Top 35 Dirt Cheap Romantic Ideas for Valentines Day (and Whenever)

Image credit- Dan

Romance on your mind, but really don't have the money to spend, so thought you'd have to give this Valentines Day a pass?

Many people think that in order to show how much you love someone, you need to be willing to spend lots of money, showering them with gifts, wooing them with your money. Of course, in some relationships that is the case- if someone doesn't spend money on the other, they feel hurt, because the amount of money spent is equated with how much they actually value or love them and feel they are worth.
Fortunately, in relationships where both parties appreciate frugality, people generally understand that you can romance your partner or spouse without throwing big bucks at them. Here is a list of some frugal, and some insanely frugal ways to romance your partner. Of course, not everyone would appreciate every one of them, but hopefully there will be at least some things on the list that you or your partner would appreciate.

Top 35 Dirt Cheap Romantic Ideas for Valentines Day (and Whenever)

1. Send a romantic e-card- google "Free Romantic E-cards" for plenty of websites.

2. Make your own romantic card, either hand drawn, printed off the computer, or crafted, possibly with photographs from magazines or newspapers or even advertisements, cutouts from scrap paper, or even with dried foraged wild flowers. Pinterest has a bunch of great ideas.

3. Write a letter (in my opinion, hand written is more romantic) with things you love about your partner, the more detailed, the better.

4. Pay attention to things you've heard them say they need and are planning on buying, and beat them to it, especially if you buy it on sale. (Just make sure it's not something they are picky about, and would want to have picked out themselves.) Nothing says romance like showing you're paying attention to what they actually want (and not just what you think they'd want), and since you bought something that would have been purchased anyhow, no money was wasted. Mike recently did this for me, buying me metal stackable storage containers and some glass cups, both things I'd needed and were on my wish list for a while already, that I just hadn't managed to get around to buying. Best of all- Mike bought them on sale, so that really made my day!

5. Pack your partner's lunch before they leave in the morning, if it typically is something they do themselves. Better yet- include a romantic or loving note together with their lunch.

6. While you're out, if you see a treat or a food that you know your partner loves, buy it for them to show them that you were thinking of them.

7. Make your own box of fancy chocolates if you are into chocolates.

8. Litter their bed with cut out hearts (made from scrap paper if you want to do it the super cheapskate way).

9. Cook up their favorite dinner and serve it candle lit.

10. Write a poem in their honor.

11. Arrange a babysitting swap with a friend or neighbor (you watch their kids one time, they watch your kids one time) or barter for babysitting, then go out on a frugal date.

12. Pack up a picnic lunch or supper, and go hiking together or to another romantic site, perhaps someplace with beautiful scenery, and have a romantic picnic there.

13. Send the kids out to a sitter or relative (again, swapping) and plan a sexy interlude at home.

14. Create a playlist on youtube or a smartphone with your favorite romantic songs, listen to them together, and slow dance. Consider dimming the lights and/or dancing by candle light.

15. Do the housework that your partner typically does so they can relax.

16. Give each other a foot rub, back rub, or facial massage. If you don't know how to do this, look on youtube for tutorials. (This is one example.)

17. If your partner always prepares dinner, you take over and prepare dinner so they can relax. This would be especially appreciated if they have special dietary needs in addition to budgetary concerns and can't just go out to a restaurant to get a break so easily. (Hint, hint, Mike! Sending him this link so that he can get the message. Hint hint. Haha.)

18. Buy your partner jewelry for pennies on the dollar. I love Aliexpress- it is terrific as long as you don't have any allergies to materials. I recently bought myself these earrings from Aliexpress and love them, as well is this terrific necklace. Whatever your taste is in jewely, Aliexpress probably has, whether it is steampunk, vintage, geeky (Star Wars or Harry Potter, anyone?), gothic, dainty, etc. Just search Aliexpress for your style plus the word jewelry, click on the option to show the results in price order, then have fun! I find so much jewelry that is beautiful and under or around a dollar, including international shipping! The one thing to keep in mind is that things take a while to arrive, so if you want these gifts for special occasions, make sure to order them at least 2 months in advance. (And make sure your partner knows not to open any packages that arrive in the mail if you want it to be a surprise to present at a specific time.)

19. You can get gifts on Aliexpress for men as well!

20. If your partner loves chocolate and is not picky, see if your nearest scratch and dent store has fancy chocolates. I found some fancy heart chocolates at one, insanely cheaply, recently.

21. Dress up in your best lingerie or sexy clothing, makeup, and/or jewelry, and take your own boudoir pictures. You may need to take many photos, over and over and over again, until you have some perfect ones, but the results will be worth it. Google for tips on how to do DIY boudoir photography and for style ideas in general. Cameras on timers will be necessary for this. Then either keep them on your digital devices, or print them.

22. Buy some new lingerie, either for yourself or for your partner. Aliexpress has a bunch for cheap. Pay attention to their sizing guides- you usually will need to go up two or three sizes from your usual one, since they tend to run very small. They have a good refund policy also if the product arrives damaged or you can prove it isn't the size they said it would be.

23. Buy some sex toys to spice up your bedroom life from Aliexpress. I've heard they send them in discreet packaging.

24. Bake your partner's favorite dessert, and either send it to work with them as a surprise, or have it waiting at home for them when they arrive.

25. Have a stay at home date- a movie night (many are available online) with homemade popcorn.

26. Mix up your own cocktails and bring the bar home for a fraction of the cost.

27. Make a coupon book for your partner with things you promise to do for each other, to be cashed in, whenever.

28. Do an art project together, or at the same time- whether it is painting a canvas, water colorings, drawing, with air drying modeling clay, wood carving, etc.

29. Paint a painting, draw a picture, create a sculpture, crochet something, or whittle/carve something as a gift for your partner.

30. Have a game night at home, possibly a card game, rummikub, chess, checkers, backgammon, or whatever two person game you have at home or can buy cheaply at a dollar store, etc.

31. Print some adult coloring pages, put on some relaxing music, and enjoy coloring and relaxing together.

32. Go stargazing outside. Combine this with a picnic and drinks to make it even better.

33. Pick a bouquet of beautiful and free wildflowers to present to your partner.

34. Read a fun book out loud to each other.

35. Make beautiful origami roses or other romantic origami things- either together or to give as a gift to each other.

This list can go on and on and on, but I think you get the picture. Romance doesn't need to cost a lot of money. It really is the thought that counts, and if you are prepared to step outside the box of the accepted norms, I'm sure you can come up with even more ideas that cost pennies (or are even free) that can increase the romance in your relationship and will be appreciated tremndously!

How do you include romance into your relationship frugally? Have you done any of the things on this list or been the recipient of any of them? Which ones? Were they appreciated? Are there any things on this list that you'd like if your partner would do for you? Anything to add to this list?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Nice list!

    My husband has read me bedtime stories since we were first married. Kids' books till recently. We've gone through the Moomintroll books, the Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, the Miss Buncle books, The Worm Ouroboros (guaranteed to put you to sleep, and the reader too), and most recently the Phryne Fisher books. So many of your suggestions are great; I'll try to work them in at other times of the day. Every day.

    Hope you get your dinner :)

  2. The pack a lunch idea is so good! My husband always packs his own lunch and if I had goodies ready to go he would love it!

  3. We had a lovely day together. I got him new pj's and chocolate, he got me chocolate and some plants. Surf & turf for dinner. Whole V-day cost less than $30.

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