Show the love: get bang for your buck on Valentine’s Day
So, our very own carnival of romance and rose petals, otherwise known as Valentine’s Day, is back once more. It’s a day of love and the utterance of sweet nothings. The day where we can show our long-suffering significant others that we do care, and where (some of us) make up for 364 days of being a bit rubbish and inattentive.
But humour aside, Valentine’s Day matters. Sure, there’s some truth in the saying that everyday should be Valentine’s Day, but life and its commitments have a nasty habit of getting in the way – it’s easy to take for granted our loved ones who matter most. And we shouldn’t.
So when our partners tell us not to worry about Valentine’s Day because we’re not very well off, or because it doesn’t matter, beware – it’s a trick! Even if they don’t realise it, they’ll want something from you on the day of love. An expression of love doesn’t even have to cost a lot, and it doesn’t have to be conventional – there are thousand ways to show you care without breaking the bank if you think outside the box.
Here are just a few suggestions on how to show your significant other the love.
Don’t buy them a Valentine’s Day card – make one instead
It can be very, very easy to fret about what presents we’re going to spend on our Valentine, and how much it’ll cost us to buy them – obviously, this makes it very, very easy to overlook the little things that really matter.
Like a Valentine’s Day card.
Buying a Valentine’s Day card is something which most of us do with little care, thought or effort. The same as when it comes to opening them and reading what’s inside, come to think of it. That’s because anyone can pick up any old card from a card shop for a couple of quid, and write a short, last-minute message inside. Sadly, they have lost much of their value.
There is a way around this, however – simply put in a little effort and make a card for the object of your desire instead.
It’s easy. Just pop down to your local arts & crafts shop, buy some sheets of coloured card, glitter, glue, pens and pencils, and let your creative side run riot. It doesn’t even matter if the end result is terrible! You don’t necessarily have to go old school and use coloured card – the only barrier to making the most ridiculous, heartfelt homemade Valentine’s Day card is your own imagination.
A card from a shop is forgettable, but you’ll never forget giving and receiving a Valentine’s Day cards which are made from the fruits of yours and your beloved’s labour.
Make a Valentine’s Day meal fit for Cupid himself
Have you ever been out for a ‘romantic’ meal out on Valentine’s Day? Us too, and usually it’s a terrible, terrible experience.
Here’s a common example: you and your Valentine will find yourself surrounded by a herd of other couples, hemmed into a restaurant which is full to breaking point. As you endure the hour wait for your starter course, you’ll get to people-watch the couples around you which, granted, is a form of entertainment in itself. Inevitably your gaze will be drawn to the table where a couple are uncomfortably pushing their food around their plates and staring at their phones in silence. This is less entertaining – you’ll have to fight hard to suppress the fear that this is what your future holds.
The point is it probably won’t be all that great. Why go to an expensive, packed out restaurant which will be neither memorable nor exciting when you can cook up an outstandingly romantic and delicious Valentine’s Day meal at home?
All you need are cheap candles and perhaps some music to create the mood for love, along with a bottle of wine or two. You could even pick up 300 red silk rose petals for a couple of quid or so from Ebay for added romantic effect. The possibilities are endless!
And as far as creating a romantic Valentine’s dinner and dessert goes, it’ll take a bit of effort but it’ll also be a lot of fun. There are a huge number of great Valentine’s Day recipes to be found online, with this excellent top-10 list of recipe ideas by Jamie Oliver being but one example.
One for the gentlemen: flowers – buy them. No excuses
This. Seriously, just buy them. It’s not hard and it doesn’t cost a lot – a bouquet can be picked up for less than £5 from Tesco.
Your beloved will remember it if you get her flowers. As a word of warning, it’ll definitely be remembered if you don’t – there will be future pain.
When buying a gift, remember it’s not about how much you spend – go for the feels
Anyone can buy aftershave or perfume, and anyone can pick up seen-it-all-before jewellery from W.H Samuels. Will you and your loved ones remember these gifts in years to come? No, of course you won’t – who would? So why not make it a bit more memorable by taking time to pick a really meaningful gift that goes straight for the feels?
If you’re on a budget, why not search online or in a few indie arts & crafts shops for a beautiful photo album? All you need to do is add a few well-chosen memorable photos of you and your Valentine, along with a message about how together you’ll fill the rest of the album over the rest of your happy relationship – what’s more romantic than that?
If you’ve got the money to go a little further, why not save your money on smellies and jewellery in favour of creating memorable moments together? You could book a budget city break in Europe somewhere, or pay for a romantic couple’s hot air balloon ride? Choosing to spend your money on moments and experiences with your Valentine, instead of the usual trinkets, will create memories which last a lifetime.
Cheeky romantic city break, anyone?
With Valentine’s Day being just days away, what more romantic gesture is there than to whisk your partner away on a steamy city break in an enchanting corner of Europe?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a display of love on a city break scale won’t come cheap, but so long as you’re savvy they can cost surprisingly little. There are a few golden rules that need to be followed if you want to keep costs down though.
For starters, don’t book flights to your destination and a hotel room on Valentine’s weekend itself! Book instead for a weekend following. In an ideal world there would be no better way of celebrating the day of love than on the balcony of a quaint hotel room overlooking a piazza, with glass of champagne in hand as the sun sets, but you’ll likely have to pay a lot more for the pleasure – it’s almost a given that airlines and hoteliers will be charging a Valentine’s weekend premium.
Also, be sure to avoid the traditional A-list destinations that couples usually frequent, like Paris, Venice, Rome and Barcelona – all locations that ooze romance, but also locations that’ll strip you of every penny you have. To save money, look a little more off the beaten track instead.
A perfect example would be the outstandingly beautiful town of Bled in Slovenia – the location featured in the above image. A return weekend flight to Ljublana airport, which will cost less than £100 if you book in advance through a budget airline, and then a short 20-minute taxi ride to Lake Bled will see you soon walking hand-in-hand with your Valentine through the streets of what was once considered to be the most beautiful thermal spa resort in Europe. You’ll quickly realise why the cream of Europe’s aristocracy frequented this incredible location. It has astonishing snow-capped mountain scenery, a tranquil lake, lush green woodland and fairytale castles – what could be more romantic?
And this is just the top of the iceberg: there are other cities around Europe, like Porto, Dresden, and Gdansk, among others, which are also similarly enchanting, affordable, and just waiting to be explored.
Or stay in…
Well it is Valentine’s Day. In keeping with it being the day of love, why leave the house?
Whatever it is you choose to do, remember to fret less about how much money you have to spend on it all and just enjoy the day.
Your wedding doesn’t have to cost the earth
We look back at a few blockbuster classics and their budgets from years gone by.
What hidden costs are involved when buying a house?
Make sure you get the best credit deals by increasing your credit score