Money Monday: Celebrate Valentine’s Day Without Spending Money

There are ways to show your thoughtfulness that don’t involve $100 long-stem roses or a costly romantic getaway. shows you how.

Posted: 02/13/2012 07:30 AM EST
Being Cheap on Valentines day

Valentine’s Day only comes once a year and if you don’t already have a token of appreciation for that special person in your life, you better get moving because you have less than 24 hours before Feb. 14.


Like gift-shopping during the holidays, we all know how expensive last-minute gifts can be. According to the National Retail Federation, total spending for Valentine’s Day-related products is expected to reach $17.6 billion and the average person will spend about $126.03. But, why pay so much?


There are ways to show your thoughtfulness that don’t involve $100 long-stem roses or a costly romantic getaway.


"Just like any other holiday, it's important to stay within a reasonable budget," Amy Kniss, Money Editor, tells "A great way to curb spending is to set a gift budget with your Valentine. You can make it meaningful and romantic by creating a fun challenge, for example, the gift has to remind you of your first date.”


In order to help you celebrate on a budget, Kniss shares tips of how to celebrate Valentine’s Day without spending money:


For Her:


1) Leave a note on her pillow, a note on her dressing table mirror, a note on the breakfast table and a note on her car's steering wheel.


2) Find a classic love poem and write it on the bathroom mirror.


3) Bring her breakfast in bed — with a love note on the tray.


4) Draw a heart on her makeup mirror.


5) Use a can of water-soluble, non-toxic aerosol paint to write a message of love on the grass in your yard.


6) Call her favorite radio station and request a romantic song during the time she drives to work.


7) Change the welcome message on your answering machine to an expression of love.


8) Show up at her workplace, meet her as she takes her break, and whisk her away to a lovely park. Have a picnic lunch, complete with candle and rose.


9) Write her a long letter, one in which you recall the most emotional parts of your romantic history.


10) Print out "I Love You" posters on your computer, put them on your garage door and on light posts around the neighborhood.


11) Ask her to watch the sunset with you — and promise her your love will burn longer than the sun.


12) Open the windows, put her favorite romantic song on the CD player and invite her to dance under the stars.


13) Cook her favorite dinner and serve it by candlelight.


For Him:


1) Put a note on the bathroom mirror promising to share an afternoon delight.


2) Fill his car with balloons, each with an "I Love You" message inside.


3) Find his car at work and leave a note on the steering wheel suggesting a romantic rendezvous. Meet him with drinks and snacks and a love note.


4) Meet him after work wearing your sexiest outfit and tempt him away to lover's lane. Carry along a bottle of sparkling water and a basket of canapés.


5) Leave him a series of notes to follow so that you meet in a romantic place.


6) Leave a trail of paper hearts, each with a loving message, from the front door to the bedroom for him to find as he comes home from work.


7) Cook his favorite dinner and serve it by candlelight.


8) Wrap up your prettiest negligee in a fancy package, complete with a note that promises a romantic evening.


9) Decorate your bedroom in a theme — tropical island, old West, ancient castle — that appeals to his interests.


10) Light candles in your bedroom and lay out a romantic picnic on your bed.


11) Scatter Hershey's Chocolate Kisses all over the bed.


Make it a thoughtful, not a costly, day. You’ll feel much better about the money left in your pocket.


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(Photo: Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

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