Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and if there are a few cobwebs in your pocketbook, you might think you’re in trouble. According to Smart Company, Australians spent an estimated $936 million combined on Valentine’s Day in 2013. If your budget is more like $20, $10 or less, there are ways to show your loved one you care — without wasting money on flowers that will decay, chocolates that get eaten and jewellery that’s out of your price range.
Buy a Movie
Taking your loved one to the cinema could easily cost more than your budget when you add up the cost of two evening admissions and a trip to the concession stand. Buy brand new DVD or Blu-ray releases ahead of time for a fraction of the cost and surprise your loved one with a movie she meant to check out a few months ago.
Head to the supermarket to pick up popcorn, candy and your sweetheart’s favourite drink to provide during the film. Snuggling together on the couch with no annoying fellow moviegoers to ruin the experience can be just as romantic, if not more, than the typical movie date.
Cook a Meal
Instead of the pricey tux-and-tie restaurant selection, amaze your loved one with a dinner you make yourself — an especially great surprise if you don’t often cook for him. Search out the recipe and practice beforehand with smaller servings. Decorate your dining room table with Valentine’s Day decorations you make yourself, like hearts cut out of construction paper. Pick a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers to use as a centrepiece.
Go for a Walk
Choose a scenic area, like a park or a hiking path that ends at the top of a hill. If the weather is nice, grab your loved one by the hand and take a long walk. Leave your mobiles behind. Enjoy the fresh air and the chance to reconnect. You might scout the area ahead of time and have something special waiting at the end of the path: a beautiful view, a handmade gift or a place to eat a picnic dinner. Don’t forget a camera to capture the special memory.
Give a Massage
Make a small investment in some massage oils, set up a massage table with cushions, dim the lights and play romantic music. Study up on some basic massage techniques and offer to rub your loved one’s aches and pains away. Even people who are shy about getting a massage from a stranger will appreciate a massage from someone they love.
If your loved one is a keeper, she just wants to know that you remember that Valentine’s Day is one of the most romantic nights of the year and that you would go out of your way to plan something special for her. She’ll understand about your budget woes — and if you make the night a memorable one, she won’t stop to wonder why you didn’t get her an expensive gift. Flowers, chocolates and jewellery are boring and expected. Planning a private night of fun and romance, on the other hand, will prove truly memorable.