Giving your sweet thing a gift doesn’t have to bring on a giant credit card bill. Sometimes the right gift simply shows that you’re paying attention to what’s important to them. So be creative. Be silly. Be sweet -- whatever speaks to your boo.
Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, a holiday or just to show someone you like like them, there are lots of ways to give a gift from the heart without dipping into your rent money. Here are some ideas:
Luv me, luv my pet
Who wouldn’t want a treat for their fur baby? This just could be key to someone’s heart – throwing some love to the other special someone in his or her life. If you’re artsy, try your hand at a pet portrait (or trade a favor with the fine arts major you roomed with in college). Find or make an inexpensive “I woof you” pillow or a basket of treats.
Head to an indie bookshop (they’ll appreciate the business) and check out the ways you can show you care with the written word. If your special someone is a self-starter, look for a leather-bound journal or a book with inspirational or motivational sayings. If your honey is into sailing, cooking or art, find a book about their passion. If your bae is homesick or likes to travel, show how thoughtful you are (awwww) with a book about their hometown or favorite city.
Forget the pricey bouquet of flowers that cost more than you spent on food last month. Instead of watching your hard-earned coin wilt within days, show your undying love with a plant that will stick around for the long haul, like you. A good choice is a peace lily, which not only purifies the air, but thrives in low-light spaces like tiny office cubicles.
Slay gift giving with a handmade basket of your sweet one’s favorite goodies. Fill an empty basket with bottles of craft beer and assorted flavors of beef jerky for your favorite guy. Collect sample sizes of face masks, hair treatments and bath products for your special girl. Or pick a theme like movie night and collect popcorn, boxes of movie candy and an inexpensive bottle of wine to Netflix by.
Turn up the heat
Nothing warms the heart like a homecooked meal. It doesn’t have to be complex. Think of your sweetie’s favorite foods and Google simple recipe videos. Add a nice table setting and simple candles. Your effort is the most important thing here. If a whole meal is too overwhelming, bake something. Refrigerated cookie dough is the world’s gift to the culinary challenged.
Scroll through the photos of you two strolling on the beach, hiking the mountains or snuggling in your jammies. Make that memory last with a photo gift like a coffee mug, fridge magnet, mouse pad or calendar. Upload the image to an online service or send it digitally to a local pharmacy photo center and put together a cool gift in minutes. Bonus for procrastinators: Look for same-day service.
Nothing says undying love like “I’ll do the chores that you hate.” Have your honey put their feet up while you tackle washing the car, cleaning out the litter box or taking out the garbage. Make a coupon good for each chore and bind them together for a personalized “Yay! I don’t have to do these things that suck” coupon booklet.
Sometimes the best gift comes from the heart, not the bougie new boutique. Take a pass on the card aisle and tell your sweet thing how much they mean to you, in your own words. A handwritten letter expressing how important your loved one is will leave a lasting impression.
Love note scavenger hunt
Leave a trail of love notes that lead to a small surprise like chocolate-covered strawberries, scented candles or a framed photo. Extra bonus points for planning a scavenger hunt of love notes leading to a romantically significant spot, like where you first kissed or where you first met.
Think about what is important to your sweet one, and use your creativity, rather than your emergency fund, to find a gift that is memorable and meaningful.