So it’s getting close to Valentine’s Day, and you still haven’t found that perfect gift for your beloved.
You don’t want to fall back on cliché gifts of flowers, chocolate, perfume or clothing. And you’ve been told (or learned the hard way) that giving gift cards and cash may suggest a lack of effort and imagination. In other words, a quick stop at the ATM on the way to your Valentine’s Day dinner date — with cash folded into a card you bought at 7-Eleven — is probably not going to cut it.
Why not give something that has the potential to keep on giving? Here are a few ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts that will not only lift the hearts of your loved one, but also possibly have value long after February 14th.
1. Lottery ticket
OK, this could be a gift from a 7-Eleven, but buying a lottery ticket (or tickets) for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day could go a couple of different ways. If you don’t put a lot of thought into it, this could come across as a bit crass or cheap — and it probably shouldn’t be the only present you give.
But if you buy a lottery ticket and pick numbers that are meaningful (perhaps including the numbers in the anniversary of your first date) or “scratch and win” tickets that reference a shared passion (perhaps blackjack, bingo or travel), then this might be a winner with your valentine.
You could also include it as one item in a basket of fun gifts, accompany it with a card that says something like: “I know that there’s only a 1 in 292.2 million chance that this ticket will be a winner, but I feel that I won the lottery when I met you.”
Gold is an interesting choice for Valentine’s Day — and a gift that could gain in value over time. The message you send is as varied as the types of items made of gold, and different grades of gold. A gold ring definitely expresses a strong sentiment — and should probably be reserved for more serious relationships. But a lot of gold-plated jewelry pieces make appropriate gifts earlier on in a relationship. (Hint: They should evoke a response of “isn’t that sweet” rather than “you really shouldn’t have. Really.”)
You could also buy gold coins. If, for example, your beloved is a huge Chicago Cubs fan, the Franklin Mint offers Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Champions Gold Mint Coin for $39.99. Meanwhile, the U.S. Mint will soon release a 225th anniversary gold coin showing Lady Liberty as an African-American woman — and it goes for $100.
Any gold jewelry or gold coins that you give will cost more than the value of the gold contained within them, but note that the value of gold fluctuates a lot and can appreciate significantly. Gold prices had risen to $1,215 per ounce at the start of February from a low of $627 a decade earlier.
3. Treasury bond
There’s nothing that says commitment like a 30-year Treasury bond. And there’s a great argument to suggest that there are few things as unsexy and less romantic than a piece of government-issued paper.
But if a $100 Treasury bond with a 4 percent yield is part of a message to the person you love about how much you care about a future together, maybe this one could be a great thing to include in a card with warm words, a nice bottle of wine and a great restaurant meal. Some people could find that quite endearing. It is NOT, however, something you want to give someone with whom you are spending your first Valentine’s Day. Yes, it is surely too soon for that.
4. Collectible stamps
If you’re a philatelist (stamp collecting enthusiast), you may be tempted to give stamps as a Valentine’s Day gift. If, however, you have an inkling that your beloved doesn’t share your enthusiasm, then you may find this gift marked “return to sender” unless you do it just right.
While there is some chance that any collectible stamps you give as a gift could eventually become valuable, you really need to know what you’re doing to make the right choice. (see the American Philatelic Association website for more on this). A better approach might be to give stamps that have some connection or meaning to the recipient. Perhaps you could do something like a small two-pane picture frame with stamp from the place and year where each of you was born. Or you could buy appropriately themed stamps from the U.S. Postal Service, which range from Charlie Brown and Star Trek to Elvis Presley and key civil rights leaders.
5. An hour with a great financial adviser
Sometimes the best gift you give is the gift of advice. When it comes to financial advice, you probably don’t want to be the one giving it to the person you love. But if you know they’re looking for help, you can make a gift of an appointment with a financial adviser of their choice.
In addition to offering to pay for the first appointment, you could also offer some thoughts on how to pick a great financial adviser (as Money Talks News founder and CPA Stacy Johnson did here). Once again, this isn’t the kind of thing for a first Valentine’s Day date — and you need to know for sure that your beloved actually wants this (as it could otherwise come off as really presumptuous).
6. A classic car
Well, this isn’t the kind of thing you would give for a typical Valentine’s Day, but perhaps it’s in the running for a 20th or 25th anniversary Valentine’s present. The results of last year’s Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index showed that the value of classic cars grew an impressive 17 percent in a single year.
So if you were looking for a reason to surprise your beloved with something amazing in the driveway for Valentine’s Day that will also yield potential financial rewards, you could do a whole lot worse than a 1967 Ford Mustang.
7. A star
You’ve probably heard or seen the ads telling you that you can buy a star in the name of someone you love. That’s true, but only you, your beloved and the person you paid for the naming rights will know about it.
The International Astronomical Union — the real body that determines what a star is called — warns against giving any sort of business money to name a star. “Some commercial enterprises purport to offer such (star-naming) services for a fee. However, such ‘names’ have no formal or official validity whatsoever.”
Still, it is such a romantic notion. Maybe instead you could give your beloved a telescope, then go on a star-gazing date. You could always choose a star for him or her and name it (minus the payment to a third party) when you find it together in the night sky.
8. Antique books
Antique books can be a source of great meaning and pleasure. You and your sweetie may have great memories associated with a classic novel or book of poetry — and a first edition may have both personal resonance and long-term value. An early edition of John Steinbeck’s classic “The Grapes of Wrath,” for example, was recently for sale on the Alibris bookseller site for $250.
But make your choice based on the meaning that it’s likely to have for the recipient. The most important book on Valentine’s Day is the one containing the story of you and the person you love.
Do you have ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts that will lift your loved one’s spirits as well as provide him or her with long-term value? Share your ideas in comments below or on our Facebook page.