Don't pay the earth this Valentine's Day. Make it move.

1 Feb 2018

Think a budget-friendly Valentine’s Day can’t be romantic? Think again.
Here’s everything you need to break hearts without breaking the bank.
That’s OK, you can thank me later.

Love is the only gift you need… Right?

Of course it isn’t! No matter how much you love or loath the occasion, Valentine’s Day isn’t just an opportunity to show the person you love (or really really like) just how much you care about them – it’s also a deadly trap for being out-gifted and left in total sweaty-palmed embarrassment. You do not want to be the one to not reciprocate a card or gift from your loved one on Valentine’s Day, no sir.

But what to do when your budget is unbudgeable? Avoid that hot-faced feeling with our top tips for thoughtful but affordable cards and gifts.

1) Do it yourself

Nothing says “I love you” like “I’ve spent 57 minutes of my precious time meticulously crafting this child-like piece of art to tell you so”. A homemade card or gift is thoughtful, personal and incredibly endearing – and that’s the whole aim of the game (as well as saving money).

For an example, we really like these clever homemade card ideas that practically make themselves.

See – it just takes a little imagination, and that don’t cost a thing.

Just like these ideas for gifts:

– Burn a CD of all ‘your’ songs for just the right amount of cliché
♥ – Scribble out some ‘vouchers’ for back massages, breakfasts in bed, foot rubs if you fancy – and pop ‘em in a jar
♥ – Frame your fave picture of the two of you

Or if you're feeling crafty...

♥ – Make your own jigsaw using a photo of your smiling, loving faces
♥ – Stick a bunch of memories in a scrapbook to remind her or him how *AMAZING* you are
♥ – Paint their portrait (make it flattering!)
♥ – Bake their favourite sweet treats

2) Do it different

If you think outside the (chocolate) box, there are a hundred different ways of telling somebody you love them without paying £3 for the privilege. Instead of sending a V-Day card, why not try something a bit different? Any of these alternatives will show you've spent a lot of time and effort – but won't cost you a penny:

♥ – Write a letter to your better half thanking them for all they do for you
♥ – Hide lots of lovely notes around the house and make a treasure hunt out of it
♥ – Use some chalk to declare your love on the pavement outside, or on their route to work
♥ – Write a heart-felt message on the back of your favourite photo of the two of you
♥ – Text them one reason you love them, every hour throughout the day, until you see each other (...too much?)

3) Or do it cheap

If crafting’s not for you and you find all this soppy stuff a bit too yuck, buying a card might be a simpler option – but it doesn’t have to be expensive. If all else fails, avoid the big-brand card shops, supermarkets and department stores and instead opt for a budget card store or, better still, invest in a box of cards that can be used throughout the year for birthdays and other occasions – they’ll never know!

It’ll be alright on the date night

There are those among us who don’t buy into buying cards and gifts for Valentine’s Day, but will usually try and mark the occasion in one way or another – whether that’s with a nice meal out the following weekend or a trip to the cinema for 50 shades of ‘romance’. But if your purse strings are tight, worry not, for you can still have a lovely old time.

1) Don’t book, cook!

If you have a flair for flambé, now is the time to flaunt it. Rock their world with the single most delicious meal they’ve ever tasted. And if that’s too ambitious, why not make an event of it and cook together? That way you’re only 50% to blame for the outcome. You could even grab a dine-in deal for two from M&S and earn some cashback U Points while you’re at it ;-)

2) …or book right

There is ALWAYS a deal to be had. Do your research into where’s offering 241 on mains or BOGOF on cocktails and get yourself a voucher. Set menus are also a great shout, since you get to feast on two or three courses for far less than they'd cost normally.

And don't forget – there can surely be nothing more romantic than earning 5% cashback on your bill if you pay with your U card. Our Points page will give you the low-down on which 'bella' Italian restaurants are included, where to get cashback on buckets of Belgo-ian muscles (or beer?), and who'll top your pizza with points – express!

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Earn cashback on V Day with U
Points (from U)

3) Make staying in the new going out

Having an absolutely cracking night in will certainly require some effort, but effort is free. Think about what you and your loved one like doing best (that’s possible to do at home), lock your smartphone in a draw, and make it happen.

♥ – Are you film fanatics? Put on your own screening by shoving the sofa in front of the TV and cosying up with blankets and popcorn
♥ – Remember that treasure hunt we talked about? Throw in a handful of hidden chocolates and you've got date night, card AND gift covered – three birds, one Valentine’s genius
♥ – Take a punt at painting each other's portrait – you'll get a good laugh out of it, if nothing else
♥ – Build the pillow fort to end all pillow forts!!!
♥ – Hold a board games tournament... and maybe let your partner win

4) Or go outside for free

There are so many nice things two people can do without spending any money. Weather depending, a long walk in the countryside or your nearest green space, accompanied with a great big flask of hot chocolate, is an ideal way of escaping the rest of the world for some quality time with just the two of you. Or you could try Geocaching, for a real-world adventure together that will help you discover more of your city while you’re at it. (Get the app, it’s free!)

If the weather rains on your parade though, you might opt for a free-to-enter sort of activity. Spend the night at a museum, gallery, live music venue or bookstore, or even share some love with your local community, and that feel-good feeling with your partner, by volunteering together for a cause you're both passionate about.

Written By
Faye G

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