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5 Romantic Budget Gifts (SPONSORED)

Incredible Ways to Melt Hearts Without Breaking the Bank

— February 21, 2012 — Special
This series is brought to you by TurboTax Federal Free Edition.

Reactions to Valentine’s Day can vary. For some, this time means relaxing with loved ones, indulging in chocolate-covered strawberries and sipping on freshly popped champagne. Others prefer to recognize Valentines as National Single Awareness Day, which funnily enough also involves copious amounts of alcohol and food consumption. Fortunately for singles, spending money is an optional expense, whereas couples are not so lucky. Lavish costs at this time of year include dining out at restaurants where fixed price menus are more impossible to avoid than Valentine’s Day-haters. After wandering around a shopping mall for less than 60 seconds it becomes clear that your intention to buy a stick of deodorant will only be fulfilled if you enjoy heart-shaped packaging. The real kicker is the fact that giving presents is no longer optional, but considered obligatory. Unfortunately, the thought of dropping $200 on dinner substantially decreases motivation to find that perfect present, and it doesn’t help that you’ve just purchased Speed Stick for Men inspired by a song from the Backstreet Boys.

The tough part about Valentine’s Day is being original with gifts. Lucky for all you lovers out there, Trend Hunter has an array of crafty ways to say, “Give me some sugar” (or something along those lines) without breaking the bank. Unless you’re a baller who enjoys dropping hundreds on a fancy glass of bubbly, these thrifty Valentine’s gifts will get you out of the doghouse, and into a glorious land where expensive drinks are the last things on your mind. These five budget Valentine’s Day gifts feature everything from tech to even cockroaches – who new these little critters could say, “I love you” while saving a pretty penny? One thing’s for certain: by following these crafty gift ideas, you’ll be able to woo your loved one while also paying your rent on time.

1) Lovey-Dovey Breakfasts

Have you ever had breakfast in bed? Those who have had this luxury will either a) love the fact that they don’t have to move more than five inches to fill their bellies or b) constantly concern themselves with keeping the sheets clean. If you’re among the latter, go make yourself a meal and throw it on that crispy white duvet of yours, because there is nothing sexier than having your man (or woman) wait on you hand and foot. Don’t be selfish; embrace this luxury, because it doesn’t happen very often. This Valentine’s Day, take this gesture of kindness one step further in creativity by offering a plate full of Red Velvet Pancakes. Check out ‘A Girl and Her Carrot’ blog to learn the recipe of this scrumptious dish, which will cost a whole lot less than breakfast in a crowded restaurant. This delectable meal comes complete with icing sugar, a heart-shaped design and, if you’re willing to take the messy risk, as much maple syrup as your taste buds desire.

2) Insectual Romance Gifts

Whoever said cockroaches were ugly? These little things can be cute at times, right? As much as I try and spin these tiny creatures to be something of grand elegance, truth told they exude as much beauty as a menopausal mother-in-law. This does not mean to say they can’t live up to your budget-friendly limitations. The Bronx Zoo is offering these creepy crawly specimens to the public for Valentine’s Day. They have about 58,000 Madagascar hissing cockroaches (the really loud kind), and for only $10 you can name one of these attractive insects after your loved one. Now, I can hear half of you scoffing at the very thought, but not everyone enjoys roses and chocolates. Just think of the sheer terror and surprise on your girlfriend’s face when she finds out you actually named a creature after her. Some choose to name stars after their loved one, others find somewhere a little closer to the ground. In the end, it’s the thought that counts.

3) Valentine USBs

Remember the days without that thing called the Internet? The days when one was forced to use two objects called a pen and paper for long-distance communication? Nowadays, it’s hard to recreate the magic and sheer effort it takes to write and send a written letter, so the crafty people over at Sourcing Map managed to come up with the next best thing: a heart-shaped USB key that will hold as many love letters as your little fingers can type. This cute device sells for only $19.79, and is sure to score you points with your loved one. The USB key has all the right features to make your lover swoon, including a heart-shaped design, a necklace to ensure the device stays close at all times and most importantly, hard drive space to express just how much you care. Say “I love you” in fifty different ways with this creative key from Sourcing Map.

4) Frisky Handcuff Treats

So the big Valentine’s Day has arrived and you’ve done everything right. The candlelit dinner under the moonlight by the open ocean went swimmingly (pun intended), you bought her that expensive diamond necklace she purposefully pointed out right after Christmas and you even wore that ugly turtleneck she thinks is just so darn cute. Problem is, by the time you get back home and it’s time for a bit of mood setting, you’ve only got $6.45 in your pocket, which isn’t even enough to pick up a bottle of bubbly. What’s that you say? You only have six dollars and forty-five cents to spare? Lucky for you the Candy Cuffs cost exactly that, and are sure to do the trick to help with more original ways to get down to “business time.” Just leave these as a last-minute present on the pillow and let pure bliss ensue. Your significant other can nibble there way to happiness while you can rest easy knowing that was the best six bucks you’ll ever spend.

5) Cupid's Arrow Steepers

The day after Valentine’s can be tough. For some, anxiety is produced by the sheer terror of how much money they’ve spent the day before, and for others this means gift receiving is now over until the next birthday or Christmas rolls around. Granted, if you’ve followed this gift-giving guide accordingly, your unease will be quelled slightly, but that still doesn’t rid those feelings of angst now that national love day is over. You know once you return to the bedroom that all thoughts from the significant other of Candy Cuffs and technological love letters have now been pushed to the side. To satisfy both parties in this post lover-day blues dilemma, the Tea to My Heart tea infuser is the perfect way to say, “I love you” after the big day is done. For only $9.99, you can wake up your loved one with a piping hot steeped beverage, and also relax knowing your bank account is still above zero. If you’re lucky, this gesture may even grant you another go with the Candy Cuffs.