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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 FoodNetwork.com or seattletimes.com/foodwine for recipe suggestions, then go to CouponShack.com 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 www.amazon.com/playlists. (Look for the free Valentine's Day playlist link on the lower right side of the page.)

Send free e-cards at 123greetings.com, Hallmark.com and egreetings.com.

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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