My driving instructor once told me I liked to live a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade income and I couldn't agree more. I tend to buy my clothes off eBay, I use the excellent free printable site The Dating Divas for fun, sentimental and inexpensive dating ideas and I absolutely love to compare shopping prices from different supermarkets. With Valentine's Day fast approaching here are my top 14 budget-friendly date and gift ideas that will leave both your partner and your bank account happy.
1. Saturday night at the movies
I'm a huge fan of the cinema but as many students know unless there's a deal on it can become quite an expensive pastime. However, I recently discovered that The Vue has slashed their cinema prices making it possible to enjoy a great film for a low price in a luxury setting. If you're feeling saucy you could see the highly anticipated Fifty Shades of Grey or perhaps the eclectic Inherent Vice.
2. Relax and Unwind
Groupon has some fantastic offers which are updated daily and recently many salons are offering huge discounts on their massage or pamper services.
3. No-one can light up the night like you do
Doesn't a home-cooked meal over candlelight sound like a great idea? Use a fool proof recipe such as Laura Vitale's Pasta Bolognese which is delicious and low cost, purchase a tablecloth from your local pound store, and choose a sensual candle such as this one from Bomb Cosmetics.
4. My love don't cost a thing
As you know I'm a HUGE fan of The Dating Divas who offer free date night ideas and printable gifts. With the current cold climate why not plan a fun and romantic Valentine's night in? They've created 12 great day date ideas from a love hunt to sizzling truth or dare. There's something for every couple!
5. Love me tender
My boyfriend and I are huge fans of high-carb and low-cost takeaways such as McDonald's. While you may want to be a little classier on Valentine's Day you could always push the boat out and spend less than £20 per person on a starter, a delicious pulled pork main, a dessert and a drink at Harvester.
6. Life in the fast lane
Fancy something different, memorable and low cost? Virgin Experience Days are offering a Greyhound Racing Trackside Package for two adults for just £10! This includes entrance, a free drink and a burger!
7. Can't take my eyes off you
This is something I've never done before but I've heard so much positive feedback from friends and family. Treat your partner to a 30 minute rotation on the London Eye which also includes entrance into the 4D cinema.
Now you've planned the day, or evening, or both it's time to focus on the gift. I personally much prefer cards to gifts but here are my top 7 gift ideas.
8. 7 days... I mean 12
Fancy spoiling your partner with 12 whole days of thoughtful, low cost and great gifts? From lingerie to home-made coupons this gift idea has something for everyone!
9. You are the music in me
Yes, I just quotes some lyrics from High School Music, sorry! Anyway, Not on the High Street are offering a personalised favourite song soundwaves print which is guaranteed to arrive before the big day!
10. Save the last dance for me
Studies have shown that couples are participate in at least one hobby or activity together have a stronger and healthier relationship. Why not dust off your dancing shoes and treat your other half to a dance lesson... or two? If the idea of dancing in front of strangers isn't for you; you could always play your song and start "dancing in the kitchen in the refrigerator light".
11. Picture perfect memories
Yesterday I went into Home Bargains and found the most wonderful red LOVE photo frame for just 99p! Similarly, Poundland are selling a "Every love story is beautiful but ours is my favourite" photoframe for... £1! All you have to do is select your favourite photo as a couple, pay 40p to have it printed and then frame it! A sentimental and low cost gift that your other half will treasure.
12. Written in the stars
Or a card. As I explained at the beginning of this post I much prefer receiving gifts. Just the idea of someone sitting down, thinking what to write, and actually putting pen to paper makes my heart happy. If you're like me, or at least your partner is, Paperchase offer the most wonderful, funny and non-corny Valentine's Card and you can get 10% off with your student card!
13. A heart full of love
Clean an old jam jar or purchase a mason jar (your local bargain store or supermarket should sell them) and write all the reasons why you love your partner on small pieces of paper. Add a gift tag and you've created what will be a cherished gift. Remember, it truly is the thought that counts.
14. Sweet like chocolate
I, like most people, am a huge fan of chocolate. It's affordable, delicious and can last if you have the self-control to savour them! Hotel Chocolat have a great selection of Valentine's Day gifts and if you're on O2 you can get 10% off!
So, there you have it, my 14 budget-friendly Valentine's date ideas and gifts. I'd love to hear your thoughts and tips and I hope your day is filled with lots of love whether it's romantic love, self-love or love from friends and family!