10 Low or No Cost Ways to Let Your Valentine Know You Care

In the books I write for Harlequin Desire, every hero is a billionaire that can sweep the heroine off to a private island or shower her with priceless gemstones. In reality, some of us have a budget to consider when we choose gifts for our loved ones to show how we feel. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be special. Check out these great ideas for romantic, thoughtful and tasty gifts for those important people in your life.

1. Write It Down! – Write a letter telling each loved one in your family what they mean to you. Put it on nice paper and frame it in an inexpensive frame with a photo of the recipient.

2. Be a Coupon Clipper – Create a coupon or a book of coupons for your loved one. You can offer your kids the chance to stay up 30 minutes past their bedtime, a one-on-one activity of their choice or a free pass on their chores for a day. Offer your honey one of their favorite treats whenever they want it – be it cookies, a night out without the kids or a little dance in that red nightie they like. What is better than planned time with people that are important to you?

3. Give the Gift of Quality Time – Do something together. It doesn’t have to cost a dime. Go hike on your favorite trail, picnic in the park or go for a drive. Take the opportunity to block out the daily distractions, silence the cell phone and focus on conversation and one-on-one time.

4. Sweets for the Sweet – Instead of shelling out the big bucks for a box of candy at the store, make your own chocolate-covered strawberries or chocolate chip cookies at home. Make up their favorite treat and put it in a cute container.

5. Love Notes – Remember back in school when you’d get that note from your crush and your heart would just go pitter-pat? Channel that and write love notes for your honey. Slip them into their briefcase, lunch container or wallet. You can leave them randomly or use them like a scavenger hunt that leads them to their final prize… you!

6. Listen & Act - Do something for your loved one that you know they wanted to do or they have been meaning to get to. It can be anything from getting their car washed to buying that new book they mentioned by their favorite author.  Everyone wants to know that someone is listening to them and it can be both a happy surprise and a load off their mind.

7. Breakfast in Bed – It’s a classic for a reason. What is more decadent than lying in bed and having your favorite breakfast treats brought to you? It’s not hard to whip out some heart-shaped pancakes or cinnamon rolls and win over your honey. Even better if you lie in bed together afterward and be lazy.

8. Bring the 80s Back – Make your loved one the modern equivalent of the mixed tape. Download some relationship favorites from iTunes or burn a few perfect songs from your collection to a CD. Think of the songs that remind you of them, your wedding dance song, one you sang together in the car on a road trip… anything that is special to the two of you. (Note: Be sure not to pirate songs. The only sexy pirate on Valentine’s Day is Jack Sparrow.)

9. Rub A Dub-Dub! – We are all hard working, stressed out people. What better treat than a relaxing massage? Whether it’s a ten minute foot massage or a full-body rub down with a luxurious scented oil, they’re sure to appreciate it and maybe…reciprocate!

10. Movie Night – The theater is nice, but it can be expensive with ten dollar popcorn and five dollar sodas. Plan a night in with your loved one, instead. Get some of your favorite candies and drinks at the store, pop some popcorn and pile up on the couch with their favorite flick. Even if it’s nothing but guns and space aliens, you’ll appreciate the time together and he’ll appreciate getting to pick for once!

So there you go! Ten easy ways anyone on any budget can show the people they love how much they care on Valentine’s Day, and all year round! Do you have any other fun suggestions?

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