10 ways to make Valentine’s Day romantic without breaking the bank

It’s easy to get caught up in the buying frenzy surrounding Valentine’s Day, as retailers vie to rake in the profits from romance-inspired lovers. But we all know – and just perhaps need to remind ourselves – that love isn’t about material things. It’s about what you give by way of time and attention to show you how much you appreciate your other half, and that needn’t involve going in the red.


So here are some simple ideas to make 14 February a special day without spending a fortune…

1 Cook a romantic meal at home

Many couples opt to avoid crowded restaurants with their hiked-up prices on Valentine’s. You don’t need to be a budding chef to make an impact – simple dishes in a romantic setting can be just the ticket. Impress with an ironed tablecloth, candles and a handwritten menu card. Make an indoor picnic basket or serve eggs on heart-shaped toast for breakfast. If you want to be extra cheesy, spell out ‘I love you’ on a plate with the food (Alphabetti Spaghetti anyone?).

2 Make a scrapbook

Gather mementos from your time together as a couple – favourite photos, letters, cards and tickets, and stick them in a book with affectionate captions. This is much more meaningful than a gift voucher!

3 Have an old movie fest

Get a bunch of old romantic films and watch them together snuggled up on the sofa. For inspiration, check out this poll of the 25 best romantic films of all time with Casablanca voted as number one.

4 Stargaze

Get wrapped up warm and head outdoors to check out the night sky. Get some picnic rugs, a thermos of warm drink, snack bars and a full tank of fuel, and head out somewhere far from the street-light glare. Take a star chart and look for stars that you know, or choose a star just for the two of you and make a promise to look out whenever you’re ever apart.

5 Dear John… or Jane

Write an old-fashioned love letter telling them how you feel and send it in a card you’ve made yourself. You’ll want it to come from the heart but for inspiration, check out the ten most romantic letters of all time, according to this poll.

6 Take a trip down memory lane together

Take your beloved somewhere that was special to them as a child. Spend time walking around it and asking questions about their feelings. Make sure you take a photo of the two of you there.

7 Go public with your love

Granted this might not be for everyone, but what’s more romantic than declaring to the world your feelings for someone? Video yourself and upload it online for free to websites such as YouTube and send them a link via email so they can enjoy your Valentine’s Day video.

8 Write a love list

Write down ten things you love about your partner on a piece of paper and stick it somewhere they will see it on Valentine’s morning, such as on the bathroom mirror or on the fridge.

9 I promise to pay…

Show your love by making a ‘love coupon’ book containing IOU promises of future favours you know your partner will appreciate such as, “I promise to clean your car/give you a back or foot rub/do one week of dish washing/ babysit the kids.” Just don’t forget to follow through on your pledges!

10 Give cheesy but sweet gifts

Meaningful presents don’t need to cost the earth. Give simple gifts that remind you of one another or an experience you shared together. You can either initiate this yourself, or suggest it as a Valentine’s tradition for the two of you. For example, if you had your first date on a snowy night, buy a cheap snow globe with two hearts inside and write in a card that it reminds you of an amazing night that changed your life.

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