Red, pink and purple are starting to invade our stores. We know that Valentines will be right around the corner. Christmas usually isn’t over and yet candy, teddy bears, decor and other Valentines themed items flood the shelves pushing the Christmas items aside. You would think that seeing these items placed on shelves months before the actual holiday would prompt us to start planning for this day. So, why don’t we? The average American spends so much on Christmas that they don’t want to even begin to think about purchasing more gifts for another holiday so soon. There really is no break financially between the two. I myself continue to play catch-up for a few months after Christmas and would rather just save the money. Didn’t our Christmas gift giving tell the recipient that we love them? Do we really have to spend more money or can we just send them a card? These are questions I know many have asked and the answer was always no and yes.

Valentines is supposed to be a day of romance, friendship and appreciation. It’s a day where you show your loved ones how much you love and appreciate their friendship, love and all they do. You can wine and dine your significant other, have a party with friends, pass out kid’s valentines cards and just have fun. I love Valentines. Not because I have someone to share it with, but because it continues that warm cheery feeling of love and peace you feel at Christmas; just in a different way. There is just one problem with this holiday, much like Christmas, I don’t know what to get people. Especially if I am trying to stay within a strict budget. Let’s be honest here, Christmas pretty much puts a strain on many of us and we are still trying to recuperate financially. I love giving to people, especially to those I want to show appreciation and express how much they mean to me. So how do I go about this on a feasible yet small budget? Easy. I may have to skip the wining and dining part, pass on giving lavish gifts, and think smaller when it comes to the whole holiday in general.

Here is how I do Valentines for kids:

Walmart and the Dollar store are great places to obtain small gifts that kids like and are affordable. You don't need to purchase a huge gift to make a person feel special. This year I purchased: 

1. a couple of Disney’s Tsum Tsum ($2 each) 
2. a few Peppa Pig toys ($5 each)
3. a puzzle ($1 Dollar Tree)
4. some stickers (all $1 a packet at the Dollar store)
5. I also purchased a box of kid’s valentine’s day cards for my daughter to mail out to her family and friends. She is only 3 but since we live so far from our family, we help her stay in touch with them through cards and drawings.You can print out coloring pages from the internet for free. Create a booklet for your little one with these pages or have them color the pages and give to family and friends.

Adults:
1. Make a candy arrangement. This is very much like a flower arrangement but instead of flowers, use candy. Tape or glue the candy (still in its packaging) to a stick, place the stick in a pretty vase or basket lined with Styrofoam and wrap it with a ribbon. You can make it fancy with tissue paper and paper confetti filler- could cost $10 for a small arrangement- purchase everything at the dollar store
 

2. Make your own small gift basket. You can customize it yourself by adding anything the person might like to it:
Wine basket-Wine, decorative wine glass, cork screw, and some chocolate
Make yourself Cupcake basket- Cupcake mix, cupcake liners, sprinkles, jar of frosting
The manly basket- Beer, candy, assorted alcohols, beef jerky, sunflower seeds
Winner Winner Basket- Candy, lotto scratchers, lotto tickets
Cookies- Assorted cookies and candies
S'mores basket- heart shaped marshmallows, hot chocolate mix, mug, graham crackers
Movie night- purchase a great movie, popcorn, candy, and soda
Nails- nail polish, polish remover, nail manicure kit and comfy fuzzy socks
Spa night- bath bombs, lotion, body spray, face mask, foot mask and chap stick.
All of these items can be purchased for under $20 a basket. Decorate each basket with tissue paper, fake flowers, ribbons or confetti filler.

3. Stuffed animal and card
4. $10 and under jewelry item with a card neatly wrapped in a small bag

5. Coupon book- chores or favors you will do for someone-
If it’s a friend- Babysitting, helping to clean their house, run an errand for them, water their plants, make them dinner one night, show up with donuts one morning, host game night, girls day out, guys day out, last minute trip somewhere out of town, borrow and outfit etc.…
If it’s a significant other- something romantic, i.e.: back rub, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, I watch the kids- you go have some you time, sexy time, special favors, date night, spontaneous trip away, get out of jail free card, etc.

6. Make someone some goodies i.e. cake, cookies or chocolate covered strawberries
7. Open when letters: Envelopes that are filled with items to help the recipient through the problem they are faced with.
 Example:
 Open when you are sad- fill it with happy thought items such as memories, pictures of puppies, quotes and a hand-written note.
Open when you are lonely- fill it with pictures of family and friends, notes from them and something that will remind them they are not alone. Etc.


8. Booklet with each page stating why you love that person.
9. Post love notes all around the house
10. Put post its in the shape of a heart with love notes on each post it. Place on the bathroom mirror or front door so your loved one can see them before they leave for work

11. Print Valentines notes on card stock paper and attach a piece of candy, soda bottle, chap stick, or toy item that corresponds with the note. 
Example: You are EXTRA awesome Valentine- attach a pack of extra gum. 
You’re such a smarties- attach a smarties candy
Have a jolly valentines- attach a jolly rancher
Wild thing, you make my heart sing- attach a small safari jungle animal toy

12.Create a scavenger hunt. The prize can be a special treat you made or a small gift you purchased. Get creative with the hints and make them Valentine’s day themed. For example:
Valentines Day is here, Hurry clue #2 may be frozen I fear
February 14th brings lots of red, clue #3 is where you lay your head. 
Attached is a link to our Pinterest page where you will find so many more scavenger hunt clue ideas. 

 

There are so many more things you can create or purchase while keeping within your budget. You may be surprised at how many people you can create or purchase Valentine’s Day gifts for. So this Valentines get inspired to go cheap because really it’s the thought that counts. Right?! 

For many more ideas and how to's, please check out our Pinterest page.

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