Valentine's day on the cheap

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Awwwwwwwwwwww! etc
"Valentine’s Day is a celebration of each other’s love - not splashing out on a vast amount of tat or getting into a silly amount of debt"
  • | by Dave Jenkins

Attention all lovers: We hate to alarm you, but Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!

Apparently over one billion cards are sent worldwide on February 14th, but surely we can do better than an identikit communique sporting a soulless catch-all commercial message?

Yes we can.

Mercifully some of the best presents won’t cost you a penny. All they require is a little thought. Or a read of this feature. Remember: Valentine’s Day is a celebration of each other’s love… And not splashing out on a vast amount of tat or getting into a silly amount of debt.

Our month’s advance warning gives you a little time to save, prepare and wow your partner like you never have before.

Book Valentine’s Day (and the next day) Off

Good news! Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday this year. If this doesn’t justify a long weekend, nothing will.

Perfect timing: you deserve a break after this nasty six week post-Christmas slog. Book now, though; you won’t be the only person in the office with that idea.

Oh, and tell your partner to do the same.

Push Valentine’s Day Forward

Can’t book the time off? Then push your special time forward to January 25. AKA St Dwynwen’s Day… Welsh Valentine’s Day!

The restaurants won’t be cluttered with fellow lovers, there are no expectations AND it’s a Friday.

Okay, if your partner is a stickler for tradition you might end up having two Valentine’s Days, but if they love surprises (or Welsh things) then this will definitely please.

Free Valentine’s Treats

The best Valentine’s treats will cost you pennies, tops.

Make your own card: Admit it, we all watched Blue Peter back in the day. Print pictures, get messy with glitter, cut out some hearts, even write your own saucy limerick or emotional sonnet… Just don’t forget the sticky back plastic.

Love Vouchers: Think of the chores your partner hates and treats they love. Then write a selection of ‘vouchers’ guaranteeing them these treats just when they want it.

These can range from doing the dishes to a jolly nice foot massage and they’ll stretch Valentine’s Day well beyond its usual 24 hours.

Make a mixtape: A timeless free treat classic that should touch your partner’s heart. Again, spend time thinking of tracks that are special to both of you (and not just tunes you love, please men!)

What was playing when you first kissed? Which band did you first check out together? Which song did you hear all the time on your first holiday together? Put them together and get creative over the packaging. They worked when you were a teenager and, if you really think about the content, by jove they’ll still work now.

Music: The Food Of Love

While we’re talking music, why not record your own special version of your partner’s favourite song? Online recording services range from free to the excess of £1000 with mastering and some studio trickery to make your voice really sparkle.

Feeling flush? The legendary Abbey Road Studio now offers a ‘record your own song’ experience for the princely sum of £12,000! Not a very good singer? Don’t hold back… Making someone laugh = serious sexy time.

Another music-related Valentine’s idea is a dance class. You’ve got two options here; sign up to some classes between now and Valentine’s Day and dazzle your lover with some seriously dope moves. Or, book a couples lesson for Valentine’s Day. Ballroom, tango or salsa are especially conducive to the fine art of smoochery. A quick search indicates lessons can be as cheap as £10 an hour for group sessions, £20 for private tuition.

Food: The Music Of Love

There’s so much potential when it comes to Valentine’s Day and food. Firstly, don’t bother with a restaurant. It will be busy and noisy and you’ll be rushed through to make space for the next booking. Hardly romantic!

Instead, treat each other to your favourite foods at home. This can start with breakfast in bed and end with a fancy fun time picnic on the floor of your living room. You’ve got four weeks; might we suggest a little reading time? Sexy Uncle Google has all the answers when it comes to natural aphrodisiacs. Cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, bananas (oo-err) and buttermilk all get the thumbs up.

Interestingly, it turns out oysters will only help in the bedroom if your man eats 50 in one sitting. And red wine, apparently, intimates male pheromones! Woof.

Naturally no Valentine’s Day would be complete without a little chocolate. But why stop at the classic variety box? Did you know mould kits to make chocolate replicas of certain body parts only cost £20? You do now. Ahem.

Recreate Your First Date

Flex that brain muscle of yours and recall the first time you got together. This might not be so romantic if the nightclub in which you met is now a high security storage warehouse but if that first date was very special then you can’t fail to impress with a trip down memory lane.

Variations on this theme include setting up a treasure hunt that leads to the first place you dated. Or, if you’ve moved miles away from that special first place, then dig out the old photos and reminisce in the comfort of your own home.

Advertise Your Love To The World

Why tell each other how special you are when you can tell your whole neighbourhood?

This can range from a little announcement in the local paper or a local radio shout out to screaming about it on the side of a bus which, surprisingly, can start as (relatively) cheaply as £120. In case you're wondering how much a skywriter costs, the cheapest we’ve found is £495.

Take A Romantic Break

Sometimes a romantic break away is the only Valentine’s tonic. But for crying out loud, try not to spend more than you can afford!

We’ll leave you to work out the dream destination, but it may be wise to get your travel insurance in order early doors, and think about paying using your credit card - providing you can pay it off reasonably quickly. If you're stuck abroad on account of an airline going bust, your credit card provider can help you get home.

Credit cards also offer various other benefits conducive to greater peace of mind - providing you don't fall behind with payments - thanks to the Consumer Credit Act.