Still scrambling for that perfect Valentine’s Day gift?
Wondering how you’re going to get your special someone something truly special — without spending a lot of money in the process?
Even if you’ve only got $5 in your pocket, you can still make this Valentine’s Day memorable.
22 Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas Under $5
We’ve already got you covered with at-home date ideas — for whether you are together in-person or far apart. Here are 50 last-minute gifts that all cost less than $5.
Remember mixtapes? Bring that sentiment to the 21st century by making your special someone a Spotify playlist. You don’t even need Spotify Premium; just get the free version of Spotify for your desktop, build the perfect list and share it with your valentine.
2. Lloyd Dobler Serenade
This one works best if your Valentine is a fan of classic ’80s movies.
Take the iconic image of Say Anything’s Lloyd Dobler holding a boombox over his head as you model and get ready to tell your valentine that “In your eyes… I am complete.”
Use an actual boombox if you can get your hands on one, or pull out your iPhone and crank up the volume.
3. Bulk Candy
Maybe your special someone likes jelly beans or chocolate-covered almonds. The bulk candy aisle offers plenty of choices for putting together a $5 gift that tastes better — and is much more personalized — than a cheap box of waxy Valentine’s candy.
If you’re giving bulk candy, presentation matters. Put it in an attractive bag or box, tie it up with a ribbon and make your gift as special as the recipient.
4. Handmade Card
A handmade card can often be one of the best and most treasured Valentine’s Day presents.
Anyone can go to the grocery store and get a 99-cent card with a pre-printed message. Only you can make a one-of-a-kind card with your own heartfelt statement of love.
Do you have painting or sketching skills? Make your special someone a piece of original art. It’s hard to go wrong with a flattering portrait or a sketch of the place where the two of you shared your first kiss.
Your cost investment depends on how many art supplies you currently have around, but a hobby store often sells affordable individual sheets of art paper. Even an ink drawing on a piece of good paper can look beautiful.
Write your valentine a love poem. It worked for Shakespeare, and it could work for you. Choose one of the classic poetry formats, such as the sonnet or the villanelle, or create your own.
Take your poem one step further by setting it to music. How many people get a song written just for them? Perform it for your special someone on Valentine’s Day, and you’ll learn that the best gifts don’t have to cost a thing.
8. Band Performance
Got a friend who can play bass and a buddy who knows the drums? Teach them the song you just wrote, or ask if they’ll be willing to help you cover a song that has a special meaning for you and your valentine. Then give your valentine a never-to-be-forgotten concert.
9. Request a Song
Sometimes the simplest gifts are the best. If your local radio station takes requests, request your special song. Text your valentine when it’s time for your song to play, or listen to it together.
10. Old Shirt Turned into a Pillow
Take an old T-shirt and turn it into a pillow. This Instructables guide will help you get started. You’ll need to get something to stuff the pillow with, which you can generally get at a craft store or even Target or Walmart for under $5.
11. Old Stuffed Animal
Nothing says “I’m in this for the long term” like “This was my old stuffed bear, and I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.”
Giving the gift of an old stuffed animal shows your special someone that you love and trust them enough to share one of your most treasured possessions.
Have a favorite book that you think your valentine will also love? Take it off your bookshelf, write an inscription and turn it into a gift. It’s just as intimate as giving a stuffed animal, and you can talk about the book together afterwards.
Don’t want to give away your only copy of your favorite read? Find it in a used bookstore. You can often get used books for under $5, and they make excellent presents.
If your special someone owns a Kindle, a Nook or another e-reader, there are gobs of books available for under $5. Look for the 99-cent listings so you can give multiple books and make your gift look extra-special. You can also look for deals from Bookbub.
13. Homemade Cookies
While everyone else is getting expensive bouquets delivered to their valentines, why not give your date a plate of delicious homemade cookies? You can also take these cookies with you for a picnicking or stargazing adventure.
14. Love Thoughts in a Jar
All you’ll need for this one is a jar and a few pieces of paper. Tear or cut the paper into strips and write something special on each strip. Then, fold the strips in half and put them into the jar.
When your valentine wants a little extra love, all he or she has to do is take a strip out of the jar and read one of your messages.
15. Book of Memories
Buy an inexpensive sketchbook or notebook. Then, fill each page with a memory — the place you first met, the first time you held hands, the concert the two of you attended last spring. Draw, write, glue in ticket stubs — do whatever you want to make this book a true book of memories. Chances are it will be an unforgettable gift.
16. Coupon Book
The coupon book is another classic gift that has almost become cliché. The secret to making it work is to put together coupons that your valentine actually wants.
Does your valentine like picking the movie you watch together? Does your valentine like not having to do the dishes? Choosing the right coupons is what makes this gift special.
17. Massage Night
Get some massage oil, put some towels over freshly washed sheets and give your special someone the massage he or she has always wanted. Look for resources online, like these massage tips from Canyon Ranch resort, that will show you how to give a safe, proper massage.
18. Shared Journal
Get an inexpensive notebook, write a journal entry and give it to your Valentine with the instructions to read what’s inside, write a new journal entry and give the notebook back.
Keep this pattern going until the notebook is full. A shared journal is a lovely way to write about hopes, dreams and plans for the future.
19. Love Letters
Have you read the book “The Wednesday Letters”? It’s the story of a man who writes his wife a new love letter each Wednesday.
Why not make this Valentine’s Day the start of a Wednesday letter tradition of your own? Give the gift of a love letter, and tell your valentine that it is the first of many to come.
20. Clean All The Things
Want a gift that your valentine will really love? Try a perfectly cleaned home.
Find an excuse for your special someone to be out of the house or apartment on Valentine’s Day morning and then scrub, wash, sweep and fold. Top it off with a few flowers in a vase or a plate of homemade cookies on the table.
21. The 36 Questions
If you read the Modern Love column in The New York Times, you might have seen the piece about The 36 Questions That Lead to Love.
These questions, which include “What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?” and “When did you last cry in front of another person?” are designed to build intimacy and bring people closer together.
Spend an evening asking your valentine those questions — and answering them yourself — and it becomes an evening you’re unlikely to forget.
22. One Rose or Grocery Store Flowers
If you can’t afford a bouquet of roses, see if your local flower shop is selling single roses. A single red rose often says more than a whole dozen.
Even the most humble of grocery store bouquets can become beautiful with a little help. Take the flowers out of the plastic, trim them and put them into a vase. Or, if you don’t have a vase on hand, get a glass jar out of the recycling bin, rinse it out and put the flowers in.
Nicole Dieker is a contributor to Codetic.