Gold jewelry and red roses are fine Valentine’s Day presents if you’re flush with cash. When money is tight, however, creativity is all you need to shower your sweetheart in romantic gifts and make fun kids’ Valentine presents-all on a budget your wallet will love.
Valentine’s Gifts for Her
A Clever Candy Bar: You don’t need an entire box of chocolates to brighten the day of your sweetheart. Buy a large-size candy bar at the grocery store and use your word-processing program to design a new wrapper. Insert a photo of your significant other and give the bar a new name or slogan, such as “Sweets for Sally,” or “You’re the Best-Bar None.”
Gifts to Grow On: At this time of year, packets of flower and vegetable seeds sprout up at stores. Pick a few standards that she plants every year and include a homemade coupon for an afternoon or two of help with spring planting.
Electronic Sudoku Game: Give your honey more than 100 sudoku puzzles at her fingertips with the Discovery Channel Store’s Electronic Handheld Sudoku game. Price: $12.99. Shipping is $5.95.
Valentine’s Gifts for Him
Favorite Dinner/Dessert: Fire up the outside grill in February and cook a steak, if that’s your hubby’s ideal dinner. Bake his favorite cake or pie, or simply bring home his choice of a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor.
Hobby Helpers: Your guitar-playing boyfriend could always use more picks. Fender Premium Celluloid Guitar Picks run $3.99 for a pack of eight at Musician’s Friend. Shipping starts at $5.95. The handyman will appreciate the versatile Leatherman Micra Multi-Tool, available from Sears for $19.99, shipping varies.
Pen and Pencil Holder: This gift is a family affair. With your kids, clean a tin soup can and brush it with a mixture of glue and a little water. Wrap pink, red, and white yarn around the outside of the can, pressing each strand into the glue as you go. Cut out felt hearts or letters to glue on Valentine’s Day wishes. Use a different color scheme for a more masculine look.
Valentine’s Gifts for Kids
School-age children likely will bring home piles of candy and Valentine’s cards from their classmates, so parents should steer away from adding more sugary sweets to the mix.
Heart-Shaped Fun: Avoiding candy and sweets doesn’t mean you can’t show your love with healthy food. On the morning of Valentine’s Day, cut hearts out of pancakes or waffles with a cookie cutter. Do the same for sandwiches at lunchtime.
Loving List: Let the messy bedrooms lie this Valentine’s Day and shower your child with compliments with a list of things you love about him or her. Glue the list to heart-shaped construction paper or decorate with sparkly glitter just make sure your list is chock full of your kid’s best attributes, such as “Always brings his dishes to the sink after dinner” and “Best cat petter in the neighborhood.”