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Valentine’s Day on a Budget

There’s no need to go over budget this Valentine’s Day. Personalisation and a bit of effort goes a long way.

We’ve entered a new era; a new decade and we have our rose-coloured glasses on because we are seeing red and pink this Valentine’s Day. It’s the first one of the decade so get excited. The 20s are back in full force and with it the gusto and enthusiasm of it. That electricity you feel in the air is hope and promise that can only come from new beginnings.

Even though we’re seeing hearts, we are still realists and Valentine’s Day can be pricey at the best of times. We’re here to propose a couple of budget-friendly Valentine’s Day dates and gift ideas.

Intimate picnic

Picnics have a certain magic about them, it transports you back to a simpler and slower time. It’s perfect for stealing some time away from a busy schedule and spend quality time together. Pack a basket with your favourite snacks, a bottle of wine or bubbly and a blanket. Head off to the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens for a picturesque picnic, R25 per person will get you in. If you can’t get out, create a picnic spot in your garden by lighting some candles or even in your lounge. Either way, it’ll be a night to remember.

Cook dinner at home

If you love cooking, this one is for you. Plan a special Valentine’s menu that you know your partner will love and surprise them with a romantic dinner at home. To make it even more special, dress up for the occasion, light some candles and play romantic music to set the scene. After all, the way to anyone’s heart is still through their stomachs.

Home movie night

Snuggle up with your partner while watching one of your favourite movies. Make it special by creating the perfect comfortable movie space in your lounge. Set up a big Christmas bed, pop some popcorn, prepare snacks and put a bottle of bubbly on ice. All that’s left to do is to get comfortable, press play and settle in for a romantic evening.

Home-made cards

Let’s not beat around the bush. Valentine’s Day cards break the bank, so this year, forgo that cost by making your own. Unearth your long-buried creativity by creating something that shows your partner how much you love them. Use cardboard, colours and stickers even, whatever tickles your fancy. We guarantee that your partner will love it because it’s personal and from the heart.

Fresh picked flowers

Flowers cost a boatload on Valentine’s Day. Instead of spending a month’s salary on twelve roses, rather pick flowers and tie it with a red ribbon or put it in a special vase. Hand-picked flowers will put a smile on anyone’s face and remembered much longer than store-bought ones. They’ll probably last longer too.

Pot plants

Pot plants are great gifts too and will keep blooming for months after the flowers have wilted. Your nearest nursery will have a variety to choose from and you can paint the pot to make it more personal. It really is the gift that keep on giving.

Cupcakes of love

Cupcakes are always a winner for Valentine’s Day. Don’t worry about making them from scratch if you aren’t a great baker, buy a pre-mix and follow the instructions. The key is in the decoration. Apply icing liberally and top with some heart candies or edible silver balls or hundreds and thousands or anything your heart desires to express your love. Package it in a colourful cardboard box or style it on a pretty plate and viola.

Make your own gift basket

Are you a fan of Valentine’s Day gift baskets? It’s easier than you think to make your own. Buy your partner’s favourite chocolates, nibbles or sweets and package it in glass jars or Valentine’s themed mugs. Wrap it in colourful cellophane paper and ribbon and
you have the perfect gift.

A handwritten letter

Reading a handwritten letter expressing your partner’s feelings is one of the most romantic things in the world. Buy special paper and put your thoughts on it to surprise your sweetheart. It’s a gift that your partner will cherish.

Chore coupons

Romance comes in many forms and helping your partner with chores is on the top of that list. Create a series of coupons that your loved one can redeem for a chore from you. Slip in a couple of fun ones too like massages, at home movie nights and home-cooked meals.

Being romantic doesn’t need to leave you broke. In fact, putting in a bit more effort and personalising your gift or experience to your partner will stay with them a lot longer than any store-bought gift ever will. Enjoy this Valentine’s Day with the one you love and make it a memorable one.

by Anne Dolinschek


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