15 Low-Cost Valentine’s Day Gifts Your Sweetie Will Love

By Janet Siroto · February 10, 2023 · 8 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

15 Low-Cost Valentine’s Day Gifts Your Sweetie Will Love

Here comes Valentine’s Day, when your heart may be full of love but your bank account could be low on cash. How can you mark the day with a great gift that won’t further deplete your funds? You’re in the right place to find out.

Typically, February 14 triggers a spending frenzy. In 2022, spending on all things red, heart-shaped, or otherwise lovey-dovey hit $23.9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, up from $21.8 billion a year earlier.

So this is clearly a moment where people want to bestow a token of their affection on their beloved. This list of 15 affordable Valentine’s gift ideas will show your heart is in the right place without ringing up credit card debt. Pretty sweet, right?

Valentine’s Day Gifts on a Budget

Valentine’s Day has been celebrated for hundreds of years now, with the first messages declaiming love appearing in the 1500s. Commercially produced valentines swept across the U.S. in the mid-1800s and have been going strong ever since. The image of Cupid, the Roman god of love, with his bow and arrow, has been a long-time favorite representation, and birds (who often mate in February) also became a symbol of love.

These days, there’s no need to stick with those icons. Expressing your devotion can be done in an array of ways, often for very little cash that won’t blow your budget, as you’ll see in this list.

1. Sweet Treats

You could easily spend a bundle on top-tier chocolate truffles, but candy bars from the impulse rack at the checkout line can be equally satisfying. Put together a small bag of your honey’s favorite treats. Add a handmade card noting, “I’m sweet on you!” for a thoughtful and cute Valentine’s Day gift without going overboard.

2. Plant Power

While roses are a classic V-Day gift, price gouging can kick in around the holiday, making this a very expensive way to say “I love you.” Instead, why not avoid credit card debt and buy an adorable (and low-maintenance) potted succulent instead? It can show your affection and brighten your honey’s home. Look for them on Amazon or at The Home Depot or Lowe’s; they can cost just $7 each. Add tissue paper and some ribbon, and you’re good to go.

3. A Favorite Home-Made Meal

Skip the $100 dinner, and opt for a delicious meal at home. (Stash the money saved in an emergency fund or start a travel account with it.) Maybe that’s a chef’s recipe for three-cheese mac and cheese and a nice bottle of red wine or a good steak and salad with French vinaigrette. Choose something you don’t normally make that feels first-class but stays within a sensible budget.

4. S’mores

Here’s another affordable luxury that won’t bust your line-item budget on Valentine’s Day: While chocolates and fancy candy are delicious, sometimes a good old-fashioned treat from your childhood can feel more fun and meaningful. Grab a bag of marshmallows, graham crackers, and bar chocolate to roast over a fire.

Don’t have access to an open flame? No problem. Heat an oven to 350 degrees and layer a small baking dish with graham cracker squares, chocolate, and marshmallow halves. Repeat with another layer, topping it off with remaining marshmallow halves. Bake for nine to 11 minutes until marshmallows are puffed and golden brown on top.

5. An Over-the-Top Valentine’s Day Card

What’s an extravagant Valentine’s Day card? You know the splurge-y ones: Maybe they are three-dimensional, cut-paper pop-ups or encrusted with dried flowers. Some play music when you open them. Others are embossed with metallic designs. Whatever the details, even at their most expensive, they are likely to give you change on a $10 or $20 bill and put a smile on your sweetheart’s face.

6. A Handmade Valentine’s Day Card

On the other hand, what could be more wonderful than a handmade card from one’s boo? You might make a collage with magazine images or doodle a little drawing. When a heartfelt sentiment is added, that can be quite the Valentine’s Day keeper.

7. Cupid Coupons

Show your appreciation for your significant other through cupid coupons to be cashed in for loving gestures. These money-saving coupons don’t skimp on thoughtfulness. You can make them for a 10-minute massage, cooking dinner one night, doing their laundry, or watching their favorite reality show (which you really don’t like) together.

Come up with different coupon ideas and place them in a decorative jar or envelope. Your partner can then redeem these gifts throughout the year.

Recommended: 5 Ways to Achieve Financial Security

8. Low-Cost Local Activities

There are plenty of fun, free activities that you can take advantage of locally. Head back to your favorite spot in the park for a stroll, or drive up to a local scenic overlook. Search your city for free museums (many museums have times or days when you can visit at no cost) or points of interest that you haven’t been to together.

9. A V-Day Party

Why not do a group Valentine’s Day happy hour at home? Ask friends to BYOB, and celebrate together with simple snacks. Whether you make it a surprise for your beloved or not, you’ll have fun as a group, and you won’t have to worry about spending a ton of money.

10. Selfcare Supplies

Who can resist a little pampering? Head to a shop like Ulta or Sephora or look online at Amazon and other e-tailers for not-too-pricey moisturizers, masks, or shower gels. These often come in cleverly packaged sets for the Valentine’s Day holiday. These low-cost gifts are not only a treat for the recipient; their affordability can also make them a form of financial self-care for the gift giver.

11. A Love Letter

The written word goes a long way. If it’s been a while since you’ve confessed your love or you have yet to do so, express your feelings in a handwritten letter. Reflect on the past year with your bae, and tell them why they are so special.

If you’re short on words, write the top reasons why your partner makes you smile. Put each reason on a Post-it note, and leave them throughout their house or in their car.

12. DIY Roses

They may not smell as sweet as what Mother Nature makes, but LEGO Roses ($13) can be a fun gift. You can pre-assemble, or let your love go crazy building the 100-plus-piece blooms.

13. Scavenger Hunt

If you’re really crafty, come up with a scavenger hunt. You can make it themed according to your loved one’s favorite book, TV show, or movie. There’s nothing better than solving a Harry Potter-themed riddle that leads your partner to the Gryffindor House Cup or Tom Riddle’s diary.

Try coming up with four to five clues that lead to a small gift. A gift card to a local coffee shop feels more significant when you put together a scavenger hunt with your honey’s favorite things in mind.

14. Movie Night for Months

Research and write up a list of movies you’d love to watch together. Maybe they’ve never seen your favorite Hitchcock flicks or the “Lord of the Rings” saga. Leave a bunch of blank lines on your list for your love to fill in the movies they would like to stream with you, and have fun sharing together time while checking off each entry.

Trying to save money on streaming services? Check out services like Hoopla and Kanopy that can allow library-card holders to watch films for free.

15. Class Gift

Embark on an adventure together. Check your local library, community center, or arts organization for free or low-cost one-time classes, and sign both of you up. For instance, you might take a memoir-writing workshop, calligraphy tutorial, or strength-training class to spark a new hobby.

Valentine’s Day Explained

Curious about this holiday that’s all about love and how it got its name? Here’s a bit of history: Valentine’s Day may have been so named in honor of a priest who was martyred around the year 270. He was said to have signed a letter to his jailer’s daughter “from your Valentine” as that was his name. Legend has it that he befriended the young woman and healed her from blindness. His example may have helped to inspire today’s tradition.

Other versions of the day’s history also exist; no one is 100% certain of the origin.

Valentine’s Day by the Numbers

Here are a few interesting statistics related to the Valentine’s Day holiday and gift shopping:

•   Men spend $235, or almost twice as much as women do at $119, on average for Valentine’s Day.

•   In a recent year, Americans spent $6.2 billion on jewelry, $2.3 billion on flowers, and $2.2 billion on candy for Valentine’s Day.

•   Online dating activity can rise as much as 33% in the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, perhaps signaling that many people don’t want to be alone on that holiday.

The Takeaway

You are now armed with great Valentine’s Day ideas that maximize the moment without blowing your budget. With these tactics, being financially savvy doesn’t have to take a holiday while you celebrate.

Need another way to boost your finances? Take a look at what SoFi offers. When you open an online bank account, you’ll enjoy the convenience of spending and saving in one place, plus you’ll have access to a suite of tools that can make monitoring your money easier and help you grow your cash via Vaults and Roundups. What’s more, you’ll earn a competitive annual percentage yield (APY) and pay no account fees. And qualifying accounts with direct deposit can even access their paycheck up to two days early. Those are all features to love!

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.


All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store
SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender