How to Survive Valentine’s Day When You’re, Well, Poor

I don’t want your money, Honey

What with birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, weddings and anniversaries, let’s face it: half your life is spent purchasing presents. Buying gifts for Valentine’s Day… now that is a special kind of stressful. Don’t make the mistake of trying to show as much love as possible by spending as much money as possible – that’s not how it works. The average V-Day celebration generally costs upwards of R800, and ain’t nobody got dimes for that.

If you’re not rolling in the fiddies and hunnets, follow these tips from FNB’s Head of Consumer Education, Eunice Sibiya, to keep your V-Day celebration as low-cost as possible while still making it special.


1. Sweets for Your Sweet

Heart-shaped boxes full of expensive truffles and chocolate dusted with gold leaf are basically displayed on every shelf of every store, probably at a 1021% mark-up. They’re clichés, and they’re expensive. Instead of chocolates, Sibiya suggests filling a glass jar with all your partner’s favourite sweets. Think sour worms, jellybeans, liquorice – whatever you know your partner loves! It’s sweet, it’s colourful and it’s sickeningly thoughtful. Oh, and cheap. Did we mention cheap?

2. Write from the Heart

It’s soooo tempting to go storming into a shop and picking out the biggest card with the brightest colours and the most soppy message. Oh, and does it sing? We love it when it sings. Perhaps rethink that, and go for something less garish and over the top. There is nothing in the world more romantic than a handwritten note on a piece of pretty paper. Write a heartfelt message, spray it with some of your signature scent and watch your partner melt on the spot. So much sweeter than an ‘ily’ text.

RELATED: Valentine’s Day YumFest: Mozzarella-stuffed Meatballs

 3. Kiss the Cook (Or Caterer)

Restaurants are packed on Valentine’s Day. Do you really want to sit cramped between 10 000 other couples all trying to prove that their love is strongest? Probably not. Instead of paying a fortune at some ritzy establishment for a steak that isn’t even cooked to your taste, Sibiya suggests preparing a home-cooked meal of your partner’s favourite foods. Not a fan of the kitchen? Buy some cheese, crackers, cupcakes and champagne and drive out to a botanical garden for a picnic. Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year, so you’ll have the whole day to do whatever you want!

RELATED: Valentine’s Day: Single vs Coupled Up

4. Long Distance Lovin’

If you’re in a long distance relationship, there’s even more pressure on Valentine’s Day. No, you don’t have to deliver some extravagant gift. Instead, opt for something simple like mailing a handwritten letter (see tip 2)! Seal it with a kiss, and don’t be shy to include a selfie or two. Another cute idea, says Sibiya, is to send a voice note or even some airtime (which should only be spent on talking to you, naturally).

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