20 Best Cheap Valentine’s Day Ideas and Gifts

Finding affordable ways to spend quality time together with that special someone can be a challenge. That’s why I’ve put together this list of cheap Valentine’s Day ideas and affordable gift ideas that won’t cost you a fortune.

cheap Valentine's Day ideas

Best Cheap Valentine’s Day Ideas and Gifts

When people think about Valentine’s Day date activities, things like a bouquet of red roses, fancy dinners, and dressing up for the evening often come to mind.

In a recent year, spending on jewelry topped 6 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day! While jewelry can be a thoughtful gift, not everyone has the means to afford expensive items or an upscale romantic dinner.

In thinking back about some of my most enjoyable date nights with my husband, several of them were cheap or free date night ideas.

I had a lot of fun putting together this list of fun and affordable Valentine’s Day ideas. I’ve also included a few inexpensive gifts if you need ideas for something to give.

As you look through this list, jot down some notes about ones that might work for you. You really can have a good time together without breaking the bank!

Affiliate links included below, which means I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure here.

family valentines day tea party

1. Handwritten Love Letter

One of my favorite low-cost (or free) Valentine’s Day ideas is writing a handwritten love note or letter.

You could use some pretty stationary or just use a piece of notebook paper if you really need to go low-budget!

I like to buy holiday cards at the dollar store, usually for just 50 cents to a dollar.

​Taking the time to create a handwritten letter expressing the things you appreciate about your spouse is a great way to show your love.

2. Create a Photo Book or Scrapbook

Depending on how long you’ve been married, you may not have a lot of printed photos sitting around.

I got married in 1998 when film cameras were still a big thing, so I have quite a few photos from our first years of marriage.

If you have physical photos, put some of these together in a cheap photo album or scrapbook. Then sit down together on the couch to view your photos and reminisce about your time together and how your relationship has blossomed.

Give yourself bonus points if you have photos from your first date.

If all you have are digital photos, you could organize these and scroll through them on your phone, or cast your phone photos to a TV.

You can also get digital photo albums with slideshow and music functions so the two of you can take a photo trip down memory lane!

3. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Another fun and inexpensive way to spend Valentine’s Day together is having a scavenger hunt or treasure hunt.

romantic valentine's day scavenger hunt

This can be as simple or elaborate as you want it. You’d write down some clues on scraps of paper or romantic note cards and then hide these around your house, yard, or someplace like a secluded park.

You could write love notes along with each clue, and include small items like pieces of candy as prizes.

Your partner then goes searching for the clues, with the last clue ending in a special spot like the dining room or a picnic area for a romantic meal.

4. Have a Movie Night

If you and your spouse enjoy romantic movies, having a Valentine’s Day movie night could be another good idea for a cheap activity.

Hallmark Valentine’s movies can be a little cheesy but still a fun way to cuddle up on the sofa for the evening.

Or you could use your favorite streaming service to find a special movie to watch.

And for an extra treat, why not whip up some healthy homemade caramel popcorn and hot cocoa to enjoy along with your movie?

5. Give a Personalized Mug

​One affordable yet meaningful Valentine’s Day gift is a personalized mug.

All you have to do is upload a photo to be printed on the mug. You can also add a personal message along with the photo.

This makes the perfect gift to give to your spouse for Valentine’s Day!

6. Make Some Special Treats

making cookies as cheap Valentine's day idea

Another cheap Valentine’s Day idea is making some special treats.

These Valentine Pretzel Treats are a great choice.

If you prefer a low-carb sweet treat, these Valentine’s desserts are just the thing!

7. Have a Picnic

This may not be an option if you live in an area where February is typically wintry.

But If the weather cooperates, why not have a romantic picnic at a local park or in the great outdoors?

We live in an area with quite a few public recreation areas and parks, which would be perfect for this cheap Valentine’s Day date idea.

You could pack a picnic basket with lunch and include a few Valentine’s treats.

If you like to ride bikes, you might also go for a bike ride before or after the picnic.

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, you could even have an indoor picnic where you spread a blanket on the floor or use a special tablecloth.

8. Romantic Candlelit Dinner

Having a romantic candlelit dinner at home could be the perfect Valentine’s date idea.

All you need are some dinner candles and candle holders (you can use LED candles if you prefer).

Make your spouse’s favorite meal (here are some cheap and easy meal ideas if you need some inspiration), turn down the lights, and enjoy a romantic meal with your true love.

9. Make a Personalized Puzzle

Valentine's day couples puzzle

One of the best cheap Valentine’s Day gifts is a personalized puzzle.

All you have to do is upload a photo of the two of you together, and it gets turned into a fun jigsaw puzzle!

Wrap the puzzle in some wrapping paper or a special gift bag and present it to your spouse.

​Putting the puzzle together would be the perfect way to spend your special day.

10. Visit the Library

Going to your local library may not seem super romantic. But if the two of you love to read, you could spend some time looking for good books to check out.

Once you find a new book (or two!), bring it home and snuggle up on the couch while the two of you do some reading. (Try reading out loud if your spouse likes audio books.)

You could also combine this cheap activity with another one such as going on a picnic or attending a local free event after visiting the library.

Some libraries also have a coffee shop. If so, having a special hot drink after you browse the library might be another fun way to celebrate the day.

valentine's day coffee with book

11. Attend a Free Local Event

If you live in or near a bigger city, you may be able to find free local events to attend.

My husband and I used to live in a larger city where we would attend free or low-cost musical and theater performances. This was one of our favorite date ideas both before and after we were married.

12. Create a Memory Jar

This next idea for a cheap Valentine’s Day idea is really creative!

All you need for this activity is an empty jar (to go really cheap, you could even use an empty and washed pickle jar or something similar).

Write some of your favorite memories with your spouse on slips of paper, then fold them up and place them in the jar.

You could write things like “our first date,” “at the beach in 2021,” “our honeymoon,” “favorite memory from last year,” etc.

Then remove the papers one by one and talk about the good memories. You could include as many or as few memories as you want.

You could also decorate the jar using colored construction paper, ribbons, or anything else to make it look festive.

13. Play a Game

Another great Valentine’s Day date idea that doesn’t cost much is having a game night.

I previously wrote about the best two-player board games for couples, and any of those would be perfect for a romantic game night.

Whether you prefer strategy games, mystery games, or trivia night, you’re sure to find some great ideas for a fun Valentine’s evening!

14. Listen to Favorite Songs

Does your spouse have a favorite song or album? If so, surprise them by playing their favorite music during or after a cozy dinner.

​This would also be a great time to put on some of your favorite love songs.

Seemingly small things like this can be a great romantic gesture, all without having to spending any money!

15. Make a Personalized Calendar

One more thoughtful and affordable Valentine’s Day gift idea is a personalized calendar.

This is the perfect way to celebrate your relationship throughout the year each time you look at the calendar with its meaningful photos.

16. Write a Love Song or Poem

valentine's day love poem poetry

If you have a poetic bent, why not write a poem or song expressing your love for your spouse?

And if you like to perform, you could read or sing your literary creation, then have a romantic dinner, play a game, or do another fun activity.

17. Make Bookmarks

Another creative and affordable Valentine’s Day idea is making your own bookmarks.

These could be as simple or elaborate as you want to make them.

You could personalize your bookmarks any way you want to, including drawings, poetry, or romantic quotes. Here are some Valentine’s Day coloring pages that you might be able to modify and use with bookmarks.

18. Give Massages

One of the best low-cost ways to spend some time together on Valentine’s Day is giving each other massages.

If you don’t have massage oil on hand, coconut oil or olive oil work well for massages.

This affordable option doesn’t require going out and makes for the perfect romantic date!

19. Go Thrifting

This next idea may seem a little “out there,” but might be really fun for some couples.

You could visit local thrift stores or flea markets looking for affordable items.

I’ve found some nice clothes as well as home décor items while thrifting with my husband.

As a special Valentine’s Day activity it might be fun to go thrifting for items you could use for your Valentine’s Day evening. You could look for things like inexpensive candleholders and candles, old movie DVDs, and puzzles or games.

20. Make Homemade Pizza

The last option for cheap Valentine’s Day ideas is making homemade pizza.

This would be a great date idea for couples who enjoy cooking.

Here’s the pizza recipe my family uses, but there are plenty of other recipe options from which to choose.

You can also buy premade pizza dough to cut out the steps involved with making homemade pizza, and then add your own sauce and toppings.

Cheap Valentine’s Day Ideas

If you’re looking for affordable alternatives to expensive meals or outings, I hope you’ll find some inspiration in this list of cheap Valentine’s Day ideas!

Have you tried any of these, or are there other inexpensive Valentine’s Day date ideas you would add?

More Valentine’s Day Inspiration

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