Each year, as Valentine’s Day arrives, we are met with yet another opportunity to show our significant others how much we care. Whether it’s a partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife or secret crush, it can be overwhelming trying to come up with the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. For some of us, it can be overwhelming just coming up with a Valentine.

The problem with Valentine’s Day is that people can get so caught up in the hype, that they make bad decisions with their money. They spend, spend and spend until the Valentine’s Day bill begins to compete with a wedding budget.

With the importance people attach to the sharing of gifts on this special day, it is important to highlight how you could still reach out to loved ones with a low budget. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to cost the earth; there are many ways to win the heart of the person you love without breaking the bank. Yes, you can keep it simple, less costly and still have a great time. After all, sometimes it is the little things in life that end up creating the best memories.

If you are short on money, check out the listed alternatives to the clichéd norms. So, for the hopeless romantic in all of us, here are our top selections from Cupid’s quiver.

Consider the cinema

It is entirely understandable that people try to go outside the normal daily routine on Valentine’s Day, just to show love to their loved ones in a special way, but for the cost implication, which is usually a constraint. However, one cost-effective way to give a loved one a treat is by going to the cinema. Findings show that seeing a movie at the cinema is largely affordable. People could have a beautiful Valentine’s Day with a low budget without sacrificing the fun they intended. Going to the cinema can be very cheap and nice, and with N5,000, a couple can watch a captivating movie. With the N5,000, let’s say they pay N1,500 per person, they could still buy drinks and popcorn and then have a beautiful evening.

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Go to the beach

It costs about N3,000 to go out to the beach on a banana boat, and you could have a picnic. That is another easy way to have a lovely day out. It costs between N1,000 and N2,000 to enter the premises. For those in Lagos and other states with large water bodies, spending time around nature is a good idea, especially with the cheap gate fee. And for those in places that have no such attractions, visiting a swimming pool with a loved one or loved ones, maybe at a nice hotel, could be an alternative.

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Try the “stay at home” option

Against the usual belief that the best way to have fun on such days is to go out, it has been said that staying indoors can be fun as well, especially with some creativity. A couple, for example, can stay at home for the evening and invite other couples (friends) to bring different dishes to the house. I mean, everybody would bring a dish to a couple’s house, and they all eat together and have fun. Also, couples can just stay at home and play monopoly or other board games. Meanwhile, people can even play table tennis, snooker and other games that could make them bond some more.

Give a gift

This is one of the highlights of Valentine’s Day. It is fair to acknowledge it because expectations are so high about the day. So, share something, even if it is small. Something as small as a scented candle is fine; there are lovely candles that are delightful and not too expensive, say about N2,500. One could get a pretty blouse for N5,000 or less. You could also consider flowers, gift books and clothes, like locally-made African prints, etc.

  • Instead of a store-bought card, write a heartfelt note
    Why let a stranger attempt to tell your loved one how you feel? Save the money, grab a piece of paper and a pen, and spend some time thinking about what makes your sweetie special. Your note doesn’t need to be long, but it should be sincere. Express your love and gratitude in your own handwriting for an easy Valentine’s win.
  • Instead of a box of chocolates, grab a chocolate bar
    Would you rather take a gamble with every bite or enjoy a sure bet from start to finish? A lovely, premium chocolate bar is less expensive and less risky than an over-the-top box of chocolates. Score extra points by pairing your love’s favourite bar with additions like caramel, almonds or hazelnuts.
  • Instead of a dinner reservation, make dinner at home
    You can take half (or less!) of that to the grocery store for all the ingredients you’ll need to whip up an impressive meal. While you’re at it, go ahead and make an experience out of the evening. Get some background music, while you get to work. Better yet, Make the meal together.

Find something free to do

There are quite a number of places you can go where you don’t have to pay to get in. Why not plan a day out together as Valentine’s treat? This doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate. How about finding free art galleries or museums to visit, taking time to go for a long walk, or doing all of the household chores in advance, so that you can spend the weekend watching movies indoors and relaxing?

If you don’t have the money to go out, why not whip up your sweetheart’s favourite meal. Not only will it win you extra points, but it’s made with love and you can dine in style and set the mood by lighting some candles and playing soft music. If the kitchen is a foreign land to you or you are a cooking disaster, you could always order their favourite takeaway before snuggling up on the couch to enjoy a movie you both love.

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The Romantic Meal for Two

If you feel that the romantic meal out for two is an obligatory part of the celebrations, then there are ways to go out without spending a small fortune. You can check out popular sites and restaurants for tons of deals that will be available during this period.


February 15th, 16th or 17th

These days are also the perfect alternatives if you’re looking to save money, spoil your date, and avoid the post-Valentine’s financial regret. On February 15th all Valentine’s Day candy, cards, and all things of the like get steeply discounted as retailers try to move them off their shelves.

If you are really stuck for money, why not celebrate Valentine’s Day the day after on the 15th? You will beat the hustle and bustle in restaurants and presents will be half the price. You really do not need a commercialized day to show you care.

Valentine’s Day is only as expensive as you make it and the quickest way to ruin a perfect date is to overspend and make bad decisions with your money. Remember, the relationship is what’s important not where you eat for dinner.

Not only will you be in tune with the cosmos, but crucially and importantly you will avoid the customary fierce retail price inflation of roses and instead grab them at standard retail price.


Don’t be under pressure: While people are encouraged to show love to others, they are equally advised not to plunge themselves into unnecessary debt in the name of celebration. This is because of the day after Valentine’s Day.

Beyond the gifts – final words

When it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts, it really is the thought that counts – not just that you thought of getting something, but that you really put some thought into what you chose. The best Valentine’s gift isn’t the most expensive one, but the one that does the best job of showing how you feel about your loved one. So instead of settling for a greeting card that expresses some generic idea about love, take the time to express your specific feelings for one specific person. Throwing money around is easy, but showing how much you truly care is priceless.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a romantic evening. It only needs to be special for both you and your significant other.

REMEMBER: Don’t break hearts or the bank this Thursday!


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