Picture this: you are sitting at the kitchen table one morning talking with the love of your life about how both of you are going to get through the worst recession in history when you could be laid off and lose all heath benefits, your house and so on, and your wife looks at you and says "Don't get me anything for Valentine's Day okay?"

That is a true story. Any reader who is financially well off enough that they can't possibly imagine the previous paragraph happening to them please stop reading this article and count your blessings. If you need Valentine's Day ideas, go to the Martha Stewart Living web page and do a search on The Perfect Valentine's Day Gift. God bless you.

For those still with me I'll assume that you don't have two dimes to rub together so your gift this year will be little to nothing. This article is for you.

Valentine's Day gifts sorted from something to nothing.

You actually have some money but not much. You are lucky in this environment but do NOT buy a card of any kind. Who needs another printed-in-China Valentine's Day card anyway? I'll get to the card part next but the idea here is that you have some money so you buy something you/she/both of you would normally buy anyway and that is your gift. In my case I saw my wife had a completely flat tiny tube of hand crème on the table. Bingo, that will be the gift because the gift is the fact that you are buying it for her. A bonus is that you are safe even if she buys one before V day. Now she has two and she'll eventually use both. Be sure to draw a little heart on yours with a black marker so she thinks of you every time she pulls it out of her purse and uses it.

Since I'm probably talking to guys here I feel compelled to mention that you should not pick vegetables or household items like vacuum cleaner bags. Yes, she will use them but the idea is to avoid reminding her of unpleasant things. You want to take her mind off stuff she has to do and put her mind on you, got it? If you're the one taking the trash out just see what she throws away from the bathroom for ideas. You might have to peel the sticker off or take the whole empty bottle to the store to make sure you get the right brand or fragrance. And don't let her see you rummaging through her trash. You don't want her thinking you're broke AND weird.

Nothing but the card gift.

If you have a computer with an inkjet printer it probably came with card making software that you thought was bloatware and you didn't install it. Virtually all printers come with card making software. You can install it for one day, use it, then uninstall it. If you've thrown it away just go to the website of your word processing vender, Microsoft Word for the PC perhaps, and download a V day card template. If all else fails you can always fold a piece of paper into halves or quarters. If you are making your own card try clip art. Do NOT go to google and search on "clip art" unless you like sorting through page after page of clip art sites trying to get you to sign up. That is a complete waste of time. What you do is go to google and search on "clip art blogs". Now you'll find blogs written by clip art lovers who are probably already posting examples of their favorite, royalty free clip art. Here is another tip: look for "vintage" clip art. Art from the turn of last century. Eye catching and copyright free. When I did that here is what I found:

Vintage, copyright free, Valentine's Day clip art

If you have a pet dog you can give a valentine to her and the dog. How sweet is that!

Another idea, does she loudly swoon over a movie star in your presence? Use a sexy publicity shot of the star on the card and say "Thank you for choosing me over him! Be my Valentine!" Creativity is the gift here.

What if you don't have a color printer but one is available at work? First of all, don't do anything to get fired. Not getting fired is probably the best Valentine's Day gift you can give. But maybe you are worried about the ethics of using one page of paper and some color ink from your employer for your personal use even if the personal use is to print a Valentine to the woman who is supporting you through these soul crushing times. You sir, are a paragon of ethical behavior. Allow me to help. I hereby announce to the entire universe that I, ecbyahoo, accept all bad karma that may arise from men printing a Valentine's Day card for the significant other in their life. Now hit the PRINT button.

A Valentine's Day challenge.

Now we get down to the heart (sorry, couldn't resist) of the article. What does the person with nothing, and I mean nothing, do for their significant other on V Day? I'm writing for the person reading this on a public computer in the library. That is the mindset I want readers to have and if you have an idea then put it in a comment to this article. As long as it involves no money then suggest it. One warning, don't suggest nothing as in the comic that shows one zen monk opening a present from another monk and saying "Just what I wanted! Nothing!" Monks with a vow of poverty voluntarily choose that life. I'm guessing the person sitting at a computer in a library reading this did not voluntarily choose their current situation.

I'll go first.

Find any Valentine's Day decoration whatsoever and make a card of it. Elementary teachers know you can do absolutely anything with Elmer's glue, scissors and something made of paper. Discarded cookie boxes with hearts, old Valentine's Day cards with detachable heart decorations; anything with a heart on it is fair game to make a card with. If that is not possible then get a scrap piece of paper thick enough to bend into a "V" shape, draw a heart on it and put it on her kitchen table placemat the night before. Write on it "I don't have much but what I have is priceless, I have you. Love – Your Husband".

Who, being loved, is poor? ~Oscar Wilde

Happy Valentine's Day ♥ !

Author's note: no affiliate links, no self referring links and no animals were used in the writing of this article.