How to be romantic on a budget
Want to do something romantic for someone on Valentine’s Day but don’t have much cash? Here are a few ideas for affordable romantic things and cheap dates that are thoughtful and creative.
Make a mixtape
Making and listening to a mixtape that someone has made especially for you can be amazingly romantic. Listening to new music can be great, even listening to tracks you know in a different order or mixed next to something you don’t know can be exciting. People put together tracks because they think you will like them, or because the songs mean a lot to them, or because the songs say something to them about you both. It takes time and effort and so is an incredibly generous and thoughtful thing to do.
Mixtapes can be really really special and something people treasure for years
Pro-Tip Get started early, it’s something that people agonise over. Have you got a tune that you both know (many couples have ‘a song’)? If there are particular lyrics that you want your Valentine to notice you might want to write them somewhere or make them obvious. Also think about tagging them as an album so that it’s easier to rip and play as an MP3. Maybe create some cover art for it? You could do this with a computer, or just do a drawing and take a picture of it.
Buying a Valentine’s card for someone that thousands of other people have also bought can be romantic I guess (*sceptical face*) but isn’t it better to give someone something that no-one else will get? So make your own!
If you’ve got a computer you could make your own graphic. All the graphics and illustrations on this site are done by me, I’m no illustrator or designer but I just have a go. The more you practise the better you get. I work in Inkscape, which is a totally free open source, legal, program similar to Adobe Illustrator. I love it as it’s so simple. You can draw your own images or paste images that you find online and do something with them (very simple idea – get a picture of Eros and write a message around it). Use fonts creatively (download a cool font at dafont). Use different colours and shapes. The great thing about using a program like this is that you can always hit the back button if it goes wrong. The great thing about graphics is that you can email it or paste it on their facebook wall.
If you’re more of a craft paper and pritt stick person then make your own actual card. Collages rock. Find images that your Valentine is into and cut them up. Cut quotes or headlines out of magazines or newspapers that have some relevance to you or your Valentine. Collage not your thing? Try making a pop up heart card. There are loads of vids on youtube about how to do this.
Or if this sounds a bit much you could buy a crap generic card and and change it up. Print something on top of it, or cut old ones up and use them in a collage.
Roses are red, this poem is crap
Feel more poetic than arty? You could perhaps share your favourite poem with someone. Old school is good, Shakespeare, Yeats etc but they tend to be a bit heavy. Try John Hegley, he’s funny and romantic. You could share it by reading it, or copying it out as a card or recording a daft video of yourself reading it out.
Maybe try writing one yourself? I’d avoid Roses are red/Violets are blue unless you have something particularly brilliant to say. If you’re short on time limit yourself by the form – just try a Haiku or limerick for instance. Think of some key words or images that you want and then think about how you can put them together in a way that sounds good (it doesn’t have to rhyme).
If you’re musical or have great flow, try doing a song/rap. You could record it on a computer if you are embarrassed about doing it in front of them.
You don’t have to have a posh dinner
If you want to go out for dinner with someone there are cheaper places. It doesn’t have to be posh to be romantic – a choose a nice cosy Maccy Ds, KFC or pizza place (other restaurants are available). If you’re both short on cash talk about splitting the bill before hand. Or avoid going out for ‘dinner’ at all. You could make dinner, or have a romantic picnic in a nice spot.
Share a pizza, or a candlelit fried chicken dinner …
Sharing a pizza or a tub of ice cream sitting next to each other on a sofa or in your bedroom (if your parents allow that kind of thing). Even fried chicken dinners can be romantic if you put your mind to it. Sharing. Licking each other’s fingers. Feeding each other chips. Dim the lights, light a candle, put some nice tunes on ….
Can you recommend cheap alternatives to a posh dinner?
© Justin Hancock, 2015