Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Shopping centres will soon be filled with hearts, streamers, and balloons; Valentine cards will be exchanged; and flowers will be delivered to homes and offices all around the country.

The consumer industry places so much focus on expensive gifts and fancy dinners that for many, the day has become about spending a lot of money. To remind you what Valentine’s Day is all about, and to help you make your loved one feel special (even on a student budget), we’ve listed some brilliant ways of making Valentine’s Day special without spending a lot of money:

 

Instead of looking for an expensive venue: Go out into nature

The local park, nature reserve, or even your backyard can be much more romantic than an expensive restaurant. Grab a picnic blanket (an old duvet or curtain could work well too) and some pillows from the couch, and you have the beginnings of a romantic setting! If you decide to have your date during the day, try to pick a spot in the shade. If the weather doesn’t permit an outside setting, duplicate the picnic setting in your living room or any covered area. If you can travel, take a drive to the nearest botanical gardens or the closest beach.

 

Instead of buying a card: Make your own

A handmade card is much more special than a generic store-bought one.

Make a handmade Valentine's Day card instead of buying one

 

Instead of buying a meaningless gift that costs a lot of money: Choose something personal (and affordable)

Expensive gifts, while pleasant to receive, are often generic and meaningless. Here are some other ideas:

If your partner is sentimental, print some photos and write your memories from the occasion on the back of the photo. Instead of buying a bunch of roses, buy only one, or pick a pretty flower. Don’t buy a box of chocolates simply because the box has hearts on it. Buy one bar of your partner’s favourite chocolate and wrap it in pretty paper. Write a short letter on that piece of paper before wrapping the chocolate, and your partner will receive an extra surprise when unwrapping it!

 

Instead of spending a fortune on food: Prepare your own

Restaurants and retailers want you to believe that expensive meals carry significant meaning. The truth is that a home-cooked meal or picnic basket can be much more romantic and meaningful. The fact that you prepared the food or snacks yourself will make it all the more delicious.

Your partner will also appreciate the personal effort, especially if you decide to prepare his or her favourite meal (or dessert).

Instead of spending a fortune on food for Valentine's Day - prepare your own

 

Set the right mood

You can treat your loved one to good food and a gift at any time. What makes Valentine’s Day special is the romantic mood. Decorate with some red balloons, or switch off the lights and place some candles around the picnic blanket or dinner table. Candles are not expensive, yet they can provide a wonderfully romantic atmosphere – just take care not to set anything alight!

 

Don’t underestimate the small things

If you and your partner don’t find big dates appealing, you can still make each other feel appreciated. Place short notes of appreciation in your partner’s diary or lunchbox. Send a short SMS telling your partner how much you appreciate him or her. Rent a movie you both want to watch and spend the evening together.

Don't underestimate the small things

 

The most important thing about Valentine’s Day is to spend time together alone. Investing time in your relationship is much more important than spending money. Always remember that a hug, a smile, and some quality time together is worth much more than any gift.

 

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