Valentine’s Day is coming and you’re still paying off bills from the holiday time. Don’t stress it though. You can get a cheap but thoughtful gift for that special someone with just a little planning.
There are a variety of discount stores — many with “dollar” in their name — offering the necessary components for Valentine’s Day. But don’t overlook other discount stores that can be a great source of gifts under $10.
You can of course go the ultra-traditional route and give Valentine’s Day presents like cuddly little bears with sweet messages, boxed candy, and a romantic card. All of these can be found at any dollar store for a few bucks. They are good choices but you may be looking for something that stands out more.
Let’s really get romantic with more memorable, but not more expensive, gift ideas. Our dollar store gift guide has items you can find in stores but we also have the links to retailer sites included.
14 Bargain Valentine’s Gift Ideas to Profess Your Love
These cheap Valentine’s Day gifts are made better by adding the personal touch. Oh, and our gift to you is that we went shopping so you don’t have to.
1. Make Sweet Music
If you already use a music streaming service, make a romantic playlist for the one you love. Then add in these glow in the dark or Star Wars headphones from 5 Below for just a bit over $5. Even if you don’t currently pay for music streaming, you can get a free Spotify account and use that for your love songs.
2. Romantic Words
Maybe it is time to let the poet within you free. Get your sweetie a blank notebook from your favorite dollar store or even a craft store. Depending on your sweetie’s personal style, you can splurge $8 on the llama and sloth one, or a natural cork covered journal, or get a little edgier with one with skulls all over it for only $2.25 at Big Lots. Then write your poems in it. Your personal love language will melt hearts.
Not really a poet? Not an issue. You can fill the notebook with thoughtful song lyrics, classic love poems, or some of the great love quotes from the movies. Imagine turning a page and finding this quote from Dirty Dancing:
I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of
my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.
SWOON. This is the type of surprise gift that will really matter to someone.
3. Sweets for the Sweet
Maybe your creativity happens in the kitchen, and you have the ingredients to make someone’s favorite cake. Even more exciting is if you aren’t known for your baking skills, deciding to make your partner a delicious cake is more meaningful. Food can be the way to someone’s heart.
You can get cake mixes and frosting at Family Dollar for less than $5 total. If your partner is a coffee drinker, put a little espresso or coffee in the batter instead of water, and add a teaspoon of cinnamon. This website has some great tricks for making mixes taste homemade.
You can also make store-bought frosting taste a little fancier by adding a tablespoon of melted butter, and a half teaspoon of vanilla to the tub, and mix it together well, then frost the cake.
Would it be too much to bake in a heart shaped pan? Not at all (just $6.49 at Michaels). True love is letting your partner lick the spoon.
4. Make It a Movie Night
Date night can hit new heights with a little planning. Several streaming services offer a free week or month trial. Just remember to visit your account and turn off the recurring payments so you don’t get a surprise charge.
Special little touches will add to the evening. Share some microwave popcorn in this movie popcorn tub , grab a theater size box of Milk Duds (or any other candy), and dim the lights (all only $1.25 each at Dollar Tree). Who says you have to pay attention to the film?
5. Gaze Into the Fire
Luckily Valentine’s Day falls in the winter when cuddling is important for body warmth. Can you build a fire to gaze into with that hottie you love? No fireplace? Not a problem. Put this 10-hour long fireplace video up on the screen and get in the mood for romance. And it’s free.
6. Say It With Chocolate
Imagine sipping some deluxe hot cocoa in front of the fire. Making chocolate bombs are easy — all you need are two Hershey’s bars ($1.50 each), a pack of hot cocoa mix, milk and marshmallows if you like them. Then sit back, relax and watch both the chocolate and your stress melt away.
This Etsy seller has heart shaped silicone molds for $9 (and free shipping!).
Too much work? You can grab some fancy hot chocolate mixes for pennies each, and maybe a can of whipped cream. Turn the couch into a cuddle center. Taking the time to make a treat for the person you care about matters more than the money you spend.
7. Toast to Your Love
If you aren’t chocolate people (we’ve heard they exist), you can still get romantic in front of the fire. Some cool looking stemless wine glasses ($1.25 each from Dollar Tree) and a cheap but good bottle of wine is a perfect low key Valentine’s Day gift. There’s even a heart topped bottle opener and stopper set that you can give ($6.20 at Walmart). It even comes in a velvet lined box.
8. Take a Luxurious Bath
There’s nothing like relaxing after a long day, and you can help your darling get there. Soaking in the tub is a true luxury. Start off with a soothing bath bomb (Target has a pack of 5 for $6). Or you can give essential oils (The Vitamin Shoppe has lots under $10) so they can put a few drops in the water for a relaxing bath.
9. Lotions and Potions
The perfect gift might be a lovely scented moisturizer. One of the most romantic things I’ve ever known was my dad rubbing lotion into my mom’s hands each night after a long day of work. A small container of shea butter is very affordable (under $4 at Sally’s Beauty Supply) and they’ll think of you every time they use it.
10. A Good Night’s Sleep
How can anyone relax if their tootsies are cold? Cute, fuzzy slippers are just the thing. They’re always the perfect size, and these are available in llama, teddy bear, fox, and puppy (priced at $6 a pair at Walmart). Giving roses is nice, but a rose petal scented candle($4 at Target) next to the bed will last much longer.
Guarantee sweet dreams with a sleep mask, which you can snag for $2 at Ulta. Hopefully they will fall asleep thinking of how wonderful you are. For about $9 you can get four pillow sachets, which are little scented bags packed with dry herbs for under their pillow to help them get their beauty sleep each night (Etsy including shipping).
11. Gifts for the House
It is pretty hard to resist these little ceramic animal planters at Dollar Tree. Online you have to get them in bulk but in the stores they sell individually for $1.25. They have sloths! The sloth market is really limited. There are also turtles, foxes, and elephants. They’re great for keys, jewelry, and all sorts of little items.
If you or your hunny bunny is creative, then this is a perfect Valentine’s Day art project. It is a ceramic heart magnet that can be painted and put on the refrigerator. They’re cheap enough to get a pair, less than $2 each at Michaels.
12. Cute Stuff for Them
If you are dating a dog lover, you can melt two hearts by getting them this matching dog/owner beanie set ($5 at Five Below). The dog might have mixed feelings, but the cuteness cannot be denied.
What’s their sign? A zodiac sign necklace means you know their birthday and these blinged out ones are pretty fabulous and less than $7 with shipping ($2 at Shein).
13. The Art of Love
True love may be encouraging your dearest to fulfill their talents. If they used to draw or paint and fell away from that, discount department stores are full of colored pencils and pens, blank journals, and all sorts of beginning art sets. Tuesday Morning stores have pretty robust arts and crafts sections. Five Below has a pretty complete beginners’ set for only $5, with a nice variety of pencils, charcoals, and pastels.
14. And More Sweet Nothings
Leave sticky notes with sweet messages on their laptop. Give a lottery ticket with the dreams of an amorous trip detailed. Put the ticket stubs from a favorite concert in a frame. Don’t ever discount the pleasure of a delicious breakfast in bed. Flowers are wonderful, especially in your person’s favorite colors.
Cheap Valentine gifts are easy to do, and don’t have to cost much. There are a ton of small loving moments that you can give. Valentine’s Day is just one day a year. Your thoughtfulness will transform any five buck doodad into an invaluable treasure.
The Penny Hoarder contributor JoEllen Schilke writes on lifestyle and culture topics. She is the former owner of a coffee shop in St.Petersburg, Florida, and has hosted an arts show on WMNF community radio for nearly 30 years.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.