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Ideas: Valentine’s Day on a Budget

I love Valentine’s Day. I love it because the way Den and I celebrate it resonates perfectly with who we are.

We don’t make a big deal and spend hundreds of dollars on the one night of the year every other couple is out as well. There’s no pressure for fancy restaurants or armfuls of overpriced roses. At best, maybe a love note and some heart shaped chocolates. Sweet gestures.

But we do always stop, take a day to make each other feel special and do something nice together to celebrate ‘us’.

Because Valentine’s Day is about just us.

While so many jaded people may bang on about it being a Hallmark holiday that means nothing, I choose to see it as another opportunity to mark our time together as a couple.

Can you ever have too many of those?

I also secretly love the sickly sweetness of cheesy cards, fluffy teddy bears and candy hearts.

Last year, Den was away for Valentine’s Day in San Francisco. I had two-dozen colorful roses delivered to where he was staying, complete with a vase to store them in. I wanted him to know I was thinking of him even though he was on the other side of the world.

This year, we’re debating a picnic and a viewing of Breakfast at Tiffany’s (which neither of us has ever seen, if you can believe it!) at the local outdoor cinema (it’s summer here in Australia), where even though we’ll be surrounded by other couples we will have some private space on our blanket.

Here are some other low-budget ideas for celebrating your Valentine’s Day together. It doesn’t need to be big. Take the pressure off and relax together, away from the world:

1. Indoor Picnic
Organise an indoor picnic on the floor of your loungeroom.

Throw down a rug and some sumptuous cushions and surprise your sweetie with a stocked picnic basket from which you can unpack all the favourites – a bottle of wine, yummy cheese and dips, risotto balls and salmon terrine… drop by your favourite deli and you’ll find everything you need there… Don’t forget something fudgy and chocolately for dessert!

From your picnic spot on the floor you may also like to snuggle under a blanket when you’re done and watch a romantic movie together.

2. Home Spa
A night of pampering for two is decadent. It will require a little bit of preparation – bubbly is a must, along with a fruit platter and perhaps some choccies. If you have fluffy bathrobes, dig them out.

Next, you’ll need some delicious smelling bath products – think a spiced salt scrub you can apply to each other in the shower, or a fizzy bath bomb if you prefer to soak in the tub together.

Wash each other’s hair, indulge in foot rubs and maybe even try a mini manicure (men: you’ll love it, I promise. No nail polish required.) Do splash out on a rich moisturiser and massage it in to each other’s skin to finish perfectly.

3. Heart-Shaped Pancakes
Making a special breakfast for your Valentine is a beautiful way to start their day off with love.

They’ll know you’ve thought of them when they wake up to find all their favourite breakfast goodies are already in the house – you thought ahead!

Fresh OJ, hot coffee, heart shaped pancakes, eggs and bacon… their favourite muffins… whatever it is your partner loves, make sure you have it on hand. Serve it in bed on a tray or simply to the table with a love note and a single flower.

4. Work of Art
What better way to spend time with your sweetie than spending the evening gazing at them while you sketch a work of art?

Drop by an art supply store and stock up on sketch pads, graphite pencils and sharpeners and erasers. That’s all you need to start your career as a portrait artist.

Don’t take it too seriously – jump on the web and have a look for some drawing tutorials and then pose your Valentine just where you want them… You may even convince them a spot of life drawing is on the cards!

Set up some wine and snacks as well to make a night of it. Can’t let the talent go hungry.

If drawing people isn’t your thing, what about getting an inexpensive canvas and some paint and working together on an abstract work? If it turns out great, hang it on your wall. If it’s hideous, laugh, snap a photo of it and promptly paint over it… or donate it so someone else can at least reuse the canvas!

5. Dessert Only
Dinner out gets really expensive. Particularly on Valentine’s Day when it’s all set menus and inflated prices. Eat a candlelit dinner at home and then take your sweetie out late for dessert. You can go nuts and order as much sweet stuff as you like, you still won’t break the bank! Find a specialty restaurant or bar or drop in late to a fancy favourite restaurant, they’ll happily let you have a table that’s already been vacated.

What are you up to for Valentine’s Day?

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Author |

Writer, dating columnist, wife, coffee addict, foodie, fashionista... Melburnian through and through. Muser, dancer, blogger, tweeter. Likes to get her head on telly now and again. Sleeper, dreamer, a sucker for romance. And of course... a cheap date.


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