Let’s face it: Valentine’s Day can get expensive. By the time you’ve booked an upmarket restaurant (with the usual pricey set menu) or bought roses and fancy chocolates, you’ve probably spent half your weekly pay packet. But if you’re counting your pennies, there are other ways to show your beloved how you feel. Here are our top picks for a cheap and cheerful Valentine’s Day (because it is the thought that counts, after all.)
Dinner for two
There’s nothing quite as intimate as dinner in your own home, so why not find your inner MasterChef and cook something truly memorable? To make this a stress-free evening (and avoid wasting time slaving over a hot stove when you should be gazing into your lover’s eyes) choose dishes that can be cooked ahead of time. Entrees, desserts and sides should be easy enough to pre-prepare (and in some cases frozen) before the big day.
The art of love
If you’ve been together for a while and conversation is a bit, er, predictable, getting a dose of culture can be a great way to spend time together. A trip to an art gallery is not only cost-effective but what’s hanging on the walls can provide a great conversation starter.
At your service
Why not turn your house into a day spa? You’ll need to set the mood with candles and aromatherapy oils as well as some calming music. Almost everyone likes a massage or a foot rub, but if you want to get more adventurous, you could draw a bath scattered with rose petals before mixing salt and essential oil together for a home-style body exfoliation.
There’s no better way to show that you’ve been thinking about what your relationship means than a bespoke card. Consider getting a favourite photo of the two of you to put on the front – or, better yet, a collage of meaningful images – before handwriting a thoughtful note inside. If you’re feeling especially arty, why not create a memory box with keepsakes from your relationship such as ticket stubs, old cards and photos.
Couples that get fit together stay together, or so they say. You might not want to hit the gym on Valentine’s Day but learning a new activity together such as rock climbing or stand-up paddle boarding can be a real bonding experience. Hire or borrow equipment from friends to keep costs down and plan a picnic afterwards. If you’re not feeling quite so energised, there’s nothing as romantic as a walk along the beach (and it’s totally free!)