Shoestrings vs Heartstrings: Celebrating Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Attempts to delight and romance your significant other can often be expensive for the humble student. From premium dinners to branded cologne, to the finest roses little expense is spared to those that celebrate the holiday in full swing. So in today’s short post for the couples that are truly less than three (do a web search for it if you don’t get the reference), here’s three short but sweet ideas you could do if you want to save some money for your other 364 days of love following today.

Please note that none of today’s links are sponsored or affiliated and you can of course use your favourite shops, I just chose the ones that usually carry the best value pricing and are accessible all over the UK and in some cases internationally (FYI: Some products from Walmart can now be found in ASDA in the UK and Target also ship internationally too).

Make Yourself a Table for Two

Spending your week’s food shop as a deposit on a table needn’t be the case if you have some spare room in your accommodation. Find an area such as a dining room or a large bedroom to host your restaurant scene. Next you’ll need a table and some seating – you should hopefully at least have one chair in the house you can use! As for tables – if you’re in the bedroom, sadly that dining room table won’t fit through the door. However if you have that spare £10 you would have spent on your dessert in a restaurant something as simple as two LACK end tables from IKEA can be used to create your small banqueting stand. Now, to make this more special you’ll need a tablecloth. These don’t have to be expensive, with ones from Wilko in the UK as low as just £2 or at Target for $1.79 US or for $5.97 CA from Walmart.

Once you’ve purchased these simply screw the 8 legs into the two bases, place together and lay your cloth of choice over the top.

Now for some candles. Whilst going all out with sticks may be a little pricey, an equally romantic effect used by many restaurants can be achieved with beer bottles. Simply purchase 2 candles from the shops above (or your preferred wax burning supplier) ensuring the size will fit to the neck of the bottle (at worst, using a simple kitchen knife, the end can be tapered to suit), then simply light the candle and allow to burn for a short time. If you want a more rugged effect, try lighting 2 candles and gently hold the end to the lip of the bottle where the candle meets it – make sure you hold the candle you’re melting so it doesn’t fall over and never attempt it whilst both are lit!!

For your choice of food you may elect to use your culinary skills if you are capable and if not, look out for valentine specials in your local supermarket. Many come with choices of starters and mains already prepared and a choice of either dessert, wine or both as part of the deal.

For the finishing touch, why not load up your musical device with a nice playlist. It doesn’t have to be romantic tunes if that’s not your style, instrumental music can work just as well if played at a background level.


Sometimes Less is More

Can’t afford the super elaborate day out in the all-glass Victorian botanical conservatory? Not to worry, why not celebrate the way you helped make sparks fly in the first place and go back to a good old first date. A trip to the park, local lake or a nearby beach is always an option for you to get out and just be “us”. If you would like to make a day of it, why not adapt the tip from above and pack up a picnic? You can use the tablecloth if it’s a disposable or opt for the traditional blanket if you have a little bit more money to spare.

Whilst I hope you’ve got a gift sorted out already (and if not, good luck!), simple creativity can often help the doughless romantic. A simple story carefully crafted, a song to serenade or a video or slideshow to surprise your partner with always makes a cost-effective yet truly personal and valuable gift. If you’re going down this route though, remember don’t make it too grand if time isn’t on your side!

Remember, It’s Only a Day

Unless it’s one of your birthdays or your anniversary – remember that today is only a day popularised by media. It’s not a “significant” date, merely a very popular one used to express love for your family, current or to be. So don’t try and panic like it’s your wedding day to make the day perfect for your significant other – just be what made you the couple you are and treat them with care and respect to celebrate and remember your relationship, just like you should every day. At the end of the day, make it less about what it is and more about the two of you.


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