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It’s that day of the year when men around the globe release a unified WTF. Though all holidays are man-made, Valentine’s Day is one of the most commercialized days of celebrations, created for the sole purpose of generating dollars for businesses and boosting the economy. Despite its nefarious origins, we all know there’s no harm in showing the person you’re into a little extra love on this special day. I’ve learned to use it as an opportunity to score the bonus points or add a little spice to my situation. Another thing I figured out is that I don’t need to break the bank to accomplish either task. Here’s the thing: most women would rather receive something thoughtful or romantic v. something over the top and unrelated to their lives. If you’re still looking to grab something, or want to add a little extra to the gift you have, put your ego aside and think about the bigger, less expensive wins. Has she mentioned anything casually (or not so casually) lately that could inspire a gift that says, “Baby, you I see you?” Is there something special about her that only you, her BFF and momma might know—and how does that translate into a personal present? Chances are the fact that you’re attentive enough to pick up on cues will win her over in a major way. Here are a few items that are under $30 that may spark an idea for the best (and most affordable) gift ever for your special lady on Valentine’s Day.


1 That Book She Mentioned

Whether she’s into re-reading old classics, new best sellers from popular authors or inspirational pieces on subjects she’s interested in, buying her a book is a great way to let her know that you’ve paid attention to her interests. Before you make your pick, think about what she’s been talking about lately and what’s trending. For example, a lot of ladies are feeling Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish and her new book, The Last Black Unicorn ($12.99 Paperback).


2 The Right Bottle

Don’t worry if you don’t know her favorite brands. A few simple questions will guide you in the right direction in selecting a bottle of wine that suits her palette: think about whether she prefers white or red, sweet or dry. Then hit up your local shop and ask for the top suggestions. Pick a good budget bottle, like Mumm Napa Brut Rose ($19.99), and make it part of a collection of little gifts.


3 The Smell Goods

Generally speaking, long baths are great stress relievers, and bath salts, or bombs, make the “me time” even more special, and maybe even a little sensual. Try brands like COMME.CO’s Luxuriating Mineral Bath Soak $14 and add it to your gift. Best part? She’ll be thinking about you every time she slips into the tub. Major key. Another easy win in this lane is candles. Does she like fresh scents? Citrus? Vanilla notes? Nothing sets the mood at home like a burning flame and a fragrant room. Find one that’s intoxicating, like Vela Bougie’s “Brunch With Bae” $12,  and in line with her scent story.


4 A Little Make-Up

It may seem simple enough, but a refill of her favorite lipstick that’s running low shows attention to detail and lets her know that you love when she’s a show stopper. If you don’t know her top shade go for tried and true, like, Fenty Beauty By Rihanna “Stunna” Lip Paint $24.


5 The Write Move 

If your lady is a writer, likes to take notes, is an innovative thinker or is just full of ideas, she probably likes to put her thoughts down on paper. Hit your local art or department store for a cool notebook that complement’s her personality, like Rifle Paper Co’s Lively Floral Notebooks, Set of 3 $15.


Rondel Holder writes and lives the travel life. He’s the founder of Soul Society 101, a premier travel group targeting African-Americans. Follow him @soulsociety.