Lovely veggie Nut balls in a tomato sauce
Pancakes and not quite 101 ideas, sweet and savoury to fill them

It’s Valentine’s Day on Wednesday and February 14th is the day florists make the most profit, closely followed by Mother’s Day. This is partly because 12 red roses, the classic Valentine’s Day gift, will set you back a huge amount of money, and as a gardener myself, I can tell you those roses will not be the beautifully fragrant kind either, they come along much later in the year, in the summer. Forced or imported roses invariably don’t smell of anything very much.

Other classic gifts include chocolates, underwear and perfume. All potentially ruinous. So, what else can we do to have a lovely romantic time without bankrupting the family finances.

Gifts that cost no cash at all

love letterStarting with ideas that won’t cost any cash AT ALL, how about writing a love letter to your best beloved. When we were broke once, I asked Mike to do just that for Christmas. He sweated blood over it, it didn’t come at all naturally, and it was very short. But it meant a great deal to me and I still have it tucked away and take it out every now and again. You could put in it all kinds of lovely things – what first attracted you to him/her, how special they are to you, what you like about them (here is a free tip, when a woman asks you what you like about her, she doesn’t usually mean anything about her body or anything else sexual, unless she is being flirtatious, in which case she might! We are talking your wicked sense of humour/great map reading/spectacular tango here rather than… well I think you get the picture)

heart 3You could go on about the especially good time you had at that festival/ holiday/ party/ long walk in the country when it was their company that made it special. Talk about your feelings, it will probably be easier writing it down instead of saying it out loud, you can sit and blush while they read it, and trust me on this, a blush in this circumstance will be very endearing.

Have a little Google, there are lots of places that will help you write it, here’s one of them. They also have ideas for stationery and fonts on there to present your missive beautifully. Maybe get a single sheet of red paper from a business stationer and cut out some hearts to put in there. I have loaded a page with soft pink hearts for you to write on if you like. Valentines Stationery. If you can’t manage a love letter, how about a long list with everything that you can think of that you like, love or appreciate about them, put in EVERYTHING

heart 1Taking this idea further, you could create a scrap book for you as a couple. Put in love notes, existing or new ones, photos of yourselves together, ticket stubs from places you had a good time, a photo of the cinema where you watched your first film, anything that is meaningful to you as a couple. You could make this as a lovely task together on Valentines Day to reinforce to each other why you are together, or present it already done.

 

If there is any particular music that s/he likes? Or maybe some tunes that are special to you both? See if you can collect them together and make a CD with them all on, and maybe make a CD cover using pictures or photos of you both or some other meaningful image. Play the CD while you do something nice together… steady on now!

A special gift

And as a special gift? Love coupons are a well known way of giving without spending cash. You could promise to do all sorts of things that can be redeemed when they want it. Does she simply hate cleaning the bathroom, but always gets to do it? Write a voucher promising to clean the bathroom every Saturday for 4 months. Does he find cleaning the car, checking the oil and water and taking it for servicing endlessly tedious?  Work out something similar (sorry about the sterotypes by the way, they just popped out)

love couponOr you could write a coupon for a back or foot massage, a bubble bath together, watching his/her favourite film, whatever would be special. More ideas here. There is a site where someone has worked up a whole load of coupons for just this occasion and made a printable booklet. I would load them here, but she asks that it is for personal use only, so here is the link, and here are some more.

Or you could write out your coupons and put them in a jar, decorate it up if you can. Your best beloved gets to draw them out and redeem one whenever they like. Make lots!

See if you can find a sturdy twiggy branch, spray it with white or silver, or nothing if you would have to buy it. Put it in a vase or bottle and write little heart shaped notes of affection and tie them on with ribbon, maybe ask your partner to do the same too

February 14th falls on a Wednesday this year. Would it be possible for you both to take the day off and spend some quality time together? You DON’T need to spend money to have quality time. If you have children, try and get them an overnight stay at Granny’s or a friends, so you can concentrate on each other. If you can’t manage that, if they are school age, spend the school day with each other. Tell them this is a special grown ups time, and you will have special time with them another day.

During this carved out time, be attentive, talk to each other, listen, listen, listen. Talk about hopes and dreams, maybe make some plans. Say I Love You a lot, say it like you really mean it

Twelve days of Valentine

I saw this idea and really loved it, I think I would prefer to do all of them on the one day, it would feel a bit weird still doing Valentines 11 days later. In the spirit of Thrifty Lesley mind, make sure they are thrifty things.
Celebrate 12 Days of Valentine’s:
We have 12 days of Christmas, so why not 12 days of Valentine’s? Starting on Valentine’s Day, give your sweetheart 1 small gift.  On day 2, surprise them with 2 small items. For example: 2 coupons, 3 love songs, 4 heart-shaped cookies, 5 love poems, 6 car fresheners, 7 balloons, “I Love You” in 8 languages, 9 message heart candies, 10 reasons why you love them, 11 Hershey kisses, 12 cupcakes. You get the idea.

Here are some ideas for 12 Days of Valentines, and here, here, and here.

Have a picnic. If it’s a nice day, pack a picnic lunch, use a red tablecloth if you can find one in the house, add some candles, a bottle of something nice to drink and go off to the park, or drive somewhere pretty and eat it in the car. Pack some soup in a flask, some nice bread and some brownies or something, we’re not talking Fortnum and Masons. Then crunch along the beach and get some colour in your cheeks, run along the cliff top, race round the lake, wherever you are, enjoy the company of your partner of choice.

I hope I have given you some ideas on how to show your love and affection without spending any money. If you are new to living on a tight budget, please try to bear in mind that it really is the thought that counts in situations like these. You really really really DO NOT HAVE TO SPEND ANY MONEY AT ALL. Please do not get sucked into that idea that it doesn’t count unless you have bought an expensive gift and splashed out on an expensive Valentines meal out

And for eats?

Now, eats. I’ve done a couple of Valentines menus, here and here .

I haven’t updated the prices for this year, so they won’t be quite the same, but still very cheap and a lot cheaper than the meal deals that all the supermarkets do at this time.

 

 

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Lovely veggie Nut balls in a tomato sauce
Pancakes and not quite 101 ideas, sweet and savoury to fill them
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