Skint Tips for Cutting Valentine’s Day Costs – Without Cutting the Romance

12 Feb

Cards, flowers, presents, meals out – do you ever feel that it’s your purse strings rather than your heartstrings that are being tugged as Valentine’s Day approaches? Surveys suggest we each spend more than £70 on our partners on Valentines Day.

First up I have to confess that Skint is a bit of a Valentines cynic. All those retailers rushing to separate us from our cash, all those helium balloons on sticks – it’s the duty of skint girls the world over to resist the pressure and find savvier ways to spread our love.

The big four in terms of Valentines Day spends are: cards; flowers; gifts; and meals out. Here’s how I plan to make this Valentines Day my skintest– and most romantic – yet, by investing time and thought rather than cash.

Ah, thrift - so good for the heart

First up, cards: Those giant padded shop-bought ones can easily set you back around £20. Compare that with a quid for a sweet homemade card with a personal photo, glitter and a handmade heart. Which would you rather have? One says I threw money at the problem, the other says I threw my heart and soul into making this for you. You don’t need art skills, just some card, glue and whatever takes your fancy. Much more personal than buying one off the peg.

Next, flowers: Now, we all now that retailers increase the price of flowers at Valentines Day but if you still want to send it pays to think outside the box a little. Red roses are the real money eaters at this time of year – with a dozen long-stemmed ones costing around £60 just now, plus delivery. Save money by getting a nice mixed bouquet with maybe three red roses in it – half the cost at £30. Or go for a flower not traditionally associated with Valentines Day but which your partner loves.  And whatever flowers you choose, deliver them yourself. Delivery typically costs six pounds. And of course everyone, no matter how skint, should avoid flowers from the garage forecourt – unless you want to end up wearing them.

Now, gifts: I’ve always found the best tactic is to invest thought not cash in Valentines gifts. Framing favourite photos or making up an album are both low-cost winners, as is putting together a mix CD of your partner’s favourite music and popping it in the car CD player so it comes on on Valentines Day morning. Other skint but stylish ideas include coupon books with ten to fifteen coupons, which your partner can redeem throughout the year. These might include coupons for a back massage, an offer to clean the house, a token for breakfast in bed etc. Or make up a love box. Just take a shoe box, line it with posh tissue paper and fill with: chocolates, photos, a coupon book, a mix CD inside, a homemade card or a love letter – all individually wrapped. Alternatively you can write your sweetheart a love letter and stick it in their pocket, handbag, wallet or under the windscreen so they find it at some point on Valentines Day.  I know a girl who found an admiring letter from a stranger under her windscreen one morning – she married him a year later. And finally, if you do buy a gift, check money saving sites such as vouchercodes.com before parting with your cash to see if you can get discounts. Same gift, less cash – that’s not penny pinching, it’s smart spending and we all need to do that these days.

Valentine’s celebration: Don’t go out to a restaurant. Stay at home and cook a meal, then go out later in the week – the prices will be slashed, the food will be better and you won’t have to listen to that 100 Romantic Hits CD the restaurants bring out every year. Cook your favourite meal at home, light candles, get dressed up, then later settle down with a romantic film. A massage, a bubble bath – the night is your oyster. You can’t do any of that at the local bistro. And if you really do want to go out, what about lunch instead? Taking a long lunch and going for a bite to eat in the afternoon will feel naughtier – and be far cheaper too.

Skint girls know that creativity and originality matter way more than surplus cash when it comes to sharing the love at Valentines Day. And with a few thrifty tips under your belt you can afford to spread the love just a little bit further. Now, don’t do anything Skint wouldn’t do!

S.W.A.L.K. xxx  

PS: Skint’s been giving more Valentines Day cost-cutting tips on STV’s The Hour show. Catch it here

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