Get thrifty this Valentine’s

LGBT couple kissing in a field

Did you know that at least £1.6bn is spent on gifts and treats on Valentine’s Day across the UK? In fact, Brits spent £40.2m on Valentine’s cards alone last year – apparently making it the highest spend among all special occasions.

But hold on, though – isn’t Valentine’s Day supposed to be about love rather than loot? Does spending a fortune on your partner really reflect your feelings for them? Here at Money for Life, we believe that individual gestures or creative presents are more meaningful than a massive bouquet of red roses, a box of the world’s most expensive choccies or a weekend away.

We want to prove that being strapped for cash is no barrier to true romance on Valentine’s Day. That’s why we are running a campaign on social media asking for your top thrifty ideas for dates, gifts and romantic experiences using the hashtag #ThriftyShades. Find out more about how you can enter to win an unforgettable experience for two here.

In the meantime, here’s our guide to a very special, loving and cheap Valentine’s Day.

  • Choose an alternative Valentine’s Day. February 14 has become a commercial con day. Flowers, chocolate, eating out, holidays, anything Valentinesy becomes more expensive. So why not choose your own private day to celebrate with your loved one? It’s more personal, your little shared secret and you won’t be surrounded by other people doing the same thing.
  • Rather than buying expensive jewellery or going to super-posh restaurants, do fun cheap things, cook a meal together, go to the park, and go for a walk.
  • Disconnect on Valentine’s Day. Turn off your computer, turn away from the hundreds of other daily digital distractions in your life, and reconnect with the real world.
  • Rather than bankrupting yourself on a hugely expensive meal, make your loved one his or her favourite meal at home. That’s real romance! And you can dim the lights down as low as you want (try doing that in a restaurant!).
  • Make a collage or photo album of some of your favourite moments together. These shared memories mean so much to your partner.
  • Have a stay-at-home holiday. Explore your home town/city as if you’ve never seen it before. Go to all the museums and galleries that you’ve always wanted to but never got round to (they are often free), walk in those woods that everybody talks about, get on the open-topped tourist bus (depending on the weather of course!).
  • Forget flowers – or real flowers at least. You can make beautiful ones out of paper. And origami is great fun.
  • Take advantage of all the special offers around. For example, free cinema tickets, lastminute.com eating out deals at the high street restaurants, check out Groupon.
  • Make a playlist of your partner’s favourite songs. Or you could go retro and make a mix tape or CD.
  • Have an alfresco midnight feast. Make a picnic, drive off to somewhere romantic with a clear sky, and look at the stars. You can even choose a star, make it your own, and return every year to look at your star.

Ultimately Valentine’s Day is about love not commerce. There are a million ways you can show your love for your friends, family or partner that don’t involve spending a bomb. Remember the most important investment when it comes to love is emotional not financial.

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