A budget Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be as grim as it sounds. In fact, you can knock your partner’s socks off with these ideas… among other things… wink, wink.
By Georgie Koch
Ah love, ain’t it grand? The long walks, hand holding, having a backup plus-one for every event and lazy Saturday night in, it’s romance and convenience rolled into one!
But with every relationship comes one overarching responsibility: Valentine’s Day.
Just when you thought your wallet was recovering from Christmas, BAM! Cupid comes in with a right hook and knocks your bank balance right back down.
According to research from Finder, Australians are expected to spend $1.1 billion dollars this Valentine’s Day. No surprise here, that figure has been climbing for many years.
“Aussies are now spending over a billion dollars on this Hallmark holiday, splashing out on everything from flowers to restaurants,” Kate Browne, personal finance expert at Finder says. “The pandemic has also changed the way many of us are planning to celebrate – if you’d prefer to stay home, there are plenty of quarantine-friendly date night ideas to try, from meal deliveries to virtual wine tasting.”
It’s easy for Valentine’s Day expenses to sky rocket, what with a cosy breakfast out, lingering lunch, or romantic dinner with matching wine. In fact, Finder reckons Aussies will spend $427 million on eating out, $127 million on eating in (it is a pandemic, after all) and $381 million on gifts.
Browne urges Australians not to blow the budget. “You can still create a romantic evening without your bank account taking a hit,” she says. “Something as simple as going for a romantic walk or having a backyard picnic is meaningful yet affordable. There are countless ways you can show your partner that you care without having to spend up big.”
In fact, here are just five ways to inject some magic into a budget Valentine’s Day.
Write from the heart
Never underestimate the power of a thoughtful, well written card. Cards give you license to be sappy and romantic and say all the things you’re too embarrassed to say out loud. They earn pretty big brownie points and leave a lasting impression.
Hey, I’m sure Shakespeare got laid at least a few times purely off his… verse.
Valentine’s Day is about love, not money, so don’t feel like you have to splash out on expensive items. It’s the thought that counts. No one was ever disappointed by a simple bouquet of flowers, chocolate or their favourite bottle of wine.
And ladies, I’m talking to you here as well, the day is not reserved for you to be spoilt without any vice versa, you feel me?
Don’t underestimate the comfort and possibilities of your own home. We’ve all certainly got to know them over the past couple of years…
Instead of eating out, why not stay in, but make it unlike a normal night. Clear the house of mess, housemates or kids (if possible).
Spruce things up with a few candles and flowers and create a setting – this could be a lounge room picnic with blankets and pillows, or a restaurant-style table just for two.
There are few things more romantic than having someone cook for you, so treat your favourite person to their favourite meal. And if you’re both doing it, take turns with the courses.
Don’t forget to choose a soundtrack to set the mood and finish it all up with an appropriate movie, more Notebook than Happy Gilmore. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
… Or get out
On the complete other side of the coin, you could go out, but not normal out.
Get in the car, put a good playlist on and just drive. Go exploring somewhere you’ve never been or to your favourite outdoor spot that you don’t visit as often as you’d like. Pack the picnic basket and take the night as it comes. Time together without expectation nor constraints is the ultimate budget Valentine’s Day gift.
Plus everyone looks much more attractive in the moonlight. Which will surely end in something pleasant somewhere along the way.
Always remember, gifts don’t always have to be physical.
You could treat your partner to an experience, or better yet make it an experience you can share. You could go to the movies, get a couple’s massage, or to a concert. And if that’s stretching the budget, why not make your own gift cards for services to be redeemed?
Before your mind goes straight to the gutter, this could non-sexy things. Like five home-cooked meals. Or a month’s worth of being the designated driver. Maybe a good old massage every night for a week.
At the end of the day, no one would ever break up with someone over a budget Valentine’s Day present. Well, I mean, if they did, they’re an asshole and better you find out now rather than later. Always remember, in the wise words of Jenny From The Block, “my love don’t cost a thing”.