6 Personalized Valentine's Day Gifts That Are Extremely Thoughtful — And Extremely Cheap

It feels like it came out of nowhere, but Valentine's Day is THIS Saturday, so you have a mere few days to put together a personalized Valentine's Day gift that is going to make your significant other cry like a little bitch (that’s everyone’s goal, right?). Maybe you’d opt for gentler semantics, but I think we can all agree that it’s nice to give the person you love a gift that will touch him or her profoundly — make them feel as special and appreciated as they do you every single day — and that’s why you can’t go wrong giving your SO a homemade present made especially for them, which is doubly nice when you’re strapped for gift-buying cash.

I’ve compiled six options for DIY Valentine’s Day presents that will tell your main squeeze exactly how much he or she means to you for $30 or less… maybe even free! So stop your broke wallowing, and get your booty down to JoAnn Fabrics!! Plus, this list is tried and true — I’ve given and received almost all of these items, and the ones I received are hands down among my most cherished possessions.

Whether you say it with songs, sugar, or a Sharpie, these heartfelt V-Day gifts will help you say it with love.

1. Make a mix CD

This is literally my favorite mode of communication in the world. Speak to me in mix CDs, and you'll have my heart forever — and I'll bet your amor is no different. Making a mix CD is as simple as:

  1. Going through your personal collection for songs that speak to your feelings about him or her, your relationship, and love in general.
  2. Adding in a few fresh tracks from iTunes.
  3. Maybe recording a personal sweet or silly message just for your boo.
  4. Stealing from our ultimate Valentine's Day playlist and pretending to be a master of thoughtfulness.
  5. Drawing, Photoshopping, rubber stamping, or découpaging some cool cover art.
  6. BOOM, YOU'RE DONE. That's it! Now just dazzle your significant other with your soulful, sensitive gift.

2. Bake a love cake (or cupcakes)

Does your SO have a crazy sweet tooth? V-Day is a confectionary bonanza, so you've got to let him or her indulge on today of all days! In fact, you should facilitate this by baking your beloved's favorite cake or other pastry because as the gospel says: the fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Gussy up an already wonderful thing with fun-colored frosting, heart sprinkles, and use icing to write a personalized sweet nothing on top. And once you've presented the gift, chances are your baby cakes is going to turn around and want to share it with you... Selfless and delicious, now aren't you lucky!

3. Design a photo calendar

Memorialize a year of your love by making your sweetheart a photo calendar. It's easy peasy and can be done for around $25! Just design the calendar online using a template from Walgreens, Rite Aid, or CVS, pick it up at your local store, or go through Shutterfly and have it shipped to you. Choose holiday or season-specific photos, highlight special anniversaries, and pepper it with favorite photos of the two of you to make this gift extra-special for your honey bear.

4. Write a poem (or short story)

The first rule of romantic poetry is: KNOW THYSELF. If you're the type of person who can barely compose a grocery list, this is not for you — and that's OK! Just jump on the the next one, which anyone can do. And if you're a Cyrano, don't write love letters on Christian de Neuvillette's behalf! Some people say it best on paper, and if that's you, bleed your heart and soul onto the page and your significant other will be completely swept off of his or her feet, guaranteed. Plus, it costs zero dollars... just make sure you're getting enough iron! ;)

5. Create a scrapbook

You and your partner are best friends, so celebrate all the time you spend together with a scrapbook of pictures and mementos of your most cherished experiences as a couple. Maybe you've saved old movie or concert tickets or the stub from your flight to Hawaii — or even a menu from the greasy spoon you guys love to hit up on the weekends. It's a true act of devotion to take the time to put a scrapbook together. This present is sure to be a tearjerker, so make sure you have tissues nearby.

6. Make a card

I get it — you like to keep things basic and you're running out of tiiiiiiime. Don't worry, this one's so easy even a caveman could it! (Actually, I would be honored to receive a loving card from a caveman, but I digress.) A homemade card is a darling way to show your affection for your not-so-secret admiree. Supplies are cheap. You can use whatever floats your boat: construction paper, felt, rubber stamps, tiny pom-poms, cut-off hearts, stickers, etc. You may even have some of this stuff lying around the house. Once you're done decorating, write a sweet note on the inside and presto, you've got an awesome Valentine!

Wishing precious, enduring love to you and yours! Now in the sage words of Tim Gunn, make it work.

Images: Fotolia; Stacie, Marilyn Roxie, megan.chromik, Karen Newman, Erica Cherup, jenn, Karine/Flickr; Shutterfly