Analysis: KALEMBWE SAKUBITA
IT COSTS a lot of money to be in a relationship. When you put together the amount that most dating couples spend per month, it is really no small figure.
Such money could equal rentals, an electricity bill, lunches for a week, or a tank of premium fuel all put together. Considering that restaurants, florists and shops aim to capitalise on your romantic mood, the cost of a February date could be double or even triple the usual monthly average.
However, if you are dating, it is possible to find love while watching your wallet. Here are a few clever ways to save money this Valentine’s Day:
Keep it kitschy. Flying chairs, fairground rides, thrilling rides and arcades – finding fun activities that you would have done as a teenager can bring out the child in you. Find fun ways to express your love this Valentine’s Day, sharing lots of laughs without spending much.
Or better still, cook your dinner. Staying in is always cheaper than going out. Couple that romantic meal with some dim lights and you have hit a home run. Everyone likes to be wooed – making someone feel special by preparing their favourite dish is a great way to score Valentine’s Day points. That way, you save money for other equally important obligations.
While date nights fall by the wayside as life gets busier, so does getting in touch with your creative side. When is the last time you painted, drew, or coloured something?
Introduce some playfulness into your life by getting your partner in on the fun. Buy a colouring book (there are several of adult colouring books out there) and pick an illustration to colour in. Have fun drawing cartoon versions of yourselves together. Pick one of your favourite pictures together and paint it.
Instead of buying a super expensive piece of jewelry or something equally as wallet-busting, give a unique and personal token of your love. Initiate do-it-yourself (DIY) gifts. It can be a poem or a paint-it-yourself ceramic bowl, maybe a photo collage or short video you compiled of the two of you. Whatever you choose to design, your date will love the ingenuity and thought you put forth into them. You will have achieved a Valentine’s Day gift cheaper and that allows you to save money.
Origami is a Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures. You can make flowers, trees and many other decorations using this art. Let us face this fact – flowers die. Why give something to someone you care about that is only going to dry up in a few days? Instead, learn how to origami flowers out of their favourite magazine or comic strip. Flowers are expected on Valentine’s Day (in addition to your other DIY gift), so instead of showing up empty-handed, or broke from the Valentine’s Day markup at the flower shop, give a bouquet that can stand the test of time, and hopefully your relationship will, too. Taking such initiatives will save you money.
You may choose to have a fun photoshoot. Nowadays, smartphones come equipped with fairly decent cameras, so you should not need any extra equipment for this other than an optional tripod or selfie-stick. This could pair nicely with a drive down memory lane or park scenery. You can also have a fun double date with another couple and take pictures of each other,
Keep your Valentine’s Day simple. At the end of the day, there is no reason to go all-out on a date night that you do not have the big budget for. Keep your date simple with the goal of reconnecting with your partner in mind, and you will find enjoyment in the little things while saving money. Be financially smart.
The author is FNB consumer educator.