Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Frugal Valentine

Valentine's Day

By Tiernan Cannon

Even in the face of any potential objections to the holiday, for the sake of your relationship you will likely engage in Valentine’s Day next week. You will be expected to express your love for your significant other with cards and gifts, but it needn’t be a financially crippling burden. There are ways to keep the love of your life happy and feeling loved without having to break the bank.

Craft your gifts

The most obvious saving to be made on Valentine’s Day is the card. Greeting cards can be shockingly expensive, so just get some high quality, coloured paper, a few colourful markers, toss on a bit of glitter for some good luck, and voilá! Now you have a wonderful (albeit, certainly kitsch), inexpensive greeting card.

Keep this DIY mentality going and design and craft your own traditional Valentine’s Day gifts. For example, you could purchase some seeds, place them in a hand-decorated jar and give them to your significant other. This gift may have a more lasting effect than you’d initially expect, because if a plant eventually grows from the seeds, it will serve as a constant reminder of your thoughtfulness and love. All for the price of a few seeds.

Or you could opt for a date night jar. It’s a simple gift to prepare – all you need is a mason jar (try IKEA), coloured card, ribbon and a marker. Cut the paper into strips, and on each one write the name of a place or activity that you can try as a couple. Tie the ribbon around the neck for decoration and you’re done. Your other half will surely appreciate the effort, and you won’t be stuck for ideas for your next outing!

Homemade coupons

Have some of that coloured paper and glitter left over from the greeting cards and date night jar? Wonderful! You now also have the means of creating some homemade coupons to give to your spouse. Homemade gifts almost always hold more sentiment behind them, and if you figure out what services you can provide that they’d truly appreciate, you can score some extra brownie points. For example, if you normally split your household chores between you, create a coupon that they can cash in which relieves them of their chore for a night or two. If your spouse normally cooks, make a coupon for a free meal. If they cut the lawn, produce a coupon for a few hours worth of gardening. It doesn’t have to all revolve around chores of course, so get creative with it.

Create a ‘heart-trail’

If you have in your possession a piece of cardboard, some flour, a pair of scissors and a patch of grass outside your house, then you have the perfect means of appearing to be one of the most romantic humans ever to have lived – and for virtually nothing.

Draw a heart shape on the cardboard, cut it out with the scissors (keep the big bit), then take to your garden and use it as a stencil – pouring the flour through the heart shape, leaving a trail of white hearts on the grass below. Have the hearts lead your partner to a gift at the bottom of the garden – or simply to you. If they don’t swoon at the sheer romance of this gesture, then they are made of stone and there’s nothing more you can do.

When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.