Ah, Valentine’s Day. It conjures up expectations for ah-mazing gifts like few other holidays, doesn’t it? But what’s a girl to do when she wants to give her sweetheart something special but is living in the reality of a teeny-tiny gift budget?
I don’t talk about our debt journey very much on this blog but it is something that very much informs our financial decisions at this point in our lives. My younger self would have probably held a beautiful pity party if I had told her that she wouldn’t be going on fancy date nights for Valentine’s Day in the future but what did my younger self know? 😉 We actually have a lot of fun and having to think about how we will spend our resources makes gifts even sweeter.
One of the things I love about this online world is all of the amazing talented and creative women I’ve virtually met in the last year. One of them showed up in my inbox early last year and I immediately felt a kinship with her. I’ve mentioned her before, but her name is Lauren Lanker from The Thinking Closet, and let me tell you, it is almost eerie how many of her projects are things I’ve done in the past. She has also taken so many of these ideas to the next level, I want to give her a hug. And buy her a cup of coffee.
I love getting to know women who are not caught up in the game of having to buy bigger and better Things for those they love in their life each year. Yes, it’s more difficult when you take the time to think what would really bless your friend’s life, but it’s so worth it. What would encourage them? What would bring a smile to their face or make them laugh out loud in delight? Like our children happily playing with empty gift boxes, you don’t have to look too far to see that budget-friendly gifts don’t have to break the bank.
Anyway, back to Lauren. She wrote a book all about meaningful gifts that I’ve been perusing as of late for Valentine’s Day. So, I thought I’d share some of her ideas plus a few of my own to get you thinking about what you could do for your sweetheart this year. These ideas aren’t limited to Valentine’s Day, though. You could use them for birthdays, anniversaries, and for just-because days. So, without further ado…
Budget-friendly Gifts that He’ll Love
- A gift a day – Valentine’s Day edition. Starting February 1st, give your sweetheart a small gift. Hide it in his briefcase, tuck it in his sock drawer, or simply hand it to him at breakfast. Have fun with this! The gifts can be themed or they can stand alone. They could also lead up to a bigger gift on Valentine’s Day. I’ve done this kind of gift for my husband before and it always surprises him, probably because most guys aren’t used to getting presents like this. So surprise your man and make his month full of appreciation and love! p.s. If you can’t think of 14 ideas…well, here are 7 below to get you started!
- Love Notes – Send them via text or email during the day, write them on paper and place them some place he’ll find them, or write a bunch to give him if he’s going on a business trip. I like to write out verses for my husband when he goes on trips and then I put each note into an envelope that has the day he’s supposed to open it on the front. It’s such a simple gesture to let him know I’m thinking of and praying for him.
- 10 Things I Love About You – Lauren mentions this in her book which made me so happy. I love this practice, and it really makes you think about what makes your sweetheart special. This is also a great idea to give to children, friends, and moms! 🙂 I have a printable available in my shop that you can print out and give throughout the year to your circle of friends and family. Talk about making their day!
- Make a Mix Tape – Love, love this one. Remember making mix tapes (am I dating myself here?) I used to spend so much time carefully picking out songs that went together for my sisters and friends. And then I’d spend even more time making the cover and liner notes, because, hello, aren’t the liner notes the best part of getting a new CD? Anyway, you can bring back the good old days by making your sweetheart a mix tape this year. Just typing this is inspiring me to make one.
- Make a Box of Memories – Lauren’s tutorial for this is a bit different than mine but so clever. She literally made a box that looks like a frame with a slit on the top of the frame where she slides in ticket stubs from the theater performances she and her husband have gone to. Isn’t that fun? You could do a themed one for a recent trip you went on together or even collect memorabilia you’ve been holding on since the good old days and give them a home. Love it. If you like to draw little stick figures, click here to see the box of memories my friend, Stephanie gave me. It just makes me happy to think about it.
- A special breakfast – This one only takes a bit of planning and the best part is you don’t have to get all dressed up and stand in line at everyone’s favorite breakfast place in town. Oh, and you can have seconds too. By the way, if you husband thinks Coco Puffs is the best breakfast ever but you think that’s gross and never buy them, just go out and buy him his own box of Coco Puffs already. He’ll be so happy. Again, it’s the simple things.
- Write a song – When I came across this idea in Lauren’s book, I remembered that back when we were dating, I did write a song for my guy. Now I just need to find it. I don’t think I’d have the nerve to sing it in front of a crowd, but to my husband, why not? We sing all the time, and if I re-wrote it to a familiar tune, I’m sure our daughter would join in as well. That would be too cute!
- Movie night – Back in the day, we spent a decent amount of money going to the theater seeing the latest and greatest movies. (This is before we had our great awakening concerning our student loan debt. ;)) Anyway, it seemed sad to toss out going to the movies but honestly, we have now learned the character trait called patience since we wait for videos to come out on Redbox or our local library. I have to admit, though we can’t replicate the movie theater, there are a lot of pluses when it comes to staying home for a movie night. We don’t have to pay for childcare, we can make delicious treats for a fraction of the cost (and have seconds), and I can bring my sketchbook. (Of course this is a story for another day—how my mom taught us girls to always be doing something while we’re watching TV.)
As you can see, these ideas are not incredibly expensive to pull off but they are oh so meaningful! I would like one of each, please. Just kidding. But seriously, with these ideas in your arsenal, you can tweak them here and there for those you love in your life, be able to give with a joyful heart, and not feel the guilt of going over your budget when it comes to gifting.
Do you have a budget-friendly gift that you like to give?
P.S. If you need more ideas, you’ve got to check out Lauren’s book. It’s packed with doable, budget-friendly gifts that will make your friends and family feel so loved. 🙂
P.P.S. And if you’d like your very own 10 Things I Love About You printable, click here. You’ll receive three PDFs—one in bright, cheery colors, one in pinks and turquoise, and one black and white version for you to color. Yay for coloring!