Fall in love… but do it on a budget!

valentineJulian Berkely from Christians Against Poverty advises on how to budget for true love.

IT’S time for the card shops to swindle us once again as it becomes necessary to display our relational affection for our loved ones through red and heart-shaped confectionery.
But don’t let my cynicism dampen your loving spirits; because although Valentines can seem like a waste of time and money, it’s actually a great opportunity to show that special person that even though you’re grumpy when you’re tired, you don’t like holding hands in public, or you can’t stand their taste in music, you think they’re absolutely wonderful.
The problem is, in the face of wild commercialism, how do we show that person how much we care without our wallets breaking out in a sweat? CAP has come up with six ideas for ‘I love you’ on a budget.
Do something: Rather than buying gifts, you could display your feelings in a different love language. Think about what Acts of Service your partner would most appreciate. You could make a nice breakfast; clean the bathroom; give them a massage – the list is endless!
Burning Love: There’s no doubt about it: flames are sexy. So turn the heating off and get that fire going – even if it’s just a couple of candles. A snuggly film, a dance to your favourite song or strawberries by the fireside will work wonders.
Cut it out: Everyone always suggests making cards, but if you’re not creative that seems daunting. Instead, try this: buy one piece of card and cut it into various sizes of rectangle, some tiny, some large, and construct a lovely message with one word in each.
If you’re arty, you can decorate each one with a drawing or painting – but if not, attach a printed photo (or a piece of a photo…) to each mini-card. Your partner will enjoy piecing the message together and it will make more of a ‘gift’ out of what would just have been a card.
Give something meaningful: If you know there’s nothing that either of you really needs, why not make a donation to your partner’s favourite charity?
Try something new: It’s very easy to slip into a routine and stop making an effort. You could spend Valentine’s Day swapping hobbies: ask your partner to teach you something that they’re into and then do the same in return. Even if you both end up hating the other’s activity, you’ll hopefully have fun in the process!
Have a little meal: Dining out on Valentine’s Day is extortionate. So stay in and both make a meal together – how about 10 mini courses, alternating between you?