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Valentine's Day 2020: gift ideas for a limited budget

  man with flowers

If you absolutely have to do flowers, at least get a good deal for it.

The Bouqs Company

Here's a forgotten truth about Valentine's Day: you can express your affection for someone without spending a fortune. I am not saying that you have to be cheap, only that attention usually beats extravagance. The home-cooked dinner, the handwritten card, the fun activity that you planned because you like to do things together – your special person will probably appreciate these things more than a huge flower arrangement, an expensive restaurant or lavish gifts.

With that in mind, I have completed some suggestions for the economical, some affordable alternatives to traditional Valentine's Day gifts. And don't forget that all of these can work in addition to also a traditional gift – it doesn't have to be either / or.

Opt for trips

It is nowadays an ordinary chorus that experiences are more memorable than physical things. Indeed, what is your other half more inclined to remember lovingly: flowers that died in a week or the painting lesson that you took together?

That is why I am very much in favor of planning an outing. It shows that you have thought about it. It gives you an activity to do together (and being together, that's what it's all about?). And it creates memories – not something you usually get from another restaurant dinner.

Here are a few ideas along with some estimated costs:

  • Go geocaching: Free
  • Follow a painting course: $ 35- $ 40 per person (but check Groupon for deals) [19659011] Try an escape room: $ 25- $ 35 per person
  • Go throw an ax or soccer-bowling (aka "fowling"): $ 20- $ 35 per person
  • View a movie in a theater (gasp for breath!): $ 8- $ 23 per person

Remember, it is not critical that you do your activity on Valentine's Day (this is a Tuesday this year, and therefore not especially suitable for work schedule & # 39; s). But you can announce the gift of the activity – and yes, anticipation is half the fun.

I will also note that although the movie option seems a bit dull, it is still two hours in the dark with your loved one. You can mix it up by seeing a classic or art-house movie, something unusual. But I recommend choosing a movie that they want to see not what's at the top of your list.

Save on flowers (or skip them all over)

How important are flowers on Valentine's Day? Probably less than you think. Last year I conducted a Twitter survey and less than 10% of respondents said that flowers were "fully expected". The vast majority were divided into "not essential, but nice" and "not expected / wanted". (Important disclaimer: I have no idea about the gender breakdown of the respondents.)

That "meh" attitude towards flowers is good news, because flower prices have already risen and are about to get higher. A bouquet of roses that costs $ 35 in early January can now be sold for $ 45- $ 50 – maybe higher depending on where you buy.

Translation: skip them. Or, if you like the symbolism of the gesture, a single rose or tulip or carnation is fine. Consider this answer from @chieflittletoes to the aforementioned poll:

I hate wasting money on overpriced roses. [My husband] still wants to spoil [me] so he sends me pictures of bouquets that he would buy if I allowed him. All thought and romance, none of the wasted money. Moreover, I usually receive dozens of bouquets in this way, in all colors. One rose, if you MUST buy is enough!

Do you still feel that there is nothing better than flowers? Here is an exclusive deal for CNET readers: Save 15% on your purchase at UrbanStems when you apply promotional code CSUS15 .

If you are going to buy flowers, chances are you can save even more by using a money back service. At Rakuten, for example, you can get a substantial 24% back from Florists.com, 30% from ProFlowers and so on. (If you are new to this concept, read my story on four surprising ways to get money back .)

Save on dinner

  insignia-6-quart-pressure-cooker-2 "data-original =" https://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/img/hfHNbxMs6gTKUx8Z9dyVEhxJZFc=/2019/08/19/7bd0058c-8cc3-4c0c-ae3e-2c8fe534b0c0/insignia-6-quart-pressure-cooker-2.jpg [19659026] insignia-6-quart-pressure cooker-2

Throw some food in this Insignia pressure cooker and presto: romantic dinner!

Best buy

If you have not yet booked a table for Valentine's Day, well, good luck. But do you know what is better than dining in a busy, overpriced restaurant? A home-cooked meal at home. (Psst: you also have a cleaning service.)

Are you a klutz in the kitchen? Consider some of the amazing things you can achieve with an Instant Pot (or similar pressure cooker), which even nonchefs can use to make some nice gourmet meals quickly and easily. In fact, this top class Insignia 6-quarter pressure cooker is on sale for just $ 29.99 (save $ 30).

Of course you must first learn how to use a pressure cooker . Then view this collection of our favorite Instant Pot recipes some of which consist of complete meals.

Now for dessert. You simply can't beat the classic chocolate-dipped strawberries that are incredibly simple (and inexpensive) to make at home. Simply wash and dry some berries, melt some chocolate chips on the stove or in the microwave and then immerse. Go to Google or YouTube if you need more help, but that's really all.

Save on gifts

Ah, the eternal question: what is a suitable Valentine's Day gift? If you think technical equipment doesn't seem very romantic, well, then you're not mistaken. I'm not going to suggest something like a Bluetooth speaker or, horror, a Fitbit, although I do have some gadget-like ideas. Make sure that this is the "starter" gift, not the main course.

How about something that is practical, beautiful and visible every day? I'm thinking of a new phone case, one with a meaningful design: a custom photo, a decorative floral pattern or a favorite sports team logo. It's a nice option for people who want to change their appearance from time to time, and it's certainly not crazy-expensive.

  casetify cases "data-original =" https://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/img/d2BeQnQQxVJV86lLzv1Z-K3icl8=/2020/01/31/48d3a49d-9a94-4b13-baab-95571b0b9b47/casetify-cases.jpg

Casetify is one of many sources for gift boxes.


At Casetify you can, for example, choose from a wide range of decorative telephone cases or create your own design. Promotion code DT15 saves you 15% on your order. (You can also get 10.5% money back from TopCashback, only FYI.)

I am also a big fan of Tile trackers, who are incredibly handy and very affordable. The Tile Slim, for example, costs only $ 30 although I would wait as long as possible to order, because Tile always sells. (There was one about a week ago; I expect another one soon.) This is meant to be put in a wallet or bag and can help you find a lost phone. But it also works the other way around, which means that a phone can help you find a lost wallet or wallet.

Again, this is hardly a romantic gift, but it's all in how you frame it. "I know how frustrating it is when things get lost," you say, "and a man I know says these Tile things are great." Above all, make sure that a case or tracker is part of a larger gift experience – the Valentine's Day equivalent of a stocking stuffer, not the main event.

Your thoughts?

More Valentine's Day gift ideas

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Originally published last year. Updated to show new information and prices.

Cheapskate from CNET searches the web for great offers for technical products and much more. Follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter for the latest offers and updates. Find more great purchases on the CNET Deals page and view our CNET Coupons page for the latest promotional codes from Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.

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