Money

Want to spend Valentine's Day like a millionaire? Here are 9 ideas — for $30 or less

Tom Cruise on the set of "Top Gun."
Paramount Pictures | Sunset Boulevard | Corbis | Getty Images
Tom Cruise on the set of "Top Gun."

Valentine's Day is a chance for couples to dote on the ones they love most. It's also the perfect excuse for celebrity couples to say "I love you" with extravagant gifts like a brand new Bentley or customized jewelry.

Luckily, if you're a normal person (read: would prefer to save for retirement) looking to take a page from the multimillionaire's book of gift-giving, there are ways to express your affection without breaking the bank. Here are nine cost-effective alternatives inspired by celebrity gestures of holidays past.

1. Instead of Kanye West's wall of roses ($2,395 to $100,000)...

The rapper has had a long history of buying walls of roses for his wife Kim Kardashian-West, which can cost anywhere between $2,395 and $100,000. If roses that cost as much as your student debt aren't in your budget, look no further than IKEA, where you can buy an artificial succulent for $9.99. You can even add a sweet note like, "You make life succ(k) less" (because what would really suck is having to figure out what to do with a literal wall of dying roses).

2. Instead of Cardi B's custom Rolls Royce ($450,000 to $600,000)...

In 2017, rapper Cardi B bought her husband Offset a brand new custom Rolls Royce, which can run anywhere from $450,000 to $600,000, depending on how custom we're talking. If you don't have an extra parking spot (let alone half a million dollars to spare), you can plan for a scenic drive while listening to a romantic playlist on Spotify. In a 40 miles per gallon car, it would cost you about $0.06 worth of gas per mile. After the drive, watch "2 Fast 2 Furious" and impress your Valentine with a fun fact: "Did you know we could rent a Bugatti for $20,000 a day?"

3. Instead of John Legend's giant cheese wheel ($2,500)...

Can you think of a more savory gift than a giant cheese wheel? That's what the R&B hit-maker bought his wife Chrissy Teigen for Christmas in 2015. That's around $2,500 worth of cheese. If you're looking to splurge on a more reasonable level, make a fancy cheese board at home with Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar. It'll cost you only $3.99 per seven ounces, and you can get at least more than a thousand servings for the same price as a 80-pound cheese wheel.

4. Instead of David Beckham's diamond and ruby necklace ($8,000,000)

For Valentine's Day in 2006, David Beckham reportedly gave his wife Victoria an $8 million Bulgari necklace adorned with diamonds and rubies (and probably stacks of one hundred dollar bills). Instead of stressing out your Valentine out by giving them $8 million worth of jewelry to wear around their neck, Etsy offers a variety of thoughtful gifts, like a necklace customized with their initials ($16), favorite flower ($27) or a picture of a cat in space ($12, but if you think about, truly priceless).

5. Instead of Jerry O'Connell's grape vineyard ($60,000 to $160,000)...

In 2009, Rebecca Romijn told InStyle her favorite Valentine's Day gift was one that husband Jerry O'Connell gave her: an entire grape vineyard at their home. Vineyard land alone costs between $60,000 and $160,000 per acre. Instead, sign yourselves up for a "wine of the month" subscription. It'll give you both an excuse to celebrate Valentine's Day all year long.

6. Instead of Angelina Jolie's olive tree ($18,500)...

Before they got divorced, the actress reportedly gave Brad Pitt a 200-year-old olive tree for Valentine's Day in 2010. It cost $18,500, which is probably more than the price of your car. Rather than giving your Valentine the responsibility of keeping an olive tree alive, just make them an olive martini (less than $2 if you make it at home). You can even splurge on decent vodka (a 750-mg of Skyy Vodka costs $10.79) and fancy stuffed olives ($10.47 on Amazon) and still stay under budget.

7. Instead of Tom Cruise's Gulfstream jet ($20,000,000)...

While the two were engaged in 2005, the "Mission Impossible" actor reportedly bought (now-ex wife) Katie Holmes a $20 million Gulfstream jet. You know what's a good gift? Canceled plans. Tell your Valentine you need to wake up early to make a Valentine's Day brunch. When they wake up, say "Just kidding! We're drinking mimosas in our PJs all day." If that's not love for less than $20, then who wants to be in love?

8. Instead of Katy Perry's lilac Bentley ($341,000)...

The pop singer's marriage only lasted a short amount of time, but back in 2010, Katy Perry bought Russell Brand a $341,000 lilac-color Bentley Brooklands for Valentine's Day. A store-brand alternative to this name-brand gift is to upgrade your regular ride-share. Get an UberXL to dinner as a little indulgence that won't completely break your bank account (about $20, depending on how long your ride is).

9. Justin Bieber's one-day rental of the Staples Center ($110,000)

In 2011, Justin Bieber reportedly rented out the Staples Center for Selena Gomez so the two could watch "Titanic," a date that costs around $110,000 for the space rental alone. That sounds exactly like something a teenager with too much money would do. Instead, do something your teenage-self would've enjoyed on Valentine's Day: Get drinks and go to the romance section of your local book store. There's no joy quite like tipsily giggling at the back cover of soft-core books. (About $25 for cocktails, especially if you hit up happy hour. The giggling is free.)

Mia Mercado is a writer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney's, Bustle, McSweeney's, Gizmodo, The Hairpin and Hallmark Cards. Follow her on Twitter @miamarket .

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