How to have a perfect Valentine’s Day on a budget
Published Wed, Feb 1, 2012 Updated Tue, Feb 16, 2021
Think of Valentine’s Day and images of dozens of red roses, romantic trips to Paris and plush meals out spring to mind. So what do you do when your personal finances really just don’t stretch that far?
If you don’t have a lot in your bank account, you could end up borrowing money or even just trying to set some cash aside to pay for the occasion. Some people prefer to put money into a separate account and there are a range of prepaid credit cards at MoneySupermarket which are ideal for that purpose.
However, February 14th is all about romance and while expensive luxury is lovely, with a bit of effort you can create a budget Valentine’s Day that will surpass anything you could possibly buy.
If you have deep pockets, Valentine’s Day can be easy: buy the biggest card, the most extravagant bouquet and book the most expensive restaurant. But that doesn’t actually mean any thought has gone into the gestures and most people would actually prefer to receive something a little bit more personal.
Valentine’s Day cards can be pricey – at several pounds for a flimsy bit of paper just because it’s coloured red and has a heart embossed on it. Cheaper and far more intimate is creating your own card from a favourite photo of the two of you. It’s so easy that even the least creative person can manage it. Either stick the photo on to the front of a folded card or place it within a cardboard border fold. Either way, a few nice words on the inside to match will send your beloved swooning.
Flowers are a really nice gesture. No one can deny that. They smell lovely, look beautiful and have a wow effect. But on the flip side, they die quickly and are soon forgotten. On the other hand, giving someone a plant, or even planting a sapling or shrub in the garden could be a far more romantic gesture and is decidedly cheaper. Describing the gift as a symbol of your ‘growing and timeless love’ could be a winner. Yes, it’s a bit mushy but it’s Valentine’s Day so it’s allowed.
A quiet meal for two in a top-notch restaurant sounds wonderful but too often on V-Day the experience doesn’t quite match the expectation. Many restaurants insist on special menus which are often overpriced and restrictive. To get maximum profits, tables are usually jammed in close together, making private conversation difficult and creating a less-than-intimate atmosphere.
No one is suggesting you give up the idea of a romantic dinner completely. But rather than going out, bring the restaurant experience to you. Set the table, dim the lights, turn the TV off and cook some posh nosh at home. Even if you aren’t a fabulous cook, many top supermarkets offer a range of gourmet meals that just need to be thrown in the oven and, even better, usually come with a dessert and a bottle of something nice, all for a fixed price.
Finally, if you want to give a gift, think personal. This isn’t the time to go for a shop-bought offering. Creating a handful of IOU vouchers for household chores, massages or other freebie indulgences can be a thoughtful gift that will be truly appreciated. Just remember you have to stick to your side of the bargain when your loved one chooses to use one!
Valentine’s Day is about the romance not the bling, so even if you are well off you might want to swap your expensive treats for something a little more personal.