You turned around twice and it’s already here. The big one. The day when romantic expectations can run high and the bank account can feel a little low. Don’t beat yourself up. Valentine’s Day has come flying in, and now you’re in a bit of a panic trying to pull off the most romantic day of the year with a short timeline and a shorter budget.

We’ve got you covered. 

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, studies tell us that people spend close to $24 billion on gifts and surprises. That’s a lot of dollars shelled out in the name of love, especially coming right on the heels of Christmas spending. Even the timing of Valentine’s can be a little tricky, since you may have used your best ideas for something special to put under the Christmas tree, and now, here you are, just a free short weeks later, racking your brain for the next expression of your love and devotion.

But Valentine’s Day surprises don’t have to be expensive or wildly time-consuming. Take a look at the following ideas and let your imagination hit play. In no time, you’ll have a game plan for making this historic day of love your best ever!

Surprise your love with a weekend getaway: Okay, yes, right after promising you inexpensive ideas with a small budget, we’re already rolling out the big guns. But let’s reframe it a bit. This is a trip that you and your love can work together to plan for in the upcoming months. It doesn’t have to happen right around February 14th. Or, if you’d like to get away, think out of the box. Is there someone in your community who has a lake cabin or vacation home? Could you barter with them for a couple of days’ stay? What about swapping houses with friends who live in another city? It could be a win/win for you both and an economical way to celebrate the day. 

Bust out that pen and paper: There’s nothing like a heartfelt love letter. Seriously. Receiving thoughtful words that spell out what you love about your partner is timeless. And it not only tells them specifically what you love about them, but it also speaks to your willingness to sit down and take the time to think it through. Your intentionality and your words will shine bright in this Valentine’s gift for the ages. 

Dinner for two, at home: Sure, you might not feel like you’re the greatest cook. You might not want to mess up the kitchen and get yourself into a cooking sweat on Valentine’s Day. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a romantic dinner at home. There are plenty of amazing gourmet choices in the freezer section of your local grocery store that take minimal effort but pay big dinner dividends at your romantic table for two. Or consider having dinner delivered to your house, so you can focus on time with your love. Either way, you can skip the crowded restaurants and inflated prices by making dinner at home really special. 

Don’t forget the power of a great mixtape: Okay, so maybe you don’t need to kick it completely old school and go back to the pause-record-cassette tape days. But now it’s easier than ever to hop on your favorite music streaming service and create a collection of the songs that mean the most to each of you and that are statements of your relationship. Make sure to include songs from when you met, from your wedding, songs that you fell in love with on a special trip –music really is one of the most powerful memory activators we have. So put that superpower to good use and make this Valentine’s one of the most memorable ever simply through significant songs. 

With a little intentionality and a little time, you can help your partner know just how much they mean to you this Valentine’s Day. And if you didn’t find a fit for your budget and time here, be sure and check out these ideas where you’ll find more inspiration. 
And don’t miss this information on how love and relationships impact your health and well-being. As it turns out, Valentine’s Day has a lot more to it than the commercialism and romanticization we’ve come to expect. Make this one a day to remember!