The great thing about Valentine’s Day is that it isn’t really about how much money you spend. It is more about showing that person how much they mean to you. This is great for those of you who can’t afford that much, and even those of you who simply want to avoid spending this year.
Flowers: The biggest rip off over the Valentine’s period, without a doubt. Like hotels and flights over the holiday season, the price of flowers, which will be dead within a few days, shoots up astronomically for this time of year. Thankfully this is also an easily avoided expense. Save spending any money and add romantic value by picking your own. Just avoid graveyards and neighbors’ back gardens. You can then arrange the flowers to the best of your ability in a vase ready for her to get home from work. If there isn’t a vase to hand a pair of wellies seems to be perfectly acceptable apparently….
Dinner: To really keep the costs down I could suggest you hunt for your Valentine’s meal but that is not realistic, not to mention dangerous and probably illegal. Instead, light some candles, stick on Barry White, put on a nice suit and tie, and impress your valentine with your culinary talents. If you are not confident with cooking, you can find many quick, cheap and easy recipes and step by step videos on YouTube. The effort you have made with the candles and dressing up smart just for your date will fulfill the romance quota for the day.
Chocolate: Chocolate can also set you back a pretty penny over Valentine’s. The trick is to avoid the romantic packaging. You can guarantee that you’ll end up paying more if the box you buy has a heart, flowers or “be mine” printed on it. Go for chocolates which are the same price all year round rather than these limited editions. For extra brownie points, make a point of finding out her favorites beforehand and then tell her that’s why you chose them.
Gift: Collages may seem like an activity that only young girls should participate in, and ordinarily I would agree. However, times are hard and when you are strapped for cash, showing effort and thought is the only option left to avoid guaranteed disappointment. Making a collage out of photos of the two of you may seem really lame but it will most likely stir some past memory of youthful joyous naivety whilst showing off your softer side.
Entertainment: There are many low cost or free options for entertaining that special someone. It should be fun and, if you are skimping on the cost, should show a degree of thought and effort. One option is to plan a treasure hunt. Regardless of age, everyone loves the mysteriousness and challenging nature of a treasure hunt. You could start by sending a note to their workplace or secretly stuffing it into their pocket before they head off in the morning. This should be clue number 1 and can contain whatever you like, as long as it leads onto clue number 2. Then rinse and repeat the process until they find their treasure which will of course be you, probably smeared in chocolate body spread (Nutella will also do).
Another, cleaner option is to go for a romantic walk. These always seem totally unappealing but just trust me. Our parents used to go for walks and so did their parents. In fact, going for a walk used to be quite a popular past time, and with good reason. With so much going on in our lives we seem to spend less time with each other – less ‘real’ time anyway. Most of us finish work and spend way too much time in front of the TV, or catching up with everyone else’s day across social media to really connect with the person sitting right next to us. So I implore you, find somewhere nice, go for a walk and talk to each other. Best of all, it’s completely free.
BUDGET: Just enough to get away with it
Flowers: If you want to buy flowers without spending too much then there is no better place to look than the local supermarket. The problem is that it lacks any effort. Personally, I feel it removes part of the romance if you hand over a bouquet of flowers to your sweetheart with Tesco stickers splashed all over the wrapping. To combat this, buy some polythene wrapping paper and re-wrap them yourself. It isn’t hard and you definitely do not require any level of skill to give that professional florist illusion.
Dinner: Eating out on Valentine’s night can be a very expensive meal. However, if you sped a bit of time and shop around, you may be surprised at some of the deals laid out by many restaurants as they compete for your business. Like any deal, the trick is to give yourself time; if you leave it to the last minute you will dramatically decrease your opportunity to grab a wallet-pleasing deal. Finally, don’t forget to make sure you look your best, this is a special day after all that deserves a bit of effort!
Chocolates: Ok, so you are prepared to spend some money on Valentine’s chocolates, but why not go for something a little different. Maybe look at some of the smaller chocolatiers rather than an unimaginative high street shop. Buying chocolates from a smaller chocolatier makes the unimaginative gift of chocolate seem quite imaginative and again shows thought and effort. Alternatively, you could really amaze your other half by making your own: invest in some chocolate moulds and Google how to “temper” chocolate (make it hard and glossy) and they’ll be mega impressed by the time and effort you’ve put in.
Gift: If you are brave enough, lingerie is a great gift for Valentine’s day. Now, of course you can easily browse the options online from the comfort of your home and remove the stress of trying not to look like a sick pervert in public. The real challenge is making sure you get the right thing. Don’t to go too extreme – you’re trying to be romantic, not instigate a scene from that S&M clip you watched the other night. Another option is perfume. This is, however, quite a personal gift and I would suggest purchasing one that she already has, or has enjoyed in the past. Getting a new fragrance is basically suggesting that she could smell better.
Entertainment: Have a look into some live music. Whether it is a small band playing in the local pub or a more established act in one of the many music venues scattered across the UK, there is sure to be something on to suit you and your belle. I would suggest keeping away from dingy, sweaty venues as this is meant to be a romantic evening. A drunken, sweaty, middle-aged bloke with a receding hairline and dodgy goatee moshing in front of you tends to kill any romantic vibes.
BUDGET: I feel like burning my money this year!
Flowers: So Mr Money Bags, you feel like showing that special someone just how much they mean to you by splashing loads of money on something which will almost certainly shrivel and die before the end of the week? Well, I have some good news for you, because there are many florists out there eagerly waiting for you. When it comes to Valentine’s Day there is only one choice: Roses. Nothing signifies endless love quite like a bunch of red roses, and you will pay a premium for this as a result. However, everyone (especially the lucky recipient) knows this, and this act of you throwing your money away in order to please them will, in a twisted sort of way, add to the romance of the entire ridiculous affair.
Dinner: Dinner at a small boutique restaurant, possibly with a Michelin star or two, will certainly fill the romantic meal category. But with fine dining experiences often costing in excess of £200 per person, it’s unlikely to be cheap and will also be filled with other romantic types. Make a bit more of an effort and actually look into the full Michelin guide to see if there is a recommended restaurant near by. It will be just as wonderful a dining experience and half as full. Doing this will show you to be the insightful, unique man she fell in love with, remember him?
Chocolates: Those of you who really fancy spoiling a chocolate lover this Valentine’s Day should try To’ak chocolate. Translated, it means ‘earth’ and ‘tree’ in ancient Ecuadorian dialects and will set you back a whopping $260 (£169) per bar. It is so delicate you have to eat it with wooden tongs apparently. Each to their own, I suppose.
Gift: One word… DIAMONDS!
Entertainment: An overnight stay at some swanky hotel in Paris is always a fairly enjoyable and entertaining affair. You then have the option to catch a show or spend the evening staring into each other’s eyes in some exclusive bar whilst sipping on your ridiculously expensive Martinis… and wearing one of our exquisitely designed Style Boxes.
So there you have it, Valentines regardless of budget. Do you have any great ideas for Valentines? Why not let me know so I can use them next year….