Valentine’s Day is fast approaching like a love filled freight train as usually happens this time of year. With a matter of days left until the big day how can you make that money stretch a big further. Money Shed member Queen81 has written a great guide to doing the big day on a budget.
“Love is in the air!” Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching us, and if you’re anything like me, you’re dreading it. Well, dreading the cost of it. Society seems to make such a big deal about this “celebration” nowadays, that I find myself trying not to get sucked into the world of expensive red roses, candlelit meals at an overpriced restaurant, & buying anything cute & cuddly that my local card shop tempts me with. I want to romance & treat my other half, but I don’t want to break the (already depleted) bank.
So, what can I do that is going to be romantic, but not too expensive?
Eating out (or in)
In my experience, the way to a man’s heart is definitely through his stomach. However, restaurants take advantage of the fact that it’s Valentine’s Day, and up their prices, knowing fine well that lovestruck couples wanting to wine & dine have no choice but to pay up. Apart from boycotting Valentine’s Day and booking up for the Friday or Sunday night, why not take advantage of the fact that it falls on a Saturday, and look for “happy hour” deals at your local restaurant in the afternoon? Most establishments have a good lunch menu that is way cheaper than the evening one. That will save you a few quid, and you get to spend the evening together snuggled up on the sofa, watching films, and drinking wine (may I recommend Three Mills Reserve White – £3 AT Asda). If you’re feeling particularly extravagant, you can chuck in some popcorn too.
Either that, or unleash your inner Gordon Ramsay, and rustle up a simple carbonara with garlic bread, followed by a Daim Bar Cheesecake (once you’ve tasted it you’ll never buy a shop-made one again). Or, if your culinary skills only stretch to cooking toast, then check out your local supermarket’s “dine-in” deals – I personally know Asda & Tesco have great offers on their Chinese & Indian meal deals (around £7). Chuck in a couple of candles, put your best gladrags on, and it’s almost as good as being at The Ritz. Asda currently have a deal on Louvel Fontaine Champagne Brut for £10 a bottle (instead of £24.50), and sell champagne flutes for 60p each.
Who needs Thornton’s when you can make your own chocolate covered strawberries? Simply dip said strawberries in melted chocolate and leave to cool on greaseproof paper in the fridge. If you’re feeling adventurous, then inject the strawberries with vodka first. They taste & look gorgeous, and I personally think they say “I love you” far better than any shop-bought chocolates.
Get creative with cards & gifts
If you have little ones at home, then it’s a 99% certainty that you have a craft box full of feathers, glitter, sequins and glue. If you don’t then head to your local poundshop to stock up! Making cards is fun, and you can involve the kids (it’ll make you feel better if you’re sending them off to their Granny’s for the night on the 14th). Kilner jars full of old-fashioned sweets (such as kola kubes & pear drops) make a great present too. You could even make heart-shaped cookies & wrap them in cellophane with a pretty bow! Or, you could make decorate a photo frame with seashells or buttons; the list of creative possibilities is endless.
…are expensive on Valentine’s Day. End of. For cheaper alternatives, try your local supermarket the day before, or make your own bouquet of artificial flowers which you can pick up pretty cheap at homeware stores.
There are of course other ways to woo your loved ones on the cheap. My local Asda have lingerie sets for £8.50, and they’re very good quality. No need to spend fortunes in Ann Summers! There’s also the option of buying a personalized photo gift – a heart-shaped photo key ring costs a measly £3 – even I can stretch to that!