It can be easy to spend a lot of money on a Valentine’s Day celebration. Everything under the sun has a red heart on it to make you believe it would be the perfect gift for your sweetie. When you tally up the chocolate, flowers, dinner, movies, or whatever else becomes your Valentine’s Day gifts—it can really add up!
If this year there really isn’t much wiggle room in the budget, or if you just want to be a little more creative, try some of these great ideas.
Make a Home-Cooked Meal They Will Enjoy
Possibly the simplest and kindest of all the gestures, everyone appreciates a delicious home-cooked meal. Especially if it’s something comforting to eat on a tough day, or something fancy after weeks of the usual menu. Try to do the planning, preparation, and cleanup too. Even if usually you both divide the chores, letting your spouse feel pampered and giving them time to relax is really nice, especially if that person usually does the bulk of the cooking and cleaning.
Do the Grossest Chore Without Being Asked
Most likely, your spouse dislikes doing at least one or two chores more than any of the others, and chances are you aren’t crazy about doing these chores either. Make a decision a few days ahead of time about what special effort you will take. A significant option might be cleaning out the attic, garage or basement. A less time-consuming option would be to make the bathroom clean and shiny once again. The nice part about doing this chore is that it makes your spouse feel like you understand them and know how to give them something truly thoughtful, rather than something you purchased for the holiday.
Find a Movie or Game You Haven’t Seen in a While
Many of us own games and movies, even if we don’t watch them or play them all the time. Dig into storage or below the top stack of games and find something you’ve enjoyed in the past but haven’t seen in a while. It doesn’t have to be a game or a movie, but those are great options for essentially “reusing” something as a gift to relive a happy memory of the past. Another option is to arrange a game swap with a friend. Tell them the games you already have, see which ones they have, and swap games for Valentine’s Day.
Do Yoga, a Workout or a Cycling Class Together at the Gym
If you are paying for a gym membership anyway, look into any classes or an open workout space available to you. Find a time when you each can join the same class or work out together, and try to do something that allows some interaction. Cycling class usually results in some commiseration on the uphill parts, and a yoga workout can let you practice some partner yoga moves. If one of you knows more about lifting weights than the other, take turns leading the workout together.
Pick Out a Book They Would Like to Read and Leave It on Their Nightstand
When you are at the library next time, pick up two or three books that you think might be interesting to your spouse. Leave them by their bedside. Next, volunteer to help with cleanup or putting kids to bed so your spouse will get a little time reading by himself or herself. This is a pretty simple pleasure, but if you married a reader, they will love this gift of free time and a good story to read.
Tidy the Messiest Part of the House
If your spouse is constantly losing his or her keys on the messy kitchen table—tackle that mess! Find a way to bring order to a part of your life that frustrates your spouse. By seeking out a space to organize that has grown chaotic, you are choosing to do something difficult as a way of showing your affection. You both benefit from knowing everything is in its proper place, as well.
While none of these ideas are exceptionally grand gestures, they all are free of charge to you and could mean the world to your spouse. Sometimes what we really want for Valentine’s Day is to have one or two of the little daily annoyances taken away and replaced by something sweet and simple. To see that smile on your beloved’s face is well worth a little elbow grease and some attention to detail!