Valentine’s Day isn’t a universally popular holiday; for every person who sees it as an opportunity to romance their beloved, there’s another who dismisses it as a cynical excuse for money-grabbing retailers to extort cash from consumers.
However, even those of us who don’t see the need for cards, flowers and chocolates on 14 February may find ourselves expected to show we care – so here are some Valentine’s Day gift ideas that will help you impress your other half without breaking the bank.
1. Reasonably-priced roses
Red roses are arguably a Valentine’s Day cliché – but every year millions are bought and sent to grateful lovers.
If your other half is a fan of these flowers, make sure you shop around for a good-value bunch. Some florists will charge as much as £20 for delivery of a single stem, while the prettiest bouquets from many retailers might set you back £100 or more.
Marks & Spencer’s bouquet of 12 Fairtrade red roses is available again this year at £19.99 delivered. This no-frills, but nonetheless attractive deal is well worth considering if you’re keen to send your partner roses this Valentine’s Day.
Alternatively, why not simply send your loved-one a bunch of favourite blossoms? Not everyone adores roses, and florists will hike up their price at this time of year – meaning a different bouquet could prove far better value for money.
Seasonal flowers are also likely to be cheaper than exotic, out-of-season blooms. Consider hyacinths, irises or freesias.
2. Frugal Valentine’s Day food
The internet is awash with money-saving vouchers for high street restaurants, which are excellent for day-to-day dining – but you might want to consider steering clear of taking your other half for a 2 for 1 pizza if you have romance on your mind.
That said, wining and dining your beloved doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune. Booking a meal through a website such as 5pm.co.uk or TopTable.com could see you get up to 50% off food at top eateries in UK cities. You can read more about how to save money on restaurant dining in the Which? Ways to save on eating out guide.
And why not think about staying in to eat? An intimate candle-lit supper for two doesn’t have to take place in a restaurant in order to feel special.
Marks & Spencer will be offering a Valentine’s Day version of its ‘two dine in for £10’ meal from this Thursday. It’s £20, so twice the usual price – but you’ll get sparkling or rose wine as well as a broader-than-usual choice of dishes.
However, there’s no reason why you couldn’t cook a meal for your other half yourself – it’s perhaps the ultimate romantic gesture from a busy, time-pressed partner. A selection of Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute meal recipes are available for free online (although, according to fans’ reports, they may take longer than 30 minutes to prepare!)
3. Cheap chocolates
Sharing a box of chocolates is one Valentine’s Day tradition that should soften the heart of even the most committed sceptic – but if you don’t hunt down a good deal on the sweet stuff, you could end up seriously out of pocket.
Luckily, there are deals to suit every budget available right now. Thorntons is currently offering boxes of 13 chocolate hearts for £4.99, with continental chocolate available from £10.99 and a selection of champagne truffles on offer at £15.
Hotel Chocolat’s Valentine’s Day gifts range from £4.25 to £50.00 in price, and you’re bound to find offers on chocolates in local grocers’ and supermarkets, too.
However, you could save money – and win some brownie points from your partner – by making your own chocolates.
Waitrose.com provides a simple chocolate truffle recipe that you could adapt by adding flavourings such as mint, rum or orange – and you should be able to make up to 65 truffles for around £5.
4. Last-minute deals for lovers
If you’re yet to organise anything for Valentine’s Day but are keen to make an impression, find out what last-minute theatre, spa, hotel and experience deals are available.
Websites such as Lastminute.com, LateRooms.com and CompareTheatreTickets.com could help you save money.
Act sooner rather than later, though, if you’re looking to cut costs – or consider postponing your loved-one’s main Valentine’s Day treat until a week or two after the big day.
5. Pay less for perfume
Finally, if all else fails, buying your beloved a bottle of his or her favourite fragrance should help you stay popular this Valentine’s Day.
Buying from a big department store is unlikely to be the cheapest option – so get organised and get online in enough time to purchase your chosen perfume via the internet, which is likely to help you cut costs.
Check out sites such as CheapSmells.com, FragranceDirect.co.uk and StrawberryNET.com, which help you save money on big-name fragrances. It’s also well worth using a shopping comparison site such as PriceRunner.com to check the cost of your perfume before buying.
For more money-saving ideas on everything from food shopping to buying new clothes, visit the Bills & budgeting section of our website.
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