10 high impact but budget-wise gift and celebration ideas for Valentine’s Day

By Melina Byrne, the Money Maven (formerly the Recessionista) 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, RESCU’s Money Maven, Melina Byrne, delivers 10 ways to declare your love without going into debt.

I overheard the most romantic story on the bus the other day. A (very lucky) woman and her boyfriend were painting their house, when he painted “Will you marry me?” on the wall and dropped down to one knee. There were no red roses or a diamond ring, just a heartfelt plea. And of course, her answer was yes…

I never heard the rest of this story (as she got off the bus), but my point is that sometimes you can make a big impact without spending much. (Note to my husband, I wouldn’t swap my proposal with roses, candles, champagne and Sydney Opera House views for anything).

Here are my 10 budget-friendly ways to celebrate V.Day:

1. Avoid fancy restaurants. Prices can be hugely inflated on Valentine’s Day (this goes double for florists) so dine at home if you live together, or arrange to go out to dinner on an alternative night. Also, organising a picnic is a romantic option.

My husband and I stopped celebrating on the actual day after a three-course meal left us broke and so hungry we considered going home via McDonald’s. Now, we feast on fresh oysters at home for half the price.

2. Create ‘I Owe You’ coupons. You can either give him something nice (like a massage), or let him avoid something he dreads, like a romantic movie.

3. Personalised gifts. You can personalise your cards quite cheaply for Valentine’s Day or other special occasions using a new service by Hallmark. For more info, visit: www.hallmarkcards.com.au/

Free Video Cards using Skype: Don’t be shy, Skype have set up a free video card service, where users can record a short video message online and send it to their loved ones via email. If you can’t see your partner for Valentine’s Day, this is the next best thing. Find out more at www.skypevideocards.com/en

4. Online romance. Write something romantic on your partner’s home computer screen saver. This costs nothing but will mean so much.

5. Surprise him! Hide a love note in his car, write a chalk message on his doorstep, or scribble a sexy message in lipstick on his bathroom mirror.

Alternatively, you could write “I Love You” on the mirror using a cotton bud dipped in an anti-fog product like Rain-X Interior Glass Anti-Fog (which is used to stop car windows from fogging up). Of course, this works best if he doesn’t share a bathroom!

6. Sleep under the stars. If you hate camping, how about attaching some glow-in-the-dark stars from the $2 shop to your partner’s bedroom ceiling? Perhaps arrange the stars in a romantic message, or heart shape.

7. Balloon bounty. Increase the impact of a gift by attaching it to a balloon. I’ve also heard of people putting small gifts or love letters inside a balloon.

8. ‘Why I Love You’ booklet. Perhaps reveal 20 or 50 reasons why you love him. Beware of attempting 100 reasons, I tried this with my boyfriend (now husband) many years ago and he said the last 30+ points were “ a bit sketchy”.

9. Poetry. It doesn’t matter if you’re not creative, try this fun poem generator for mutual laughs.

10. And if you receive nothing this Valentine’s Day, try to remember the small ways he has shown his love recently. For instance, I love when my husband tapes my favourite TV shows when I forget about them. What a gem!

Also, be wary of this cheap idea: “Take erotic photos of each other with a digital camera.” We all know what happened to Lady Friday’s friend (think ‘accidentally airing her dirty laundry on the web’)

For more Valentine’s Day Gift ideas, see our Top 10 romantic perfumes special.

Also, RESCU’s psychic Bella Gill has a romantic ritual to improve your love life.

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