A no-spend Valentine’s Day might be in the cards for you if:
- you’re on a budget (we get it)
- you and your partner have agreed to keep it low-key this year (yep, us too)
- you want to challenge yourself with an out-of-the-box gift (fun!)
- all of the above (good idea!!)
Don’t worry — that doesn’t limit your options.
There are limitless ways you can express your love on Valentine’s Day without having to spend a dime.
Think about how you can recreate favourite experiences at home, make your own gifts, or do romantic acts of service.
Here are 10 thoughtful, romantic Valentine’s Day ideas that we’d personally love to receive. (Cough.) Plus a few low-cost ideas, too.
10 free Valentine’s Day gifts for your sweetie
Ways to show them how much they mean to you.
1. Best if their love language is physical touch: A massage
Set the mood and go all-out for a romantic at-home massage.
You don’t have to spend any money for a spa-like experience. Just find their favourite lotion and a candle or two, play some relaxing music, and tidy up a peaceful corner of the house for a long and luxurious session.
2. Best for the music lover: A playlist
Hearken back to the age-old mixed tape by curating a playlist of songs just for your sweetie.
You can choose tracks that bring up specific memories for the two of you as well as ones that you feel describe your story and your favourite things about them. Or just tunes you think they’ll love.
3. Best if they’re feeling nostalgic: A slideshow
Put together a slideshow of photos and videos from your relationship and set it to a meaningful song.
Connect your computer or mobile device to your TV so you can watch on the big screen together for a sweet date night. Make sure to send them the file so they can watch it again and again.
4. Best if their love language is acts of service: Personalized coupons
Personalized coupons might sound like a tacky DIY gift, but hear us out. If you get creative and specific, we bet you can come up with some ideas that your partner will be more than excited to cash in.
- “Any treat that you’re craving, delivered immediately.”
- “An afternoon where I complete your to-do list while you relax.”
- “Your choice of Sunday activities together, all day.”
- “Your death row meal cooked this evening.”
5. Best for the romantic: A piece of writing dedicated to them
Write your partner a love letter, song, or poem for Valentine’s Day and we’re willing to bet they won’t blink twice about the gift being “free.”
This is such a romantic way to express your love and will become a special memento the two of you can look back on forever.
6. Best for the book lover: Book swap
If your partner is a book lover, consider proposing a book swap in which each of you picks a favourite book from your collection to give to the other.
Write your thoughts, observations, musings in the margins or on sticky notes for your loved one to read as they go through it. Each book will become a one-of-a-kind romantic treasure.
7. Best if they’re overworked and tired: Cooking
Breakfast in bed, homemade brunch, and dinner out are popular Valentine’s Day experiences, but if you want to go the extra mile, how about stepping up and cooking all three meals for your love?
This is especially thoughtful if your partner is feeling overworked and rundown. Think about their favourite foods and do all the shopping, prep, cooking, and cleanup to really help take a load off for the day.
8. Best if their love language is quality time: Day of activities
For this one, the gift is in the thoughtful planning.
What does your sweetie love doing most? Walks, runs, and hikes for the outdoorsy types. Board games, a movie night, and reading sessions if you’re feeling cozy. A sunrise or sunset cuddle together. The free options are endless.
9. Best if their love language is words of affirmation: Book of affirmations
If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, then think about putting together a little book of affirmations that they can return to again and again.
It’s almost like a love note but using phrases that they can repeat to themselves when needed. For example, “I am loved” and “I am respected.”
10. Best for the art lover: A painting or drawing
For the sweetie who has an artistic eye, you could create your own masterpiece.
You could sketch or paint a scene or portrait, or, if your talents don’t extend that far, then an abstract work of art inspired by your love.
Or switch roles! Offer your sweetie an outing together where they can spend the afternoon painting, taking photos, or another artistic pursuit you know they love. You can make the transportation arrangements and pack the picnic.
Cheap romantic Valentine’s Day ideas
If you have a little room in your budget for a Valentine’s Day gift but want to keep the cost low and the good vibes high.
1. Recreate your first date — at home
Whether it was tacos and a movie, a coffee shop meet-up, or a fancy dinner with wine pairing, you can get creative with recreating your first date at home for a fun and nostalgic Valentine’s vibe.
2. Set up charcuterie and a movie
Charcuterie is great for an at-home date night because you can make it as basic or elevated as you’d like it to be.
Make it pretty by laying it out on a beautiful board or plate alongside some candles, and pair it with a good film.
3. Invent and serve a signature cocktail
Invent a cocktail inspired by your sweetie.
Write out the recipe for them with a little story behind the “why” (ginger because you’re spicy, cucumber because you’re cool, and so on), mix it up and serve it in fancy glasses for a cute evening in.
4. Fill in a fill-in-the-blank love journal
Plan ahead and give yourself time to complete a fill-in-the-bank journal for your partner.
The prompts it offers will give you the opportunity to record memories, hopes, dreams, and stories that you two can spend your Valentine’s evening enjoying together.
Here’s one we like: You can order I Wrote a Book About Us on Amazon.
The final word
Expensive Valentine’s gifts can be great and all, but at the end of the day, it’s truly the thought that counts.
The amount of money you spend doesn’t equal how much you love them. In fact, spending less can force you to get more creative, allowing you to truly express your love in a memorable way.