Thoughtful, Inexpensive Ways to Say “I Love You”

Feb 14, 2015

MoneyLife100Love may be in the air, and, apparently, so are budgets. The National Retail Federation says consumers will spend more than $17.6 billion on Valentine’s Day, with $10.4 billion of that going toward gifts for significant others. If, in the words of Jennifer Lopez, “love don’t cost a thing,” why are Americans breaking the bank to show how much they care? The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants says there are many other considerate ways to show your adoration this Valentine’s Day.

  • Make beautiful music. If your special someone goes crazy for concerts and seems to be constantly attached to headphones, consider creating a playlist of songs with a list of reasons why those songs make you think of that person. You could also add a gift card to purchase those songs if he or she so chooses.
  • Share special memories. In this era of selfies and endless photos, there are probably quite a few pictures of the two of you that make your heart melt. Consider going to a craft store to purchase a frame. You can then decorate it and include a photo that you adore of the two of you. Also add a special note that explains why you love the photo.

  • Put together a time capsule. If it’s your first Valentine’s Day together, this is especially fun. Find a jar or even a thermos and put in ticket stubs, cards, and other mementos that show your mutual love. Include any notes of your time together in the previous year, as well as your hopes and dreams for the future. Decorate the outside with “2015” on it so you remember the year you made it … and hopefully add the 2016 time capsule beside it next year.

  • Create a perfect evening at home. Restaurants will be especially crowded on Valentine’s Day. Consider cooking a nice meal at home. Add candles and a romantic dessert (perhaps an ice cream sundae decorated with candy hearts) and a favorite movie, and you’ve not only avoided crowds and a pricey menu, but you’ve also made the evening thoughtful and meaningful. If you want, you can add a gift certificate (you can make one on your computer) for a day and evening out that the two of you would love.

  • Think about your future. If you’re married or you believe your relationship will be long-lasting, consider a CPA who specializes in financial planning. Yes, it would cost more than the other ideas here, but it is a gift that says, “I want to plan the rest of my life with you, and I want us to plan together how our future will be.” Plus, this gift is actually a gift that puts you both on strong financial footing for your time together.

  • Think about anything that your significant other likes or celebrates, then think of ways to personalize that and make it special. Above all, make sure you focus your attention on your loved one and make your gift or gesture about him or her. 

For more money management tips, visit PICPA’s consumer page, where you can find articles, videos and a CPA locator.


The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) is a premiere statewide association of more than 22,000 members working in public accounting, industry, government, and education. Founded in 1897, the PICPA is the second-oldest state CPA organization in the United States.

Money & Life Tips are a joint effort of the AICPA and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), as part of the profession’s nationwide 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy program.