I’ll be honest: I’ve never been one to go all out on Valentine’s Day. Sure, a big bouquet, fancy dinner, and awesome V-Day gift is nice, but the pressure to make it super fabulous has always turned me off from big romantic gestures. Instead, I’m more into the small, thoughtful gestures that show love in ways your partner will remember.

An added bonus to the more thoughtful gift? It tends to make for the most budget-friendly Valentine’s day gifts around.

Whether or not you’re operating on a tight budget or opting for a Valentine’s Day gift that prioritizes sentiment over stuff, it’s a surefire way to make your date feel extra special. So feel the love, and get creative with the following five practically free V-Day gifts.

photo by kristen kilpatrick

photo by kristen kilpatrick

Give a Massage

What most of these budget-friendly gift ideas boil down to is spending time instead of money. And there’s no sexier way to do just that than to give the gift of a DIY massage. Bust out your nicest candles and that body oil you’ve been saving for a special occasion and get your Valentine relaxed. Then, focus on the areas you know where they carry stress — if they’re constantly cracking their neck or rubbing their shoulders start there. How sexy things get next is up to you.

photo by kristen kilpatrick

Take Something Off Their Plate

Just like you’ve clocked where your Valentine could use a little bit of loosening up, you also know that thing on their to-do list they just can’t seem to tackle. So shake them up a cocktail (more on that in a minute), and get to it. Your Valentine will appreciate the thoughtfulness and the effort you’ve put in, no matter how small the task.

photo by kristen kilpatrick

Make Your Own V-Day Card

If you’re anything like me, most Valentine’s Day cards send you running for the hills. Instead of dropping more money than you’d like on a cringe-worthy card, make one that doubles as a keepsake. You could go as elaborate (think a handmade booklet that captures your most romantic memories) or as simple (a heartfelt letter) as you’d like. Not only will you get to control the level of sap, you’ll create an heirloom that honors your relationship in the process.

photo by hannah haston

Play Bartender

Skipping the four-course Valentine’s Day tasting menu is one of the easiest way to make your celebrations a bit more budget conscious. But even if you’re an all-star cook, it can be hard to replicate those romantic dinner vibes without a killer cocktail or two on the menu. So spend a little bit of extra cash on beefing up your bar cart with everything you need to whip up a cocktail for your Valentine. Everything else will feel a little bit more special because of it. (Oh, and don’t forget the to round out your menu with chocolate covered strawberries.)

photo by kristen kilpatrick

Make a Day of It

Stringing together an entire day of mini-dates designed to make your partner feel loved at every turn is one epic way to spend Valentine’s day. Again, you don’t necessarily need to do any grand gestures here. Just start the morning with a cuddle sesh or breakfast in bed, then head out for a walk around your favorite part of town (and hold hands while you’re at it!), before wrapping everything up with a romantic night in. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

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