Post Christmas/New Year budget massacre, you'd think you could catch a break, at least until the Easter break. But the holiday calendar is having none of that, inserting Valentine's Day just when you're starting to get your finances back on track. It's all well and good if you're a happy single person (shaking fist resentfully at you), but if you're inconveniently coupled at the brokest time of the year, Valentine's Day is just the thing you don't need to put on a credit card that's already about to snap under the pressure of the silly seasonal build up.
But Valentine's Day doesn't have to be expensive. In the immortal words of the Queen J.Lo, "Love don't cost a thing." You can express yourself on Valentine's Day (or any other day), without spending a fortune. In fact, sometimes putting thought and effort into romance is much more romantic than just buying stuff. Who would have thought: doing personalized, intimate things instead of giving expensive, generic gifts can actually be a better way of showing someone that you care! Here are some Valentine's ideas that will make your bae melt this year, even though you're dead broke.
1. Something sexy
It's the obvious choice for a reason -- sex is something that's free, easy to do, and everyone likes it. Sex between two people in a loving, consensual relationship is the most fun you can have. Valentine's Day is a good opportunity to do that weird sex thing you've both been considering for a while, or to put aside actual time to just get down in a way your busy schedules might not always allow for.
2. Make a card
I love making personalized cards. It shows the person you're giving it to that you not only put in thought, but serious time and effort. For the cost of some cardboard and pencils from your local craft store (and maybe some glitter if you're feeling super fancy), you can make something that will make your partner feel loved, and that they'll want to keep as a memento forever.
Fact: The way to anyone's heart is through their stomach. Even people who are into "clean eating" can be wooed with some kind of flourless, raw, goji-chia-matcha brownie type thing. Get your ass in the kitchen and bake -- not only will you create something delicious to share on Valentine's Day, but you'll fill the house with the smell of love (read: cookies baking).
4. Use nature
Flowers are stupidly expensive. And a lot of them are unethical, shipped from countries where workers harvest them for paltry wages in rotten conditions. Basically, store bought flowers suck. Head into your backyard or down to your local public park, and make your own bouquet out of flowers, long grasses, leaves, and whatever else pretty you can find in your environment. Again, the extra effort and creativity will not go unnoticed.
5. Create magic at home
You don't need an overpriced restaurant to create ambiance. Cook a meal, light candles, open the fireplace: You can create sexy, romantic magic without even leaving the house. Then when you're done your Netflix is right there just waiting for cuddles and popcorn. I've said it before and I've said it again: It's the thought and effort that makes Valentine's sweet, not what you spend.
6. Take advantage of what's free
If it's a nice day, go for a stroll (and hold hands). Have a picnic. Go to a free museum or gallery. Explore your local surroundings. Even the most mundane seeming things can be romantic when you're with your partner. And you'll melt your boo's heart if you can find something free to do around town that coincides with their special interests.
7. Ban screens for a day
I mean, who wouldn't love it if their loved-one announced to them that they weren't going to look at screens for a whole day, and only into each other's eyes? #ModernRomance.