With Valentine's Day approaching you may be in a pinch to find a gift your valentine will love. Americans, on average, plan to spend approximately $134 on candy, cards, gifts, dinner and more, up slightly from $131 last year, according to the National Retail Federation. If you like to live frugally, it can be a challenge to find something your valentine will love that won't drag down your budget.
The marketing industry may make you believe you need to spend a large amount of money to make your valentine happy, but there are ways to celebrate the holiday on a budget. If you're struggling with deciding what to get your valentine without spending too much, here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Gifts for Her
Make her dinner. Who doesn't like to go out for Valentine's Day dinner? It's a romantic way to enjoy a nice meal. The downside is that you have to fight throngs of other couples doing the same thing, and you may encounter higher prices just because it's a special occasion.
If you're looking for a memorable way to celebrate Valentine's Day with the woman in your life, then consider making her dinner. If the kitchen intimidates you, there are other options such as grilling her favorite dish or ordering in a nice meal. She will love the thoughtfulness and the time you took to prepare it, and you get a much more intimate dinner as opposed to fighting the crowds. If you have children and want to include them, make it a family time to celebrate love.
Arrange a day out with her girlfriends. A great way to show the woman in your life you love and appreciate her is by giving her the day off. Ask some of her friends to join her, and make it a surprise for her. You can set aside some money for her to do something special that day such as getting a massage, going out to lunch at a place she's been wanting to try or seeing a movie. A day off can be refreshing for her and give her some much appreciated time with friends as well.
Gifts for Him
Pick a 12-pack for him. Men generally don't need something big and glamorous for Valentine's Day, but they do appreciate a thoughtful gift. If you're still looking for that gift, consider putting together a 12-pack of beer for the guy in your life. A great thing about this Valentine's gift option is it generally costs $25 or less. This is a good option if your man enjoys a beer from time to time. It'll give him some variety. Take it a step further by picking some new beers that are similar to those he already likes so he can try something new. If you're not certain where to get a pack you can create, try your local grocery store as many allow you to build your own six packs.
Create a custom gift basket. Most men are practical and like things they can use. Take advantage of this and create a gift basket for Valentine's Day. The key is to customize it to what your valentine likes. There are a number of themes you could go for with a gift basket, such as: something sports-related, bookmarks and a book light for the reader, gadgets for the tech-savvy guy or a couple of new tools for the do-it-yourself lover.
Don't stop at the practical angle with this Valentine's Day gift idea. Add something fun to it such as food. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, or so they say, so add homemade cookies or another baked item to the basket. This could turn out to be one of his favorite gifts.
Shopping for a Valentine's gift for that special someone can be expensive, but there are ways to spend less. While it can be a challenge to find a gift your valentine will love, these ideas will get you started.
John Schmoll is the founder of personal finance website frugalrules.com, an online community centered on increasing financial literacy, budgeting, investing and finding freedom through frugality.
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