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Valentine’s Day Gifting: Romance on a Budget

Love may conquer all, but it doesn't have to decimate your finances in the process. Read on for how to be both romantic and realistic this Valentine's Day.

February 11, 2022

While they say you can’t put a price on love, sometimes love can be pretty darn expensive. Dinners out, flowers, jewelry, and grand romantic gestures can all come at a high cost — but expressing your love for someone doesn’t have to. 

Even if you’re a little short on cash this Valentine’s Day, you don’t have to sit out Cupid’s favorite holiday. Here’s how you can be romantic without spending any money and a few affordable ideas for Valentine’s day gifts

How to embrace romance without spending a penny

Most of us enjoy the occasional flashy gift, but they’re by no means required to show someone how you feel. In fact, the gestures that require time and thought instead of just swiping a credit card are almost always guaranteed to be more meaningful and memorable. 

Here are a few ways you can embrace romance without needing to spend money.

Learn their love language 

While gift-giving and receiving is one of the five love languages, there are four others to learn about.

Sit down with your paramour and take the Love Language Quiz to find out what makes your heart skip a beat. Not only is this a fun and free romantic activity, but it'll bring you closer together and help you learn how to be romantic without spending money. 

Is physical touch your partner’s main love language? Hold their hand on your next walk. Do they value acts of service? Wake up before them on Valentine’s Day to a hot breakfast and a sparkling clean kitchen. 

Put it in writing

Writing down what you love and value about your partner will make them feel appreciated on Valentine’s Day and whenever they choose to re-read your card, love letter or poem. They’ll especially appreciate this gesture if “words of affirmation” is their love language. 

Don’t rush through this task. Take some time to reflect on what makes your partner special and why you’re glad they’re in your life. Write it down in whatever format you prefer. Consider writing a first draft on your computer and work out exactly what you want to say so when you whip out your pen, you have a plan.

Want to take the romance a step further? Here’s a helpful tutorial for making a homemade card.

Put some quality time on the calendar

No gift compares to spending time with the one you love. Because Valentine’s Day comes and goes so quickly, show your partner you’re committed to spending quality time with them on the 14th and beyond. 

Plan a fun date like an at-home movie marathon or a romantic beach picnic for Valentine’s Day, but keep the fun surprises going by adding more dates to their calendar. 

Need more ideas?

  • Test out a new recipe with them once a week 

  • Make time for their favorite hike once a month 

  • Plan some upcoming tech-free dates where you play board games, work on your garden or enjoy another hobby together 

Affordable and romantic Valentine’s Day gifts

While we love a good romantic gesture that doesn’t involve gifts, there’s nothing wrong with giving a gift to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank to impress them. These are a few fun, affordable and romantic Valentine’s Day gifts that work for tight budgets. 

  • Mix it up. A Spotify playlist is all well and good, but if you can mix in a little nostalgia with your custom playlist for your Valentine, you’ll really pull on their heartstrings. If they still have a way to play a CD or mixtape, create one of them to remind them of how good it felt to be young and in love. They’ll thank you the next time they’re stuck in traffic. 

  • Learn something new. All couples should learn and grow together. For less than $50, you can pick up a fun kit that will make it easy to learn something new, like how to make bubble tea or grow a gourmet garden.

  • At home spa day. For a few bucks, you can pick up some affordable candles, bubble bath and all the cucumbers you need for a relaxing at home spa day. Turn off Netflix and spend a night at home unwinding. A relaxed couple is a happy couple.

  • Book exchange. More often than not, the most romantic presents aren’t expensive ones, but ones that show your partner you’re listening. Agree to do a book swap where you each pick out a paperback or two that you think the other person would enjoy. You can even pick out used books to keep the cost low. The effort you go through will mean so much more than picking out a pricy gift. 

  • Repeat your first date. Chances are, you didn’t spend all that much on your first date. Pull out the most nostalgic elements from that date (type of food you ate, music you listened to, clothes you wore, etc.) and try to recreate the date at home. You’ll spend all night reminiscing with a nice reminder of why you fell in love in the first place.


Don’t forget about affordable Valentine's day gifts for friends

Whether or not you’re in a relationship this February, you can still spread the love with a Valentine's Day gift. Show your friends you care this Valentine’s Day by sending them a thoughtful card, dropping off some baked goods, or by treating them to a latte out. 

An act of service is often free and always appreciated. Offer to watch their little one while they go on a date night with their partner or take their dog in for the weekend the next time they’re out of town. A small gesture goes a long way, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to make that little bit of extra effort. 

Is credit card debt breaking your heart this Valentine’s Day? Work with Tally† to pay down your debt so you can celebrate the holiday debt-free one day. Tally is a credit card debt repayment tool offering a lower-interest line of credit that can help streamline your repayment process. 

​​†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.