How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day on a Budget

February 14th is often thought of as the most romantic day of the year.

Despite the cost-of-living crisis, it was estimated that we spent approximately £1.37 billion on Valentine’s Day in the UK in 2022. This works out at an estimated average spend of around £22 per person.

The good news is that you really don’t need to splash out on fancy restaurants or lavish presents to treat your partner.

There are plenty of ways to embrace the day together without leaving you or your loved one out of pocket.

Dan Whittaker, personal finance expert at Viva Money, shares some cost-effective present and date ideas – a match made in heaven for wallets everywhere this Valentine’s Day!

Low-cost gift ideas

1. I Owe You

“Make your partner a collection of thoughtful ‘I owe you’ tokens, which they can redeem as and when they choose. You could promise your partner things like a massage, free rein of the remote control all night, or a night out with friends while you take on the babysitting duties.”

2. Baked with love

“Why not have a go at baking your partner’s favourite sweet or savoury treat? Not a confident cook? Don’t worry – there are heaps of easy-to-follow recipes online, from cookies and cupcakes to pastries and sausage rolls. The fact you have put so much time and effort into creating the perfect bake for your partner will mean so much more than if you simply bought them from a shop instead.”

3. Picture this

“Anything personalised with a favourite picture of you both is sure to make your partner’s day. Now’s the time to sift through the hundreds of photos on your phone and make use of your treasured memories together. Something as simple as a special photo, printed out and framed, will make them smile. The FreePrints app allows you to order up to 45 free photos per month – you just pay for delivery, which is never more than £3.99.”

4. A year of date nights

“For a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year, write down a variety of date night ideas on strips of pretty paper. You could aim for 12 ideas to get you started: one for each month of the year. Fold them in half and add to an empty jar. Pour in some heart-shaped glitter and tie the lid with a ribbon.”

5. A scrapbook for your sweetheart

“Buy a plain notepad or scrapbook and fill it with your memories, in-jokes, and the reasons why you love your partner. Looking back over the time you’ve shared together and reminiscing can remind you of why you fell in love in love in the first place. Studies have suggested that couples who experienced nostalgia felt more committed to one another and reported feeling greater satisfaction in their relationship.”

Low-cost date night ideas

1. Home is where the heart is

“Treat your partner to a romantic home set-up and have it ready and waiting for when they get in from work. We’re thinking candles, fairy lights, and cosy throws. When it comes to cooking, it doesn’t need to be fancy to be appreciated. Rustling up your partner’s favourite food – whether that’s pizza, a jacket potato, or beans on toast – will go down far better than forking out on an overpriced, three course meal.”

2. Breakfast in bed

“Breakfast in bed is seen as a lovely luxury to many. If you and your partner are working on Valentine’s Day, save it for the weekend when you can both totally relax. Not sure what to serve? For a classy, continental feel, you could plate up some croissants and pastries which can be bought cheaply from most supermarket bakery counters.”

3. Happy hiking

“Bundle up, grab your warm flasks, and head out to the country for a good old hike. Find yourself an Instagrammable spot along the way and enjoy a romantic picnic. Taking on a new adventure in the great outdoors will allow you to create memories together without breaking the bank. Being out in nature is also good for both our mental and physical wellbeing, too. What’s not to love?”

4. Game on

“Monopoly? Top Trumps? Cards Against Humanity? Who doesn’t love a games night?!

Approach this one with caution if you’re a competitive couple, or the evening may well take a turn!”

5. First dates

“Indulge in a bit of nostalgia by recreating your first date, but at home. Did your first date begin with pasta at a restaurant and end with a movie at the cinema? Why not whip up a similar dish and rewatch the film you went to see?

Perhaps you met at a gig – why not make a special playlist cram-packed with songs that remind you of that night?”.

Brenda Kimble

Brenda Kimble is an entrepreneur and mother of 2 daughters and a son, plus their beagle named Duke! She loves blogging, crafting, and spending time with her family.