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40+ Cheap and Easy Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas (You Won’t Look Cheap!)

Cheap and easy Valentine’s Day gift ideas and dates don’t have to make you LOOK cheap. Let me help you do them right, with this list of 40+ free and cheap valentine’s ideas.

You’re looking for cheap and easy Valentine’s Day ideas for gifts and date activities…but you don’t want to look cheap, right?

couple playing with rose petals, text overlay "41 cheap and easy Valentine's Day Gift ideas"

I totally get it.

I've often wondered how can I make Valentine's special at home.

That's why I've written the ultimate list of cheap Valentine's Day gift ideas + dates (whether staying in OR going out) to help you pull off this one in style.

Use the gift ideas below to show the one you love how much they mean to you (hint: you don’t need a wad of cash to do that).

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Romantic Valentine’s Day Ideas for Free

SO, you’re looking for free things to do on Valentine’s Day.

Fortunately for you, I’ve got loads of ideas to keep the romantic spark alive without overwhelming your wallet.

1. Plaster their Car in Lovey Dovey Post-It Notes

If you’ve got a mountain of post-it notes, then you’re good to go. Just write one reason, per note, of why you love them (or one thing you like about them). Plaster the notes onto their car or their bathroom mirror.

2. Put Together a FREE Escape Room at Home

I just love these free escape room kits! Find audio files for the missions by downloading the free iPhone app or free android app, and you’ll need to get some materials together before your actual date night (like scissors, pens, single-sided printed copies of the free missions, etc.). Solve puzzles, decipher morse codes, and deactivate bombs – all while working together.

3. Create a Mason Jar of Memories

Go back through scrapbooks, albums, your photos on your smartphone, etc. and write little snippets of memories that have meant something to you on small pieces of paper. Fold them up, stick them in a mason jar, and present your love with a jar full of moments you’ve shared together.

4. Create a “Kiss the Ground You Walk On” Night

Use these free printables from The Dating Divas to set up a romantic path your loved one will see as soon as they get home!

5. Valentine's Day Scavenger Hunt

Here's a really cute, free printable that lets you set up a whole Valentine's Day Scavenger Hunt at home! How romantic.

6. Surprise Your Loved One with a Clean House

Paul and I have each surprised one another at different times with a completely clean house (typically we clean together every other week after work). Coming home to a clean, organized home is a great feeling. Light some candles for when they get home, and you’ve got the makings of a beautiful evening.

7. Leave a Lipstick Message on the Mirror

Grab some lipstick or lip gloss and leave a heart, kiss, or message for your beau.

8. Pack their Lunch and Add a Love Note

You could print out free Valentine’s Day lunchbox jokes, or write your own love note. Tuck a love note inside of a lunch you pack for them.

9. Burn a Mixed CD for their Commute

Mixed tapes used to be big when I was around ten. Today you can gather some MP3s from your library of music and create any type of CD you would like. You could leave it out for them with a pretty bow and note, or surprise them on their next commute by leaving it in their CD player.

10. Finish Something You’ve Been Promising to Get to

We have a cabinet door that would not stay closed for the last two years in our kitchen. Talk about annoying! The other day Paul installed a magnet thingy and now it stays closed. I cannot tell you how happy that little act made me! Is there something that you have been promising to complete around your apartment or house? Working on this (and completing it) will show how much you care.

11. Send Poetry Texts

Go to your local library and get out a book of romantic poems. Throughout the day, send a line or two of a romantic poem you have chosen. If nothing else, it will leave your partner guessing! This could be over email, through text, over voicemail, etc.

12. Meet at Home or your Significant Other’s Office for a Homemade Lunch

Depending on your work situation and location to home/spouse’s office, wouldn’t it be fun to meet up and eat a homemade lunch together? When Paul and I lived in our apartment we were both ten minutes away from home so we would meet up to eat lunch every so often at our own table. It wasn’t much time together, but it made the day a bit more special.

13. Wake Up Early and Cook a Hot Breakfast (During the WEEK)

I don’t know about your household, but in ours we only cook hot breakfasts on the weekends. Waking up extra early and making a weekday feel more like a Saturday with eggs, bacon, French toast, or whatever you like to eat (*actually* use that waffle maker!) would certainly show your loved one how much you care.

14. Give a Home Pedicure

Many people love having their feet pampered. You will need a container big enough to fit both feet (filled with hot water), a towel to place around it, and the rest is up to you and your home supplies. You can make an easy homemade sugar scrub to exfoliate with just sugar and oil. Here are some other great tips on how to liven up your home pedicure.

15. Use Some Homemade Chocolate Body Paint

Try out Chef Curtis Stone’s recipe, or this recipe for chocolate body paint. Grab a soft brush from the craft store…and have fun.

Pssst: You might want to check out the 5 Languages of Love List, my list of 31 date night gift ideas for couples or 27 valentines day gifts for girlfriend for some more ideas!

Cute Homemade Valentine’s Day Gifts

Do not underestimate the power of a homemade Valentine’s Day gift – if you put your time and energy into something, your loved one will notice.

Best of all? These will hardly cost anything.

1. Create Love Coupons

There are tons of love coupon templates out there, or love coupons you can just print off and assemble.

2. Print Out this 52-Deck of Date Ideas

Show your love that you’re planning ahead beautiful dates you both get to go on the rest of the year with this free 52-deck of date ideas. Go to your local office store ahead of time, and print it out/put it together. Voila!

3. Create a Marriage Binder

My husband and I took a few, free marriage classes together over the last few years, and WOW, did we enjoy them (plus they made a huge difference!). Why not take the time to buy a beautiful new binder, print out the printables for a free online marriage course (you’ll need two sets for some of these so that you can both fill them out), and dedicate the time with your spouse to go through everything? Again, this shows an incredible commitment and love towards your significant other. Here’s a 10-day free mini-course, free weekly marriage planners, free date night intervention printables, free couple’s therapy worksheets, free couple’s workbook, etc.

4. Create a Magnetic Love Message

Grab a set of magnetic poetry (you might have an old way laying around!), and leave a love message or poem for your beau on their mirror.

5. Shower Them In Love

I LOVE this inexpensive idea for creating a memorable evening for your loved one (hint: it involves filling a bath tub with balloons!). Here's your free printables.

6. Bomb that Box of Chocolates

If you do end up buying them the good ol' box of chocolates, add something special to it by printing out these free romantic chocolate box messages and placing them under each chocolate square. Now she'll be impressed!

Next up — what are some good date ideas for Valentine's Day?

What are Good Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day?

We’ve already covered lots of at-home date night ideas for Valentine’s Day, so now it’s time to look at out-on-the-town date ideas.

Cheap Date Ideas

  • Gym Date: Do you have a gym membership where they have free babysitting? Head to the gym with one another, drop off the little one, and get 1 hour (or however long your gym allows) of alone time. (Hint: our gym is in a community center with a café, so we sometimes do this and hang out at the café for a 90-minute mini-date).
  • Date, Bachelor Style: You know how on the show, The Bachelor, they do the hometown dates? You can set one of these up for your love as well. You’ll learn so much about each other!
  • Go Out for Cheesecake: You can skip going out for dinner, and either meet up at The Cheesecake Factory or the Chocolate Bar for a slice of cheesecake (we love doing this!).
  • Play a Game of Questions at the Coffee Shop: I absolutely love sets of questions for couples to ask each other. They spark conversations, they help you engage with each other (without a television), and you learn something new. Here’s TableTopic’s Couples questions, and a free printable set of couple’s questions.
  • Star Gazing: You can either use PBS.org's Your Sky Tonight, or the Night Sky Network to take a look at the night sky online before heading outside (or snuggling up inside if it is freezing) and gazing into the sky.
  • Cook Together: Choose a new dish to try out in the kitchen. Turn on some music, divide up the work, and just enjoy being together at a leisurely pace.

Cheap Double Date Ideas

Cheap First Date Ideas

  • Snag a Groupon Deal for a Real Experience: You can find some awesome, trendy, first date night experiences, such as Escape Rooms, winery tours, ax throwing, cooking classes…the sky’s the limit. Did I mention you’ll routinely find these deals at 50% off (so they’re actually affordable)?
  • Go to a Trivia Night: Lots of local pubs have free trivia nights. These can be really fun, and spark both great conversations + camaraderie!
  • Drive to the Ocean and Take a Walk at the Beach: Yes – wintertime walks along the surf can be invigorating! Bring a kite, and you’ll have a reason to stay out in the cold a few minutes longer.
  • Volunteer Together: If you know your date is into this sort of thing, then set up a volunteer date at your local animal shelter, church, or any other organization that needs help.
  • Check Out a Tea House: This isn’t a full-blown dinner or lunch, so you’ll save money. Plus the atmosphere is usually quite delightful.

Valentine’s Date Ideas for Teenage Couples

I have an entire article on my site, Money Prodigy, devoted to cheap date ideas for teenage couples you might want to check out.

Pssst: you might want to check out my 27 Valentine's day gift ideas for teenage guys.

In the meantime?

Here's some ideas for you:

1. Set-Up S’mores and an Outdoor Fire

Let your parents help you set up the fire pit in the backyard, with some big outdoor pillows and s’mores. You can play your favorite songs on your phone.

2. Compete in a Round of Iron Chef in Your Parent’s Kitchen (Group Teen Date Night)

Have your parents drop you off at the grocery store to pick up all the supplies needed. Get your free printables here, and have them printed out.

3. Attend a Church Youth Program Event

I don’t know about your church, but ours has awesome youth programs that would be perfect for a teen couple to use as date night.

4. Make Homemade Pizza + Watch a Movie

Gather a few homemade pizza recipes you can make together in someone’s kitchen, and then declare the family room/basement/play room tv yours for the night.

5. Make Roses from Hershey Kisses

This is a neat craft idea that looks pretty simple…and is definitely cheaper than a dozen roses.

Low Key Valentine's Day Date Ideas (Celebrate at Home)

My husband and I often celebrate Valentine’s Day at home – especially now that there are three of us.

Let me share with you some of my favorite, low key Valentine's Day date ideas that will turn your home into a den of romance.

1. Do a Couple’s Yoga Video

There are free couple’s yoga videos all over Youtube – here’s a beginner’s one.

2. Flamingo them…with Love

You know how people put a bunch of pink flamingos in other people’s yards? Do this, but with whatever materials you can find. Check out your dollar store, and see if you can find a bunch of gnomes, or a bunch of hearts, or anything, really, and spread them out in the back or front yard. What a surprise for Valentine’s Day morning!

3. Play a Couple’s Game

Here’s the free Heads Up Spouse game you can print out. You’ll also want to check out the free Pictionary Game for couples.

4. Give a Deluxe Home Massage

Offering a massage is always appreciated, but you can also add some glam to it and show your loved one how much thought you have put into them. First off, brush up on your massage skills with some free instruction. Then, find a comfortable and warm part of your home (increase the heat, use a space heater, or light a fire if need be). If you have some smooth pebbles (check out your landscaping), you can give a hot stone massage. Use oils on hand (baby oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil) to make your own massage oil. Warm up the oil/lotion, towels, etc. to create a very relaxing atmosphere. Light a few candles and enjoy!

5. Do a Chocolate Tasting

When our little guy was an infant, I set up an at-home chocolate tasting date (free printables here). It was so fun for he and I to go to the grocery store luxe chocolate area and pick out 5-7 chocolate bars of all different varieties. Then after he went to sleep that night, my husband and I got to experience something together!

6. Set-up a Scavenger Hunt

This past Easter Paul and I were supposed to go to PA for a baby shower I was hosting and to visit my family together. Last minute his company nixed our plans, and I ended up going alone. I wanted to show Paul how much I cared about him, so I made an Easter Egg Hunt around the house that began with an envelope he was not allowed to open until Easter morning. He was surprised and excited! You can do the same on Valentine’s Day, but hide hearts or little messages instead.

7. Set Up a Fireplace Scene

You can light the fireplace (after the kids go to bed is great), lay down a blanket in front of it, and have some glasses of wine ready for just the two of you.

8. Bust Out the Fondue Pot

Fondue is such an engaging and unique way to experience dinner that it’ll feel like a date. You can go traditional swiss fondue, or chocolate fondue for dessert (and anything in between).  Anyone who has experienced dessert at a fondue restaurant quickly realizes that you can dip just about anything in chocolate: strawberries, rice krispy treats, marshmallows, bananas, pretzels, cheesecake, pound cake, etc. You don’t even need a fondue set; simply make a tray of dippable, cut-up foods, and make a fondue chocolate recipe in a pot over the stove. When you are ready to begin eating, take it off the stove and place it on top of an oven mitt or something that is insulated to help keep it melted (you may need to reheat depending on how long it takes you to gobble down the goodies).

9. Read to One Another

Reading to one another is a very calming, soothing experience. You can choose a children’s book, the bible, Harry Potter, poetry — the sky is the limit.

That's a wrap on all the cheap and easy Valentine's Day gift ideas I could think of for you. If you've got more, please share them below! You never know who you might be helping out.

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Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here.


Friday 24th of January 2020

I love this blog, so many great ideas for Valentine's Day. It's hard to believe how many of them are so obvious and easy to do. Thanks Amanda for this beautiful article, I can't wait to see my boyfriend's surprised face.

breville juicer

Thursday 14th of November 2013

You need to be a part of a contest ffor one of the finest sites on the web. I most certainly will highly recommend this blog!

Barb Friedberg

Tuesday 14th of February 2012

I made a video card with 10 things I love about you. My hubby absolutely went wild!!!


Wednesday 15th of February 2012

Such a great idea!


Tuesday 14th of February 2012

Great suggestions Amanda. I thoroughly enjoyed your opening comments about Valentine's Day. I e-mailed this post to a friend who seemed to take offense to MY Valentine's post. His thoughts are exactly the same as yours.


Wednesday 15th of February 2012

Thanks Matt! I'll have to check out your post:).

Jon - Free Money Wisdom

Monday 13th of February 2012

Great ideas. I love homemade and thoughtful gifts. I did splurge this V-day and bought my fiancee diamond earrings. She wanted to wear them for our upcoming wedding. She actually wrote an article for my website about V-day from a lady's perspective. She had similar ideas as you!


Wednesday 15th of February 2012

I'll have to check out! I'm sure the diamonds will look lovely at your wedding. The cost was partially off-set by that free honeymoon you won anyway...;).