IF YOU’RE USUALLY THE type to procrastinate on buying Valentine’s Day gifts, you know the pain of shelling out for last-minute rose delivery or rushing out to buy chocolates in a heart-shaped box at a drastic markup. But if you start planning now – and think outside the box – you’ll avoid last-minute shopping stress and the markups that come from buying traditional Valentine’s Day gifts.
These gifts are just as sweet, less expected and less than $50. And you have plenty of time to order them for delivery before Valentine’s Day, without paying for expedited shipping. Here are some of the best unique gifts for Valentine’s Day:
Succulents and nontraditional blooms
DIY boxes of chocolates
Cheapskate or Money-Smart? Navigate These Sticky Valentine’s Day Situations. ]
Succulents and Nontraditional Blooms
Red roses are a Valentine’s Day classic, but a dozen or two long-stemmed ones will easily run you upwards of $40, or even more once delivery is taken into account. You’ll also notice a markup on grocery store roses the closer Valentine’s Day gets.
Consider succulents, which can be had for less than $30 online and less than $10 in stores. Your gift will last much longer, and you can dress up a plain jar with red ribbon. If you prefer to give flowers, your money will go much further on nontraditional blooms such as daisies, hyacinths and any non-rose arrangements, which can be found for less than $10 at local grocers and national chains such as Trader Joe’s.
Jewelry makes a popular gift. But thanks to Valentine’s Day markups, $50 may not go as far as you’d like. Plus, your romantic bauble may spend more time at the bottom of a drawer or jewelry box than it will on your beloved’s neck, wrist or finger.
Plenty of small electronics, meanwhile, are less than $50 and will get used every day. Both the Echo Dot and Google Home Mini are less than $50 and will improve their recipients’ daily lives more than a heart-shaped pendant will. Or pick up the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K ($49.99), which is voice-controlled, meaning nobody has to leave the couch on movie night ever again.
If you like the romantic idea of coming to your loved one’s rescue, consider the Tile GPS keychain attachment. Prices start at $25, and it will help locate lost keys, phones, cameras and other valuables. Or consider a portable phone charger, so your beloved is never stranded without a working phone. There are plenty of options in the $15-to-$25 range.
Thinking of getting your beloved a watch for Valentine’s Day? Rather than a fancy model that will see the light of day only on special occasions, consider a fitness-tracking band. The Honor Band 4 is less than $50 and will help your lucky recipient track steps and sleep quality.
If a more traditional watch or piece of jewelry is more to your liking, consider moving your Valentine’s Day celebration to the weekend and picking up a deeply discounted timepiece, necklace or earrings on Feb. 15. That’s when jewelers and department stores lower prices on items they’d hoped to sell for Valentine’s Day.
Socks may not be the first garments that spring to mind when you think “Valentine’s Day gift.” But gifting your beloved stylish ones speaks to your thoughtfulness and shows you care about his or her comfort. Three-month subscriptions to Sock Fancy start at $33, and your recipient can look forward to a new pair of socks delivered every month. Argoz, meanwhile, offers stylish, coordinated three-pair packs starting at $27.
DIY Box of Chocolates
Even a modestly sized, heart-shaped box of chocolates will get the dramatic markup that heart-shaped products get around Valentine’s Day. So if your budget is small, you may be able to spring for just a dozen Valentine’s Day chocolates (or even fewer from high-end chocolatiers). Instead, consider buying a gift box (available in many colors from craft retailers) and filling it with all your loved one’s favorite candies from the candy aisle. You’ll spend much less, and your beloved will get a lot more.
Perhaps you’ll be spending Valentine’s Day with only your faithful four-legged companion by your side. Or perhaps that special someone in your life has a special dog or cat. Show your love by bringing home a bottle of pet wine, so the pet in your life can imbibe while you enjoy your own favorite vintage. Retailers such as Pet Winery and Apollo Peak have plenty of options with safe-for-pets ingredients and clever packaging.