Sex and money are two of the biggest triggers for arguments in any relationship and with Valentine’s Day fast approaching you want to make sure you strike the right balance between the two – you spend too much money you risk putting financial strain on your relationship, however if you don’t spend enough money, you may not get enough romance.
Luckily you can splash out on romance without having to spend a lot of money, whether you make your own gifts, or you make your own hotel getaway at home.
Affordable Valentine’s Day Date Ideas
You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars a night on a hotel room or, the same amount on a full three course meal for two – don’t forget the wine – to woo your valentine this year. Spend time instead this year, and put together one of these dates for your valentine:
1 – Dinner date at home
With a little imagination and the right lighting you can turn your home into a fancy restaurant, plus you’ll find it much more intimate dining alone. Start by setting the table properly with your best plates and all of the right cutlery laid out. Add a tablecloth, and candles in the center of the table, and if you have some spare candles dot them around the room, and around the house as tea lights are very inexpensive.
Don’t forget to finish off the ambiance with your favorite music, and you just need to add the food and wine. The same bottle of wine will be much less expensive from your local bottle shop than it would be at a restaurant so you don’t have to go without. If you like to cook you can get into the kitchen yourself, or to allow you to spend more time with your partner, simply cook up a simple meal, and jazz it up with a fancy dessert. If you’re just not going to have the time to cook, pick up some take away, which will still be cheaper than eating in at the restaurant.
2 – Hotel at home
If you can manage to leave your children with their grandparents overnight, the silence of your home will help you start to create the perfect romantic hotel atmosphere. Add to that scented candles and bubble bath – things you probably already have at home, but forget to bring out and use. To add luxury to the bedroom, press the sheets before making the bed, and bring out a silver platter for a bottle of champagne and strawberries from ‘room service’.
3 – Take a long weekend
Since Valentine’s Day is during the week this year, take a day off around the weekend – the Monday or the Friday, or both! You can then get away for a few days and nights, while also still having time to unwind together at home. look for a hotel which is outside of the city as it will be less expensive, and instead of ordering in room service for all of your meals, stroll over to a cafe for breakfast.
Or you could even take your holiday at home, especially since you’re taking a day off during the week, even a simple walk through the park, a stroll along the beach or a visit to the museum will feel like a holiday because you’re not at work.
4 – Spa visit
A visit to a day spa is a great gift for your valentine, but if you can’t afford the real thing, create your own personal spa experience. Clean the bathroom the day before and to start the relaxation at home get out those bath salts and bubble bath people have given you as gifts, adding candles and music to set the mood.
You can then pamper your partner with spa treatments such as facial masks you can buy at the chemist for a few dollars or things you’ll find in your own kitchen, for example, green tea bags or cucumbers are effective treatments for tired eyes, and a milk bath or milk facial has rejuvenating effects.
You can then finish the day of pampering with a massage using a massage oil, or even simply a normal moisturizer or olive oil from the kitchen – just decant it into a prettier container.
Affordable Valentine’s Gift Ideas
If you still want to be able to present your valentine with a present on the big day, then you may want to create some of these gift ideas:
1 – Edible gifts
There are a number of ways you can show your love through food, for example if you are making your partner’s lunch for the day, cut their sandwiches into heart shapes for a surprise at lunch time. If you’re in the kitchen baking, then use a heart shaped cookie cutter to make Valentine’s Day biscuits, or turn ordinary muffins into hearts by placing a marble on the edge of the muffin tin, outside the paper, to create an indent.
2 – A gift of yourself
To give all of yourself this Valentine’s Day why not create a set of vouchers your partner can redeem for your services. For example, you could have vouchers they can use for a hug or a kiss, to have you do the cleaning, to give them a back rub or a foot rub, to make time for a bath together, a voucher for a walk in the park, or a voucher for a date night at the movies.
You can make these vouchers simply by using paper and colored paper or pens you have at home. You can then tie your vouchers with a simple ribbon for a completely personal gift.
3 – Forgotten flowers
There is still noting quite as romantic as giving your partner flowers on Valentine’s Day and since roses are the flower of the season, they are usually one of the most expensive options. Therefore, opt for a bunch of a forgotten flower as there are any number of other varieties which are equally fragrant and appealing, but a fraction of the cost.
You can also save when giving flowers if you order early as you may get a discount on flower delivery, or simply get in before the price rise. You could even buy a bunch of flowers and wrap them yourself to save money, and if your partner is working, deliver them to her office yourself for a special surprise gift.
You could also give a potted plant instead of a bunch of flowers for a longer lasting gift, and for a more personal touch, add a pot you have decorated with a Valentine’s Day message.
4 – Messages of love
Collect pieces of paper or invest a few dollars in heart shaped post-it notes and write messages of love to your partner. These could be reasons you love them, favorite memories, or the things which attracted you to them.
Then leave these around the house for your partner to find on Valentine’s Day, and for months to come. You could hide notes in their car, in their briefcase or cupboards and drawers for a gift that keeps on giving.
So while you don’t have to spend a fortune, you can spend some time thinking of ways to make this Valentine’s Day special for your partner, because it doesn’t really matter how much you spend, as long as you don’t forget your valentine this February 14.
Alban is a personal finance writer at Home Loan Finder, a home loan comparison website.