Love is in the air. It’s Valentine’s Day, and everyone loves to feel loved, but does it have to break your budget?
Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Family
You may think Valentine’s Day is just a “Hallmark holiday,” but it is important to make the people we love feel special and let them know how much we care about them, but that doesn’t mean we have to spend a lot of money to do so.
There are many budget-friendly Valentine’s Day ideas, gifts, and activities we can do and give for little to no money.
And especially if you’re not a huge fan of the holiday, it can be fun to simply celebrate your love for one another as a family instead of making it a romantic holiday. Getting the kids involved is a fun way to spend quality time together and a great excuse to do things you wouldn’t normally do.
11 Cheap Ideas for Valentine’s Day
There are many ways to show people you love them…on a budget. Check out these fun and cheap Valentine’s Day ideas for your family, and keep that money in your wallet!
1. Breakfast in Bed
You can make breakfast in bed for your significant other, your kids, or everyone. Kids love getting surprised with breakfast in bed, especially because they think it’s fun that they are “getting to break the rules” and eat in their beds.
And, of course, what adult doesn’t like being served a full breakfast that they don’t have to get up and make themselves? This gift idea could cost you virtually nothing if you already have all the supplies.
2. Paper Conversation Hearts
This Valentine’s Day idea is mostly for kids, but technically it could work for adults as well.
A few days before Valentine’s Day, cut out some big-ish paper hearts from colored construction paper and write something you love about my kids on each one.
Each night while they are sleeping, tape one to the outside of their bedroom door. They get excited to wake up and look for them each morning, and it’s such a simple way to start their day with a smile. Everyone enjoys hearing wonderful things about themselves, and it’s a great confidence booster for your kids.
3. Family Movie Night
Rent a new release from Redbox or find something fun on Netflix, take the kids to the dollar store, and let them pick a box of candy (they have the same boxes they do at the movie theaters), put on your sweats, and pop some popcorn.
Not only will you save an insane amount of money, but you can control the volume .and can pause the movie when you need a bathroom break – much more enjoyable than spending $100+ to take your family to the movie theater.
4. Celebrate on a Different Night
Did you ever notice how much more expensive your dinner is at your favorite restaurant on Valentine’s Day?
Yep. That’s because many restaurants will either jack up the prices or offer a “special” or “limited” menu for Valentine’s Day. It can be difficult to get reservations, and your food may take forever if the restaurant is super busy. You can avoid all of the above simply by going to dinner on a different day.
Try celebrating Valentine’s Day the weekend before or the weekend after. There are no rules stating you must go out only on February 14th. You’ll avoid the crowds, the price-gouging, and likely have a better dining experience overall.
5. Splurge at Home
Another option is to skip the restaurant altogether and splurge on some fancy takeout you wouldn’t normally order. Sure, you’ll still spend to buy the food, but you’ll save on drinks and a tip.
Get out the fancy tablecloth, light some candles, and pick up your partner’s (or family’s) favorite dessert! You can still make it special and be able to eat in your pj’s if you like – the best of both worlds.
6. Bring the Restaurant to You
Not much of a creative cook, but would still like to avoid dining out for Valentine’s Day? Try bringing the restaurant to you with a meal delivery service. Companies like HelloFresh and Blue Apron allow you to go onto their site, choose the most appetizing meals, and they will send you a box with all the ingredients you need (in exact amounts) to create chef-quality meals at home.
While the costs for meal-delivery services aren’t necessarily “cheap,” the food is very high quality. They include step-by-step recipe cards with detailed instructions and pictures, making cooking possible for someone with very limited culinary experience.
Yes, some may consider this Valentine’s Day idea a bit of a splurge, too, but it will save you money compared to restaurant prices, so go ahead and create a restaurant-like experience at home or even turn it into a cooking date.
7. Go Out for Dessert
Another option is to eat at home and go out for dessert instead. This is fun, especially for the kids. You can swing by your favorite restaurant, grab a table and just order the most decadent dessert, or pop into your local doughnut or ice cream shop.
8. Buy Cheap Flowers
Okay, it may sound strange, but the cheaper flowers from a grocery store or Sam’s Club always seem to last longer than the pricey ones from the flower shop. Especially since flower prices increase around Valentine’s day as well.
There are also ways to maintain fresh flowers to keep them looking beautiful for longer. Or skip the flowers altogether and opt for a potted houseplant or something you can eventually plant outdoors to enjoy year-round.
9. Gift Time, Not Things
The popular book The 5 love languages is a short and easy read, and so eye-opening (there is a version for children too). The author, Gary Chapman, talks about how different people feel love differently.
If ‘acts of service’ is your love language, you likely feel most loved when your spouse or partner spend their precious time taking care of things around the house, doing the laundry, cooking dinner, or doing some other tasks.
Read the book and determine your significant other’s love language, then brainstorm about how you can show them love in the way it means the most to them. This will make them feel so loved and special without you even having to buy a thing…and that goes for your kids too.
10. Shop Discount Sites
Discount sites such as Groupon offer fun activities in your area at a discounted rate. Sometimes you may find dining vouchers or tickets at a small discount, but other times it can be quite substantial.
But don’t wait until the last minute, so you can plan accordingly, and be sure to read the fine print carefully since often these deals are restricted to specific dates or times.
11. Make a Photobook
Have you ever made your love interest a cheesy scrapbook when you were younger? Scrapbooks have had a bit of a glow-up over the past few years. Now you can easily create a photo book to capture your favorite family memories.
This would be a great Valentine’s Day gift for anyone in your life! And kids, especially, love paging through the books and looking at their younger selves.
And if you’re short on time, they even offer an option to upload your pics and have the book created automatically. These photobooks are such beautiful keepsakes your family will love to look back through them for years to come.
Go ahead and try some of these low-cost Valentine’s Day ideas for family this Valentine’s Day – your budget will thank you.
This article originally appeared on Cents + Purpose.
Kristin Stones is the owner of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Her mission is to equip women with the necessary tools and knowledge to take back control of their money and live a more purposeful life. She creates actionable content to help her audience achieve financial wellness using her simple approach to managing money - all learned through her personal experience of paying off almost $55,000 of debt in under two years.