January’s done, and February’s in full swing.
But just when your bank account’s had the chance to recover from the holidays, it’s time for everyone’s favorite (right? yes?) love-themed holiday: Valentine’s Day.
12 Cheap Valentine’s Day Gifts You Can Find at the Dollar Store
V-Day inspires excitement, resentment and dread, depending whom you ask. But one thing it doesn’t have to do is drain your bank account.
I took a trip to Dollar General to see what gifts it had that wouldn’t get you dumped. Here’s what I found.
1. All The Stereotypical Valentine’s Day Stuff Ever
If you’re looking for something heart-shaped, pink, chocolate-filled or all of the above, the dollar store won’t let you down.
The very first aisle in my local Dollar General was filled with an overwhelming array of candy boxes, teddy bears and balloons, and I didn’t see anything that cost more than $7.
If you’re not devoted to the all-pink-everything motif, you can fall back on classic candy options. I saw a box of 15 assorted Ferrero Rochers for just $6. Yes. Please.
2. Movie Night
Why get all gussied up to sit in a stuffy restaurant for two hours? You aren’t even close enough to cuddle. And cuddling is the best.
Want to try a chill movie night ( 😉 ) instead? You can get a 12-pack of popcorn bags for $3 and even throw in a box of candy without exceeding $5.
My personal favorite? A plain old bag of chocolate chips to go with the popcorn. Sweet + salty = a match almost as well-suited as you and your boo.
The dollar store I went to sold DVDs, too… although you might get a better selection with Redbox or Netflix.
Want to make your night in just a little bit classier? Depending on the state you’re in, your dollar store might even sell wine!
You’ll have to dig a little bit to get a bottle that’s any good, but we have some tips to help you get started.
I even found a cute party popcorn box for $1 to make the soiree look the part!
3. Glam Gear
Spa days are a classic Valentine’s Day gift, but just a facial or mani/pedi might run you the better part of a Benjamin or more.
Why not pick up some $1 nail polish at the dollar store and agree to do your lady’s toes yourself?
If you feel like you’re not quite that dextrous, give her a bottle or two to use herself… but throw in a luxurious foot- or backrub.
4. Scented Candles
Dollar General had a plethora of giant, scented jar candles to choose from — the kind that you might spend $20 on at a higher-end retailer — for $5 or less each.
Candles brighten any space, and you can choose a scent that’s important to your relationship. Her favorite flower, maybe?
Bonus: Surprise your partner by getting a few candles and arranging and lighting them before she gets home. Don’t choose a lot of different scents, though!
The Dollar General I visited had a surprising array of vases for just $4 apiece. They had fake flowers, too… but in my opinion, real is the way to go.
Depending where you live, you could gather a few local plants — but make sure you don’t get anything poisonous or stinging!
Otherwise, your local grocer or florist is sure to have a variety of romantic bouquets to choose from.
6. His and Hers Mugs
Obviously, this exact set won’t be at every location, so your mileage here might vary… but look how cute! And these were just $5 each.
Throw in a box of tea or his favorite can of coffee, and you’ve got a gift that’ll make him smile for many mornings to come.
Lucky enough to be betrothed to a booklover?
You can find a wide range of titles from the dollar store for less than $5 — some are as low as a buck!
8. Zen Kit
Does your sweetie need some chill-out time?
The dollar store sells adult coloring books, sudoku books and word searches, as well as colored pencils and pens.
Mix and match to your heart’s content, and then throw in a scented candle and a box of tea. You’ve given the gift of a relaxing afternoon in — and there’s no way you spent more than $15 to do it!
9. Cat Toys
If this one leaves you scratching your head, maybe you haven’t dated as many cat people as I have.
I found fun cat toys — the interactive kind, with feathers on the ends of sticks — for less than $3 on my trip.
Cat toys? $3. Spending Valentine’s Day laughing at Sprinkles’ antics together? Priceless.
10. Garden stuff
Look. At. This.
It was $5 at Dollar General, and if you buy it for your favorite gardener, he’ll think of you every time he tends his plants.
11. Homemade Valentine’s Day Cupcakes
These cute decorative toothpicks and baking cups were $1 altogether, and you can grab cake mix and icing a few aisles over if you’re not a pastry chef.
The store even sold a muffin tin for less than $10 if you don’t already have one!
12. Gift Cards
OK, so this isn’t the most romantic item on this list.
But if you’re strapped for time and ideas, you can get a variety of gift cards from the dollar store. Stick one into a card — but make sure it’s a really nice one, preferably handmade, to make up for your faux pas.
As long as it’s for one of her favorite places and you come along, too, you’ve given the gift of spending time together on a great date! And isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about?
Your Turn: What surprising Valentine’s Day gifts can you scrounge up at your local dollar store?
Jamie Cattanach has also been featured in the Ms. Magazine blog, The Write Life, Word Riot, Nashville Review and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.