According to the National Retail Federation, the average American spends about $147 on items like candy, flowers and jewelry for Valentine’s Day. But you don’t have to plan ahead to pull off a successful night. If you’re a procrastinator, think outside the box. Skip the normal dinner-and-a-movie routine for something creative:
A magazine subscription. Show your loved one you’re interested in their interests by getting them a yearlong subscription. Make the transaction online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, then pick up a physical copy of the latest issue and pair with flowers for a cute, smart present.
A deck of cards. BuzzFeed proposes taking a sharpie and writing one thing you like about your sweetheart on each card, then hole-punching and threading a ribbon through it. Ta-da: cheap and thoughtful.
A cooking class. This is a win-win scenario: Your partner gets a gift, and you get food. Check out a website like Course Horse to select a cuisine you both love — or have never tried — and sign them up.
A silk pillowcase. Inc.com recommends this because it keeps your hair neat and skin clean while making your lover feel fancy. Stop by your nearest department store and pick up two so you can match. Or orderonline.
A bottle of whiskey. Who wouldn’t want a drink on Valentine’s Day? Bustle suggests tying or taping on a cute label like this one, which says “you whisk me off my feet.” Or, honestly, just give it to them plain.
An intimate board game. Buy a secondhand version of a game like Monopoly or Pictionary and switch up the rules. The Stir recommends playing Sorry, but every time you send your partner back, give them a kiss to make up for it.
A home-cooked meal. This is an old standby, but it works. Make a simple recipe like spaghetti carbonara, buy a nice loaf of bread and throw together a good salad. It’s your time and effort, not the complexity of the meal, that matters.