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Budget Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

Posted on 2/6/2012 22:20 EST

Whether you're in a new relationship or celebrating another year with your significant other, Valentine's Day is the perfect time to show how much you really care. For some committed types, however, the day of love can be a bit daunting. There's a lot of pressure to buy that perfect Valentine's Day gift and spend lots of money in the process. Forget all that. There are plenty of ways to express your feelings without flashing dollar signs. Let's take a look.

Photo by asenat29
We turned to frugalista Vicky Oliver, author of The Millionaire's Handbook: How to Look and Act Like a Millionaire, Even If You're Not (Skyhorse Publishing, November 2011), for guidance. "Thought trumps the amount of money spent every time," Oliver says. "Sometimes, when you haven't put enough thought into a gift, it may end up costing you more."

To see what we could do with a budget of $35, we reached out to Oliver and did our own digging. Without too much ado we turned up several budget-friendly Valentine's Day gift ideas that are bound to make the recipient smile.

Make a Valentine's Day gift.

Oliver shared with us a pile of Valentine's Day gift ideas. For starters, she recommends creating a CD of songs that remind you of the other person, writing a poem, or making a collage of pictures of the two of you. If you want to do something with photos, ABC News notes that the picture kiosks at Target, CVS, Walgreens, and many other retailers let you quickly upload images to create Valentine's Day gifts such as personalized photo books and framed shots.

Give the Valentine's Day gift of time.

Ask any couple with full-time jobs and/or children and they'll tell you that time is at least as valuable as a pricey Valentine's Day gift. "It's not how much money the couple spends, but how much time they're willing to invest into their relationship," Oliver says. Try one of these Valentine's Day ideas: Go to a movie you both want to see or go on a romantic picnic (make it indoors, if necessary).

Give a traditional Valentine's Day gift.

Yes, jewelry is a traditional Valentine's Day gift and often costs an arm and a leg. It doesn't have to. We really like this idea from Frugal Dad: Buy your sweetheart a charm bracelet and every year add a charm. A simple sterling silver bracelet may go for as little as $20 and charms can be had for $10 to $20 each. Another traditional Valentine's Day gift that your honey is sure to love: cheap chocolate. If your guy loves wine, a Valentine's Day gift of cheap red wine or cheap white wine that you can enjoy together will definitely hit the spot.

Photo by barbtrek

Re-gift with taste.

While many of us shy away from this practice, Oliver sees no problem with it as a frugal Valentine's Day gift. "It's fine to re-gift as long as you show thought in the way you do it," Oliver explains. "The key thing with a re-gift is to know the person well enough to be certain that he or she will enjoy it." In other words, think of an item you already have that your significant other really likes -- it could be the old college sweatshirt your girlfriend throws on all the time or a book your boyfriend keeps borrowing.

And finally

, as you begin your Valentine's Day shopping, remember that the price tag doesn't indicate how much you love your sweetheart. The thought does. "We live in an era when the grand gesture can be more meaningful than a present costing hundreds of dollars," Oliver says. "And with a little forethought, your Valentine's Day gift will convey just the right amount of love."

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