A new poll from Zogby International says the majority of Americans plan to spend less than $50 this Valentine’s Day, with 25 percent of those surveyed saying they plan to spend nothing.
So in the spirit of cheap love, I’ve compiled a list of interesting low-cost (or free) Valentine’s Day gift suggestions. Some are more obvious than others. Some sound cool, others sound cheesy. But to each his (or her) own.
Put together a box of this person's favorite things. ... It could be anything. You more than anyone will know their favorite things, so surprise them by getting them all together. The small things, that is. You can't purchase diamonds on a budget. People feel very loved when they know that other people pay attention to the small things about them.
My take: This assumes, of course, that those favorite things are relatively healthy/legal.
Take the day off of work to spend with them. This would work especially well if this person doesn't work. If they do, you might need to do some arranging with their employers, which could be hard to do and might not go over very well. But how wonderful for someone to know that you took a day off of work just to spend it with them.
My take: I’m actually thinking about doing this. My wife has no idea. She doesn’t read this blog, so I’m pretty sure I’m safe. But just in case, Shhhh.
Leave them love notes - all over. On the bathroom mirror, in their car, in their lunch, on the newspaper, etc. Anywhere they will be leave a little note.
My take: Not recommended for a significant other who’s green minded.
Fill their car with balloons.
My take: Careful, not too many. The car might fly away. Ha Ha. I kid.
Make a mixed CD of all of your favorite songs, or create a compilation of love songs that remind you of your mate. Better yet, learn how to play one of these love songs on the guitar and serenade him or her on Valentine's Day.
My take: Dang, I sold my guitar on eBay a few years ago.
Learn how to take erotic photos of each other with a digital camera.
My take: Hmmm. Don’t see that happening for many people. But if you can pull it off, more power to ya.
Grab some construction paper and cut out as many hearts as you like. On each one, share a story about your relationship that shows how much you care. Once finished, take the hearts and string them individually from the ceiling so it looks like your home is raining love.
My take: If you do this, I’d suggest getting started today. Also, if you do it, try to refrain from actually saying “raining love.”
Create a love blog through a service such as blogger.com. Add photos, memories, and thoughts about why you love him/her and hopes and dreams for your future together.
My take: This might work for an established, long-term relationship. For those in newer relationships, it has the potential to a) seem too heavy and uncomfortable and b) backfire with creative edits if the relationship goes south. So if you do it, keep that password to yourself.
Give her a prescription of love this Valentine's Day. Find an old pill bottle and fill it with heart-shaped candy conversation hearts. Use your printer to create a prescription label to put on the bottle with the instructions: Take 2 a day with a kiss. Refills: Unlimited.
My take: This is probably best for relationships where trust has been established. Otherwise, it may come off as, “I love you, honey. Now please take these special pills.”
A sexy voice mail: Leave it in the morning when your bedroom voice is the strongest. Rock his socks off with some seriously steamy love talk. He'll hear it when he gets to work and be crazy all day with anticipation to get home to you.
My take: This is touted as a gift for a man, but I’m sure husbands/boyfriends could make it work, too. I can also see it totally backfiring, however. We men aren’t nearly as smooth as we think we are.
So there you go. If you just don't have the money this year, get creative for Valentine's Day. This list is certainly not all-inclusive. There are lots of other ideas out there. It's funny: If you Google "Valentine's Day on" the search engine completes the phrase with "a budget" and offers more than 34 million results. If you type in "Valentine's Day on the" it completes the idea with "cheap" and offers 296 million results.
But if you do plan to spend big this year, you won't have much company. The Zogby poll says just 5 percent of people plan to spend $100 or more. For complete survey results (some of which may surprise you), click here.