Photo: Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak

The month of love also happens to be the month when many of us are still recovering from the festive season splurge. And with at least another two weeks until payday, the timing of Valentine’s Day is not ideal for anyone’s bank account.

“The good news is that there are so many great ways to celebrate that won’t break the bank,” says Susan Steward, marketing manager of Budget Insurance.

Here are her practical tips for a fun, affordable Valentine’s Day:

Romance starts at home

Ditch the restaurant frenzy and opt instead for a meal at home. Dust off those candles, make your loved one’s favourite meal, switch on your favourite song and your night is set. You could enjoy a delicious three-course meal at home for a third of the price of a restaurant and without the hassle of finding parking, dealing with frazzled waiters and putting up with overcrowded restaurants.

Go out for dessert 

Just because you can’t go out for an expensive three or five-course meal, doesn’t mean you can’t go out at all. Have a nice dinner at home and head out to your favourite coffee shop of café for a sweet end to your meal.

Skip the knick-knacks

What will your Valentine do with that oversized, overpriced teddy bear, mug or that giant red heart pillow? These things end up becoming unnecessary clutter anyway, so rather save that money for a good bottle of wine or delicious dessert for your stay-at-home dinner.

Rent a cheesy movie and snuggle up

No dressing up, no paying for parking and no dealing with crowds. Put on the popcorn, get in your PJs and enjoy a romantic flick.

Brekkie in bed

Nothing beats this classic, cost-effective favourite. Add a few new twists like a jar filled with date night ideas for every month until next Valentine’s Day, or a photo album with your favourite moments from the last year –and don’t forget to take a snap of your delicious creation to add to your album.

Get creative with DIY coupons 

Create your own coupons for back massages or foot rubs, redeemable at any time, or for a night off. There are plenty practical things that will help make your partner’s life easier like washing dishes for a week or doing the grocery shopping for a month – the gift of time is invaluable.

Repeat your first date

This is really fun, especially if you have been with your partner for a long time. If you can’t relive it exactly, find a close alternative and revive those butterflies.

Avoid the floral fancy 

A dozen red roses will set you back about R400 while you can get a bouquet of sunflowers for about half that, so avoid the rose cliché and explore the many other floral options on offer.

Give the gift of undivided attention

This one is absolutely free! Did you know that, according to a study conducted by British psychologists, the average young adult spends up to a third of their waking hours on their phones – so by simply putting your smartphone down for a few hours, you’re showing your partner just how much you love them! 

Create a card

Valentine’s cards can be expensive. Using relatively inexpensive materials from a craft shop, you can easily create a personalised card that will no doubt mean a lot more. Click here for a little inspiration.