8 ways to cut costs this Valentine's

Published:
08 February 2013
Topic:
Shopping,Food and Drink

Love is in the air, and this Thursday marks what has traditionally come to be known as the most romantic day of the year.

But, unfortunately, Valentine's Day has also become an opportunity for retailers to cash in on romance. Inflated prices on gifts and overpriced restaurants might make you feel that you simply can't afford to celebrate.

However, there are a number of ways you can make Valentine's Day special without breaking the bank. Here's our top eight...

1. Do something they won't expect

Surprise your Valentine with an unusual day out. Research what's on offer in your local area and you'll soon be feeling inspired.

For example, for a cost of just £5 per person, Liverpool Cathedral is offering couples the opportunity to enjoy romantic twilight views of the city from its famous 300-foot tower on Valentine's night. Champagne and chocolates will be available on the night.

For romantics living in Newcastle, why not take your Valentine to the outdoor skating rink at the Life Science Centre? It costs just £7.95 each and is open until 8pm. And for those spending the day in Manchester, how about heading to the Valentine's Market at Piccadilly Gardens?

These events just skim the surface of what's on - so plan ahead and find out what you can surprise your other half with.

2. Loving arts and crafts

It sounds like a cliché but often it's the gifts that don't cost anything that are the most effective. After all, your time, thought and effort means a lot more than two minutes spent on the phone to make a restaurant reservation.

So use your creative genius and come up with something that you can make. It could be as simple as a book of personalised vouchers which entitle the 'holder' to various treats, such as breakfast in bed, a night at the cinema to see a film of their choice or a nag-free day of sport!

If you've been with your partner for a while, try making a keepsake scrapbook filled with photos, tickets and postcards of places you have been.

Remember mix-tapes you used to make when you were a teenager? Put together a playlist of their favourite songs and music that holds memories for you both.

3. Use money-off vouchers

You may wonder whether it's acceptable to use money-off vouchers on Valentine's Day, but in these cash-strapped times it's not to be sniffed at. You'll be able to enjoy a day out or buy a gift for a fraction of the price.

MoneySupermarket's vouchers and deals channel has a whole page of exclusive Valentine's Day offers. To name just a few you could get 22% off at buyagift or 2-for-1 on pampering experiences and spa days.  

You can also get 25% off Valentines gifts at Past Times.

If you are looking to treat your loved one to a meal out you could get two courses at Ask Italian for £12.95 or three courses and a glass of prosecco for £17.95.

Auberge is offering two for one on main courses. 

If you have a sweet-toothed Valentine you could print off a voucher for the Chocolate Trading Co which entitles you to Valentine's Day gifts from £2.99.

4. Impress with your culinary wizardry

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach... and it's often the way to a woman's too! So don your chef's hat and cook your Valentine their favourite meal.

You can even turn your kitchen or dining room into a romantic restaurant with candles, music and a bottle of champers to toast the occasion. If you're not sure where to start take a look at the numerous online recipes designed for the day.

5. Take a romantic trip to the capital

If you'd like to spend Valentine's Day in London but are worried about the cost, you may be surprised about the number of low-cost themed events going on.

Head to the Museum of London to enjoy a roaring 20s Valentine's-themed evening. Dress up in style and, for just £7, you'll be able to learn to dance the Charleston, make Valentine's Day cards and 20s-inspired accessories - certainly a unique way to celebrate.

Alternatively, £12 will buy you a ticket to a Venetian-style Valentine's tea dance held at East Wintergarden on Bank Street. Sup on tea, cakes and a glass of fizz while you sit back and watch the Ragroof Theatre dancers waltz, tango and cha-cha to music by the Berkeley Square Society Band. And if you're feeling inspired you'll even be able to take to the dance-floor with your partner.

If you fancy something a bit more relaxing, how about Keats House on Sunday, February 17 for a Valentine's poetry reading. Tickets are free and the afternoon kicks off at 3pm.

6. Enjoy the Great Outdoors

For a completely free day out, how about donning your wellies and enjoying a romantic walk with your Valentine? If you're stuck for inspiration on where to go, visit walks around Britain's website  or visitwoods.org.

Weather dependent, you could even pack a picnic full of treats or take your other half for a cosy pub lunch.

7. Whisk your Valentine away on a last minute break

What could be more romantic than your other half arriving home from work only to find their suitcase packed and a trip away awaiting them?

On MoneySupermarket's deals and vouchers channel you can get £40 off a pair of return Monarch flights to selected romantic destinations.

Or if you're looking for a last minute deal on a romantic city break, take a look at TravelSupermarket for a variety of last minute get- aways. 

8. Walk hand-in-hand around an exhibition

Up and down the UK there are numerous events and exhibitions on throughout February which will allow you to experience something new and interesting together.

For example, wildlife enthusiasts could head to the Natural History Museum in London where, for a cost of £10, you can see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

Chocoholics could visit Bristol's M Shed Museum's 'Chocolate' exhibition for even less at £5 each. The museum promises you'll learn all about the 'history, mystery, magic and science' of chocolate.

Or how about visiting the Planetarium in the Great North Museum in Newcastle? You'll learn all about the wonders of the night sky and, throughout the week, there are various shows and screenings that cost between £1 and £2.95. For example 'Seasonal Stargazing' where you can learn how to spot stars and constellations of the night sky.

So - you really don't need to take out a loan or re-mortgage your house to impress your other half on Valentine's Day. It can be done on a budget with just a little imagination, planning and organisation.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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