Valentine's Day on a budget
Even if you label yourself as the least artistic person you know – the sort of school pupil whose paintings always ended up a purplish-brown mess – don’t let this stop you getting creative for your Valentine. After all, nothing says you care more than showing you have made an effort. Whether it’s a homemade greetings card plastered with magazine cuttings of pictures and quotes your partner would love, or a collage of holiday snaps displayed in a clip frame, getting arty is a chance to show off that personality your partner fell in love with. If you’re not so hot with glue and glitter, maybe a slideshow of digital images would be a better option or creating a quirky stop motion video. Failing that, buying a decorative box and filling it with mementos of your years of memories since you met is bargain-tastic. Over time, collect small items such as the ticket stubs from your first cinema date or a cork from a special bottle of bubbly you popped together and fill the box – simples!
Food of love
Again, you don’t need to have trained at Le Cordon Bleu to be able to impress your loved one with culinary delights on Valentine’s Day. A simple picnic of fresh bread, a selection of cheese and meats, some chocolate-dipped fruit and a bottle of wine is easy to put together and doesn’t break the bank – especially if your food is seasonal. Buy some cheap fabric from your local market and lay it on your sitting room floor, throw some cushions down and lay out your bounty – what a surprise for your partner to come home from work to. If you wanted to rustle up a meal, there are plenty of affordable recipes out there, including risotto and pasta dishes – who says you have to eat fillet steak or lobster? For an even more value-packed culinary surprise, simply pop some heart-shaped chocolates into your partner’s lunch box or work bag. Sometimes it’s just the small and simple gestures that can make the biggest statement.
Fun and frolicking
Whether you’re engaged, married or just simply in lurve, one must never reach a point in life when they brand themselves ‘too old’ for anything. Remember, growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional. With this in mind, organise a practically cost-free treasure hunt for your partner this Valentine’s Day. Write out some rhyming hints and hide them in inconspicuous places around your home – or even in and around your home town if possible. At the end of the hunt could be a small gift that will now seemingly double in worth thanks to the buildup in finding it. Similarly, a trail of petals or foil-wrapped chocolates leading to a bubble bath or the bedroom is a fun and romantic idea. We suggest restricting this one to the confines of your home, though!
Offer your services
We know what you’re thinking. But we’re keeping these tips clean! Write out a ‘gift voucher’ to entitle the bearer – your doting Valentine – to one of your sincere services. Perhaps a Monday night massage, or cooking a meal of their choosing. Though, sometimes in a relationship it’s those mundane tasks that actually mean the most, so offering to do your partner’s chores or to tick off one of the niggling errands they keep putting off could really mean the world. Whether that’s listing their second hand items on an auction site or doing their paperwork, not all heartfelt gestures have to be clichéd.
Don’t be too proud
Discount restaurant coupons? Why not? If it means you still get to enjoy a delicious meal without having to remortgage your home then we’re all for it. Two for one cinema tickets? Go for it! Now you can afford to treat your Valentine’s date to some popcorn too. Valentine’s Day shouldn’t all be about flashing your cash and trying to impress. Visiting a free of charge art gallery or museum can be just as fun as going to see a show, but costs much less. Focus on enjoying yourselves and spending quality time together instead. Low-cost doesn’t have to mean unromantic – remember what counts. In the words of the Biebermeister; “We could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke. As long as you love me.”