hands holding small gifts with heart label

Gifts From Your Heart (Not Your Wallet)

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Stressed about what to get your partner for Valentine’s Day or another gift giving holiday?

Don’t worry, I will show you that you don’t need to spend a lot of money, if any, to show someone you love them.


Show Them Love!

Whenever a holiday comes around, it helps you put a little pep in your step to do something above and beyond for your partner.

Because you love them and want them to feel special, not because you have to.

What you do should say “I love you and you are the greatest”.

So with all the advertisements out there telling you that you need to buy jewelry, go to expensive restaurants,  etc., what do you do if you are broke and want to show your partner you love them?

You came to the right place, because if there is one thing Aaron and I know well, it’s how to make the other feel special when you are broke.

I am going to start off giving you free ideas of things we have done in the past that were home runs and examples of how we did it. Towards the end, I will throw in some ideas for a little bit of dough that we have also done that were pretty fantastic too.

FYI, don’t mind the bad picture quality of some of the photos below.  They were taken a long time ago, when cell phone cameras were pretty bad.




The Thoughtful Gifts 


1. Create a Heart Shaped Collage

Pick out photos of things that mean a lot to your relationship.

Things that will bring up great memories you shared. Things you have in your life that makes you both happy.

You would then arrange the pictures into a heart shape and watch while your partner looks at every one and smiles at the memories.

Example: One year, Aaron went to work, he came home to a heart shaped collage of photos of me and him, and our best memories taped on the wall.

There were pictures of us in random places we visited, pictures of our dog, even a picture of our favorite cupcakes (It was the Hershey’s Smores Cupcakes in case you were wondering.  Unfortunately it is no longer sold in stores).



2. Write Them a Letter

Write your partner a letter letting them know everything you feel about them. Aaron did this for me one year and it is still the best gift he has ever given me. The best part is it is free and comes from the heart.

Not sure where to start? I got you.

Start off by letting them know what you were like before you got together and how much better you are now with them. Let them know the things you love about them, and then go into detail on a memory that really made you fall in love. Let them know you appreciate them and mention the things they do that they think you don’t notice.

Mention aspects of their personality that made you want to be a better person. Pour your heart and soul into it.


3. Create a List of 100 Things You Love About Them

Be specific! You can make multiple points about the same type of thing. You can insert funny things. Inside jokes. Their personality. Things they do. How they make you feel. There is so much you can say.

Honestly, I got stumped when I hit 90. So then I thought back to others I had written and decided to elaborate even more on them with extra detail.

Your partner knowing there are so many things you love about them will surely brighten their day.

Example:  One Valentine’s Day, Aaron came home from work and the entire dining room wall was covered in slips of papers. On each one, was a number and a reason why I loved him. In the middle of the slips of paper was one regular paper with a poem on it that explained the wall. I walked in the dining room in the middle of him reading the wall and he had tears in his eyes!

We later took it down and put it all in a scrapbook (shown) because he wanted to keep it and re-read it.



4. Make a Movie Slideshow

Not sure how to make one? I didn’t either.

Windows Media Player actually walks you through how to do it, so it made it super easy on me. Their icons are amazing and you can tell exactly what it is for, so you don’t have to be frustrated or feel stupid. I am really bad with tech, so if I could do it, anyone can.

So once you gather photos, memes, videos, and music you want to use and get them on your computer, Windows Media Player can help you the rest of the way.

Example:  I took pictures and memes that told a story about how and why I love him, and turned it into a slideshow movie that was about 5 minutes long. There was a song that meant a lot to us playing in the background. At the end of the slideshow, was a video of just a webcam version of me holding the dog and saying I love you.

He LOVED it. And it was FREE.

(Yes, this is time consuming, but so worth it!)


5. Hide Poems Around the House

Not a poet? That’s okay! Just stick to words that have a lot of rhyme words to them.

You can even be funny with it! You and me have a lot of rhyme words. If you want to use a word, go on Google and ask Google what rhymes with the word. I can almost guarantee, once you find the two rhyme words, you can think up the rest of the poem very easily.

Example:  Aaron did this for me the same year I did #3 for him. Aaron wrote out about 6 funny love poems and hid them in drawers and other places he knew I went into every day. One was in the utensil drawer, another in my bathroom cabinet, another in my sock drawer, one on the bottom of the game controller.

I loved the fact he took the time to do that. I also loved how all day, I was finding new notes, so I was feeling special, as well as laughing, all day.



6. Make Them Their Favorite Meal and Watch Their Favorite Movies

Instead of going out to a crowded restaurant, stay in! Go grab something you both like at the grocery store, that you don’t get to buy often, but is one of their favorites (like steak) and make it! It will give you both something to look forward to and the fact you get to cuddle on the couch while watching a movie, makes it feel like a date night, without even leaving the house.

Don’t know what to make?  Check out my recipes for inspiration!


Thoughtful Gifts Without Breaking The Bank


7. Personalization Mall

Personalization Mall  is a site I use the most when I try to find gifts catered to someone. You can find anything on that site that is to someone’s taste, and the best part is the gifts aren’t gaudy or expensive!

They have everything from blankets to jewelry, to cooking supplies, to wall art, to beer related products. If you have no idea what to get them, I am willing to bet you will have some ideas after checking out their site.

Example:  I got Aaron a glass plaque from here one year, with a poem engraved into it, which he currently keeps on his nightstand. I wrote the poem, which made it more special to him. It was very inexpensive, I believe about $25.

Not sure what to write? You can use one of their examples they give you, or read a few and use it for inspiration to create your own!



8. Jewelry

Okay, I know I mentioned earlier this was a commercialized thing . I still stand by what I said in a general sense. Just getting someone a diamond isn’t thoughtful.

Getting someone a random watch because they need it, isn’t thoughtful. Buying expensive jewelry doesn’t indicate a lot of thought. However, there are MUCH cheaper options that show you care a lot more.

Thoughtful ideas:

  1. Birthstone Jewelry
  2. Are they a huge fan of something like Disney? Get them some tasteful jewelry (not colorful, just plain gold or silver and small) with that.
  3. An engraved pocket watch with a lyric from a song that means a lot to both of you
  4. A locket with a picture of something they love more than anything (grandparent, dog, kids, etc.)

These items can be found at either PersonalizationMall.com,  Things Remembered, or BradfordExchange.com.

Personalization Mall is the cheapest of the three, but Bradford Exchange has rarer, specialized (licensed) items (like in the ads below), where Things Remembered is between the two when it comes to price and specialty of items.



9. Flowers

Cliché, right? In my opinion, it’s the red roses that are cliché.

Get them flowers that make it special to THEM. What’s their favorite color? Search for flowers with those colors!

Put some thought into it! They will be able to tell the instant they look at them how much thought you put into it, and it will make them feel special.

Example: One year, Aaron got a bouquet for me that was the same flowers and colors as my wedding bouquet (well, he did the best he could with their selection). When they got delivered, I noticed immediately what he had been going for, and I nearly cried.

Example #2:  Know someone who loves rainbows and has rainbow everything?  Search for the rainbow roses or unicorn roses in the link below!   (Those are really cool looking, aren’t they?)




10. Shutterfly

I have found gifts for practically everyone, including my husband, at Shutterfly.

I made my dad cry with a photo book about my and my brother growing up.  I have made blankets for our parents and neighbors (which were very well received!)

If you know of a photo that is dear to your loved one, you can have it made into pretty much anything that they can stare at every day.

The best part is they are always running specials or you can find promo codes online, so you can get most super thoughtful gifts from here for super cheap!

Wrap Up

There you have it folks! You don’t need to drop a ton of money to show your love. It’s about taking the time and effort to show them how much you mean to them.

Money does not equal love.

Show your partner they are special to you by going above and beyond by catering something to them.

I hope I gave you some great ideas!

Now that I told you our favorite gifts, I want to know about you!  What’s the most thoughtful gift you have ever gotten that wasn’t expensive? Tell us in the comments below!


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6 thoughts on “Gifts From Your Heart (Not Your Wallet)”

  1. My husband’s birthday is coming up and I’ve made a movie for him as well! Immediately thought of what I made when I saw this post! Good job and amazing inspiration as well!

    1. The movies are the best! I didn’t realize how easy they were to make because media player just walks you through it! I’m sure your husband loved it! And thank you!

  2. These are great ideas!! The one that I had never received until my last relationship and it was a letrer. We were and are broke and he wrote me an amazing ketter twlling me how much I meant and how special our love was and it became our thing…we quit buying gifts and every holiday we wrote each other letters. Even skipped cars buying. And I’ll tell ya, I have recieves pricy gifts in my past, but its the letters that I got from him that I will always treasure! I also like when my s.o. would brimg me breakfast or lunch to work . Idk why but it was just nice that he spent a few extra minutes in the day thinking of me. Thanks for the article ashly! I love your blog!

    1. Thank you! And I appreciate you taking the time to comment! Letters are an amazing gift. There is nothing that tells you how much you are cared about than a letter. I like that idea of writing each other letters every Valentine’s Day. Bringing lunch is a fantastic idea also. We used to do that as well when I worked outside the home (and Aaron didn’t require an ID badge to get into his work), and it was something that made that day extra special. We both looked forward to it. I didn’t even think of that when writing this. If someone has to work on Valentine’s Day, that is a fantastic thing to do for your s.o. Great suggestion!

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