Times may be tight, but that shouldn’t put a crimp on your Valentine’s Day plans. Since money can’t buy you love anyway, take a hands-on, DIY approach, and you’ll have your best 14th yet. Here are three ideas that won’t break the bank –

1. Fondle the aubergine – Eat like royalty (but pay like a pauper) by cooking for yourselves. Head to the farmers’ market, see what looks good, then ask the growers about their favorite recipes. Build up from there, incorporating a few seasonal aphrodisiacs – fennel, blood orange and (of course) chocolate are great places to start. Splurge on champagne with the money you’ve saved. Tip – Plan something sexy for “dessert.” 2. Go local – The quick trip to St. Barts might be out of the question, but don’t rule out travel altogether. Explore an area of town you don’t know, then end up in a hotel bar before whisking your partner off to the elevator, and – what’s this? – producing a key. It’s a great surprise and easy to get right. Check in earlier in the day and stage the room or make other arrangements as you see fit. (If a room is outside the budget, you can just stay in the elevator and fulfill that OTHER fantasy you’ve always had.) Tip – A different bed is a great place to try different things. 3. Party favors – There are several free online applications that will allow you to easily make flip books from video. Use your phone or camera to film a few sexy seconds you know your partner will love, print them into a flip book, then slip it in their pocket to find later in the day. Tip – Let the real gift be reenacting your favorite scenes together. Looking for more ideas? Download our complete Better Than Roses Valentine’s Day Gift Guide or check out our Interactive Gift Wizard to find the provocative Valentine’s Day gift you’re looking for.