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Originally published Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 1:30 PM

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Give your heart without paying arm and a leg this Valentine's Day

Low-cost Valentine gift ideas for the budget-minded sweetheart.

The Hartford Courant

Sunday is Valentine's Day, which means the pressure is on to present your sweetie with a token of your affection. But getting in touch with your romantic side can cost you. Retailers know that most shoppers will pay premium prices rather than show up empty-handed on the day l'amour.

You don't have to let Cupid shoot an arrow into your wallet to show you care. We've got suggestions for budget-minded lovers.

Since Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday, opt for brunch rather than dinner. Most are fixed-price meals and some include complimentary mimosas and indulgent desserts.

Consider rescheduling the celebration. Skip the overpriced flowers and candy and, instead, present your sweetheart with a special Valentine's card promising a romantic Saturday-night dinner the following weekend. From Feb. 15 on, roses generally drop to their regular prices and all heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, Valentine wrapping paper, candles and other novelty gifts are usually marked down at least 50 percent.

For even more savings, cook up some love with a dinner you make yourself. Visit or for recipe suggestions, then go to for coupons before you head to the supermarket.

Impress your true love with some mood music. Amazon shows the love with a free romantic playlist featuring a collection of tender tunes from a range of talented artists including R&B stars and up-and-coming indie bands. Download at no charge, through Feb. 14, at (Look for the free Valentine's Day playlist link on the lower right side of the page.)

Send free e-cards at, and

Even iPhone apps have gone lovey-dovey. Download "Love Quotes," "iRomantic," "Candy Hearts" or "iFallinLove" at the Apple iTunes store. Each costs $1.99 or less.

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