping because all the ingredients come to your front door!

Shrimp bowl from Dinnerly

Buying steaks or seafood at the grocery and preparing them at home is going to cost at least 50% less than if you went out, especially if you want to have a glass of wine with dinner.

Add a little romance with a pretty table setting and candles. Leave the dishes for tomorrow!

Host your own special meal for a Valentine’s Day at home with kids. If you’d rather have a romantic dinner after the kids go to bed, aim for a sweet breakfast or lunch with kid-friendly foods.

Homemade pizza with heart shaped pepperoni on top
Kids will love a Valentine themed pizza!

Start a Love Journal

If you and your partner feel like “two ships passing in the night”, a love journal can be an easy way to stay connected. A simple notebook and a pen is all that’s needed.

Here’s how it works: One person writes an affectionate note in the journal then leaves it for the other person to read.

They continue to write back and forth in this way, leaving these personal messages of love, appreciation and friendship. Very easy to do even with just a few minutes a day.

Valentine’s Day Movie Night on the Sofa

Save yourself a bunch of money by renting the latest Redbox or streaming on Netflix for a fraction of the cost of watching in a theater. Buy a big bag of popcorn, bake some cupcakes for dessert and have a movie marathon after the kids are in bed.

Best part? Watch in your pajamas and cuddle up! Pick a “new-to-you” movie or a classic you’ve already seen 23 times. Binge watch a favorite series.

I’m in love with Jane Austin movies, so I could watch Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightly over and over. But I’m not sure my husband would be able to stay awake past the opening scene! No need to choose a romantic movie; it’s best to choose something you’ll both enjoy.

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

Grab a big blanket and curl up together on the sofa. Pull out a picture frame, photo album or scrapbook to reminisce over. It’s one of our favorite past times.

These are a few ideas for ways to recollect (PS: Kids love hearing those stories too!)

  • Recall your thoughts about when you first met.
  • Share thoughts about your first date.
  • Play your favorite song or music from the reception at your wedding.
  • Talk about your wedding day.
My husband & I love to reminisce about the surprise rain on our wedding day!

Homemade Valentine Sweet Treats

If you’re on a budget this Valentine’s Day, you can still spoil your sweethearts with homemade goodies. Baking your own Valentine snacks can save money while also allowing you to control ingredients.

My husband’s love language is Acts of Service, so he’s thrilled when I bake his favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! Find out your honey’s favorite desserts and make a few for Valentine’s Day.

Try out this round-up of over 50 Valentine’s Day treats for kids (or adults) that they’ll love to indulge in. Check out the recipe categories including cookies and cupcakes.

These Double Decker Brownies are a favorite treat in our house and often requested as a holiday dessert.

Cheap Valentine’s Day Gifts

If your honey’s love language is receiving gifts, then you’ll want to honor that with a budget-appropriate present. These are a few cheap ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts that are both practical and precious!

Listen closely to what your partner might need and purchase that item. Whether they need a new phone charger, a screwdriver, slippers, a coffee shop gift card reload, whatever…gift those practical items!

If you and your sweetheart love Disney, gift one of these budget-friendly Disney Valentine’s Day Gifts.

Buying for the lady in your life? Try one of these best gifts for women.

IPSY offers customized make-up bags with skincare (for under $15!)

If chocolate is a must, purchase an petite bag of high-end chocolates (around $12) and share them together.

Consider getting something that you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come. A combination classic game board set offers up lots of at-home fun, for under $15.

Looking for more fun ways to celebrate your kids on Valentine’s Day? See this post 7 Inexpensive and Lovable Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids.

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