Buying a gift for your significant other is either a piece of cake or literally the hardest thing in the world. On one hand, you presumably know them well and know what they like and don't like. On the other, you may feel like every gift represents your feelings or the relationship — and that’s a ton of pressure.
But depending on your relationship, you may be working on building a life together, which involves saving money. Instead of blowing a ton of money on an extravagant gift for the person you love, save some money for your mutual future and get them something you can afford. If I could buy crazy expensive and lavish gifts for everyone I know, I would. The reality is that I have big plans that require foresight and penny-saving, so I’ve learned how to find gifts that are meaningful and tailored to the recipient that also don’t make it seem like a toddler with palms full of craft glue made it.
While you work hard towards your goals and save money, get creative and special gifts that won’t you cost hundreds of dollars. Check out these 17 affordable gifts for your partner, whether they're a breakfast lover or an adventurer.
1. For The Chef
Get your personal chef/lover inspired with RawSpiceBar’s spice subscription service. Three months of freshly ground, specially curated spices is only $26 — perfect for the adventurous cook or kitchen obsessed. Bonus: you get to try new foods and spices too.
Three Month Spice and Recipe Subscription, $26, RawSpiceBar
2. For The TV Lover
Pre-pay for a Netflix (or YouTube Red, Hulu, or HBO Go) account for them. Set up a date night so you can show them how it works and enjoy together.
Netflix, $25, Amazon.com
3. For The One Who’s Learning To Adult
Frames for art. No, not a framed photo of the two of you on your last vacation — actual picture frames. Buying frames for the person who has posters and art taped to their wall is touching and functional. Throw in some of those damage-free mounting strips if they’re renting.
LA Black Op Flat Top Wall Frame, $12, Jo-Ann Fabrics
4. For The Traveler
In lieu of those first-class tickets to their dream travel destination or as a memento of one of their favorite trips, wall art that represents the place(s) they love is personal (and inexpensive!).
Istanbul Art Print, $28, Rifle Paper Co.
5. For The Kisser
Everyone needs lip balm, and honestly this one works miracles. Regardless of gender, soft and moisturized lips are always appreciated. This is also a sneaky gift for yourself, too.
Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask, $26, Sephora.com
6. For The Feminist
I’m a big fan of giving books as gifts, because sharing a book that you loved is honestly so romantic. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an inspiring and informative essay, perfect for the consumption of your feminist SO. This is less than $9 with tax and honestly should be required reading for everyone on this planet. Buy one for yourself while you’re at it.
We Should All Be Feminists, $7.95, Barnes And Noble
7. For The Whiskey Lover
Whiskey Wet Shave Soap smells delicious and is super luxurious for the price. Instead of traditional shaving creams and gels, this soap lathers up to a creamy, whiskey-scented foam — perfect for anyone’s close shave. I personally prefer this scent and formula over anything fruity or perfumed/cologned.
Whiskey Shave Soap, $14, Amazon.com
8. For The Photographer
If you don’t know the difference between an EF 16-35mm and an EF 100-400mm but are buying for a photographer, this is perfect. Combine their love of cameras and coffee and gift them this camera-geek dream.
Canon Camera Lens Mug, $24, photojojo.com
9. For The Tequila Connoisseur
These shot glasses are gorgeous and never need salt. Made from Himalayan sea salt, these glasses are a pretty translucent rose quartz color and are naturally antibacterial. What more could you want from a shot glass?
Himalayan Salt Tequila Glasses (set of four), $28, uncommongoods.com
10. For The Couch Potato
With Chromecast you can use your phone as the remote and watch HBO Go, YouTube, Netflix, and your regular TV without buffering. It has everything they need to for a proper lazy Sunday.
Chromecast, $35, store.google.com
11. For The Adventurer
The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is so neat — it filters water as you drink it, making it possible to drink water from basically anywhere. Whether you’re traveling and concerned about water-borne illness or on a hike and want to drink from a stream, you’re covered.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, $15, Amazon.com
12. For The Instagram Enthusiast
This portable and compact camera comes with the filters. If your SO loves photography but isn’t ready for heavy-duty camera, this gift is an upgrade from the traditional digital or phone cameras, without being a complicated pro camera.
Diana Camera, $49, uncommongoods.com
13. For Your Sentimental Soul
If you and your partner met somewhere super romantic or have always remembered your trip to a certain city, the NYT store lets you make a personalized topographic or aerial view puzzle of anywhere in the world. The options are endless.
Hometown Topographic Jigsaw Puzzle, $50, newyorktimes.com
14. For The Breakfast Lover
Like most kitchen appliances, waffle makers are big, bulky, expensive, and also totally necessary for breakfast enthusiasts. Instead of buying a big one that will take up too much space in your SO’s kitchen, get them this mini, lightweight version that will make the cutest waffles you’ve ever seen.
Mini Waffle Maker, $18, urbanoutfitters.com
15. For The Beyoncé Fan
I’m not sure this even needs explanation, but if your SO loves Beyoncé and listens to Lemonade more than they listen to you, this shirt is E-V-E-R-Y-thing.
E(lemon)ated Black Tee, $35, beyonce.com
16. The Gift That Keeps On Giving
This gift is perfect for you and your partner. Whether you have the egg or the remote, this toy is the gift that keeps giving (and giving, and giving). It’s rechargeable, waterproof, powerful and quiet. Who said grown-ups don’t like toys?
Wireless Vibrating Egg, $20, amazon.com
17. For The Documenter
No matter what the next five years brings for you as a couple, this book will help your SO document it. Unlike a traditional journal, this one helps them document their days quickly with a simple sentence.
One Line A Day: Five Year Memory Book, $17, chroniclebooks.com
Images: Chronicle Books, Amazon. beyonce.com, Poppin, Urban Outfitters, newyorktimes.com, Uncommon Goods (4), store.google.com, photojojo.com, Barnes and Noble, Rifle Paper Co., Sephora