Ah Valentine’s Day. For the cynical, it’s another holiday aimed at parting us with our hard-earned cash in exchange for:overpriced gifts that clutter our homes, uncomfortable lace delicates never to be worn again and overcrowded and expensive fine dining experiences.

And so soon after Christmas when many of us are already recovering from seasonal overspending too!

For the less cynical, well… it’s still kind of all of those things too. But it’s also somewhat significant to us. Call us non-cynical types hopeless romantics, but we’d still like to do something for Valentine’s Day!

My partner and I will be celebrating it, but we’ll be keeping it fairly low key. If you’re also looking to celebrate Valentines Day without breaking the bank, read on for three tips not to set your credit card on fire.

1. Cook at home

I have nothing against a romantic meal out at a nice restaurant every now and then. I love a good meal out! But do you really want to have to make a booking weeks in advance for a busy, overcrowded restaurant on one of the most hectic nights of the year in the food service industry? The package course Valentine’s Day meals available are often over priced. It’s highly likely that your server will try to rush you through your dinner as quick as possible to get your table back. And you’ll be enjoying the ambiance with a whole bunch of other couples doing the exact. same. thing. Romantic? Sure. Sensible? Maybe not.

I’m sure somewhere in your home you have candles. Light them, put on some music and serve a “treat” meal, for you and your spouse. You know, the kind of meal you wouldn’t normally cook every week because it’s a bit calorific, or the ingredients are expensive, or it’s quite rich. Our go to treat meal at the moment is Chorizo, Chilli and Prawn Pasta. (We buy extra prawns for it to make it a real treat!) A delicious home cooked meal, candles, a nice bottle of wine, some music.. much more romantic than spending your evening in a busy restaurant! (And cheaper too.)

2. Designate a different night “Valentines Day”

If you have to go out (or your partner feels they have to go out), try discussing with them the idea of choosing a different night that week as your own personal “Valentines Day”. My family often does this for Mother’s Day. It means we have our choice of restaurants, no crowds and no overpriced set menus specific to that day of the year.

3. Declare it gift free

See if your partner is open to making Valentines Day “gift free”. You both agree not to exchange gifts, but to just enjoy spending time together instead. I’m not sure I want a whole box of chocolates so soon after devouring so much Christmas pudding anyway…

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