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10 Budget Friendly Valentine’s Day Ideas

Disclosure: This post may contain third party affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link within a post Broke Dolly may earn a small commission which helps support the blog and content (at no cost to you). Please check the disclosure and privacy policy pages for more details. Thank you so much for your kindness and support. 

If you know me, you know that I love holidays. Not all exactly equally, somehow Easter seems to get somewhat neglected and Halloween is overdone. Christmas is a month long extravaganza in my house and St. Patrick’s Day does nothing for me. 

Now that we’re nearing February I’m starting to think more and more about what I should get my boyfriend and my closest friends for Valentine’s Day. I know a lot of people aren’t big on the holiday but I like it. It celebrates love! It’s nice when you’re actually in love but I’ve spent a few solo and have no problem looking from the outside in or better yet, celebrating with friends. 

So whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s or Galentine’s (or both like me) you’re probably thinking about just how you should celebrate. And if you’re like me, how you should do so without breaking the bank!

What would I really like to get my boyfriend? Comedy show tickets. Pete Davidson and John Mulaney. Together. Close to home. Absolute perfection. But I was too slow on the purchase and every single show is sold out. Tickets on the secondary market are now selling for three times what the face value is. Ugh. 

Since I’m trying to save money and spend less, unless I get extremely lucky and added to the friends and family list (hey, no harm in hoping!) it looks like I’m going to need another option. But seriously, maybe I need to look into buying tickets in bulk and reselling them. Three times what you paid for them people?! What a racket. That would be one way to make some extra money and pay off my student loans. 

Ok, I promise I’m done sulking. And I also promise if I ever get into the ticket game, I’ll only sell my tickets for double of face value. Hey, I’m not greedy!

All jokes aside, I think tickets are awesome gifts. It’s something you can do together, it’s an experience. Especially awesome when both of you enjoy whatever you got tickets to. I luck out with sports since we’re both Mets and Jets fans (I know, how awful right?!) but our music tastes couldn’t be any more different. But I mean, I just don’t understand how someone doesn’t love obscure eighties music.

Remember, tickets are not always necessarily crazy expensive. Buy bleacher seats for sporting events or attend minor league games. If sports aren't your thing, find musicians or comedians who may not be at the top of their game anymore (or hasn’t blown up yet). This can be fun and nostalgic. Like remember that band you loved in high school? Yeah, they’re probably still touring and offering $30 tickets.

Don't like those ideas? Don’t worry I have some other ideas for an inexpensive Valentine’s!

1) Candy. Everyone loves candy and it’s pretty much synonymous with Valentine’s Day. Avoid grocery stores and pharmacies and head to discount retailers like Dollar General (or even your local dollar store) to save a little bit of money.

You can skip the dedicated Valentine’s section and get a little creative too - maybe your best friend hates orange starbursts or green skittles. Buy a few bags and a cute container and pick out the flavors they don’t like. As a bonus it shows just how much you’ve been paying attention.

2) Doughnuts. Get half a dozen doughnuts and write a cute message on the inside of the box. Sweet and inexpensive.

Valentine's Day Doughnuts
Valentine's Day doughnuts? Yes, please!
3) Care packages. Get yourself a big box and fill it with all the things your boyfriend loves. Focus on food and include all his favorite snacks. Focus on beer and include some old favorites and some new ones he might like to try. Or include some snacks and practical items like new gloves, pajamas or t-shirts.

4) Movie night boxes. Get a ceramic or plastic popcorn container and stuff it with all the best movie snacks like popcorn (obviously a necessity!), Twizzlers, Sno-Caps (remember Sno-Caps?!) and gummy bears with some DVDs for a movie night in, forgo the DVDs for a couple of gift cards for the local movie theater if you’d like to turn it into date night. You should probably buy your snacks there though, I hear the theater people prefer it that way.

5) Handmade gifts. I’m not crafty whatsoever, but if you are, know two things 1) I’m insanely jealous of you and 2) handmade gifts are amazing and thoughtful. Get yourself on Pinterest and start looking up ideas! Seriously, whenever someone gives me a handmade gift my heart melts.

It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, bake some heart shaped cookies (or any cookies for that matter). If baking isn’t your thing fill up a jar with 365 reasons of why you love them, what you appreciate about them, why they’re the best, etc. If you’ve been together for less than a year do it for the equivalent amount of days you’ve been dating (i.e. dating since January first, 45 reasons). Or just write the reasons down on a piece of paper. I refuse to believe there’s anyone out there who doesn’t love a love note.

6) Just a card. I think a card is all you need. Little disclaimer here, I’m a total sap that saves all my cards in a shoebox I occasionally dump out on my bedroom floor so I can admire all the cards I’ve received. Then I sit in my little card pile and read them over and over again. I know this is atypical behavior so maybe don’t put all your eggs in the card basket unless you have your own little weirdo in a card pile in her bedroom right now. Then definitely go with just a card and a thoughtful note. If not maybe go with a funny card.

7) Coupon books. Give the person you love a free pass on vacuuming or dishes. Or get romantic with it - free massages, specially planned dates, control over the remote control. Ok, maybe that last one isn’t so much romantic in the traditional sense but if someone willingly hands you a remote you know they love you. Especially if you’re going to subject them to a Paula Zahn marathon.

8) Make dinner. Make your person their favorite meal. Who doesn’t like being surprised with their favorite thing to eat? Especially if they don’t have it often, maybe it’s even kind of a pain to cook or you’re like me and have set your fair share of small(ish) oven fires and avoid the kitchen.

If you’re not much of a cook, pick up their favorite take out. If you're set on going out, breakfast and lunch are cheaper alternatives to dinner. Just make it a point to focus on each other. Seriously, put your phone down and talk to each other.

9) Spend time doing their favorite activity. You don’t have to do anything crazy, just take them to their favorite bookstore, go on a hike (or sleigh riding if you have some snow!) or play some video games on the couch together. Whatever floats their boat. Spend some time doing that thing together.

10) Pictures. Print out a couple of  the pictures you have of the two of you (I know you have about 400 to choose from) and put them in a frame. Get a frame for multiple pictures and add a quote or private joke in one of the slots.

Or find map points of important moments that coincide with your pictures, star the exact location and write what happened there like first date, first kiss, favorite spot, best cheesecake. It’s your map, mark out whatever you want.

Another alternative is to make a photo book using Shutterfly or Snapfish, which are offering 50% and 78%, respectively, off of photo books right now.  Now is probably a good time to tell I'm just as big of a sucker for photos as I am cards, my card box has more than a few snapshots in there.

Bonus idea - set up a scavenger hunt! How fun would it be to set up some clues and make a day of it? Go big and send them all over town to meaningful places and end up at the place of where you met.

As for what I'm going to do? I still haven't decided and Pete Davidson still hasn't sent me any comp tickets. But I'm leaning towards doughnuts, a care package of all the best candy and a super sappy card. What can I say? Sappy is what I do best!

No matter what you do, I'm sure it'll be great! Now get out there and have some fun. I hope you have a great Valentine's Day! Do you have any other great and inexpensive gift ideas?
Broke Dolly
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  1. You have some good ideas here. I love movie tickets. This year I am going to make some rose lollipops for my daughter's class. I think it would be a cute idea. thank you for linking up with us at #OMHGWW

    1. Thanks Alice! What a sweet idea to make rose lollipops for your daughter's class. I wouldn't even know where to start but I'm sure yours will look (and taste) amazing! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I could eat that donut right from my computer screen! Thank you for sharing these great ideas. I found you at Wonderful Wednesday.

    1. Did you see Krispy Kreme added conversation doughnuts?(https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/01/24/no-more-sweethearts-candy-krispy-kreme-adds-conversation-doughnuts/2666899002/) to look like sweethearts candy? They look amazing! I wish I had a Krispy Kreme near me. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Lots of fun ideas for Valentine's day! Thanks for sharing with us at Share Some Love. Pinned.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!