Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to cost the earth

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With Valentine’s Day here, many couples may have expressed their love with an extravagant gift or night out together. Despite this, there are growing fears about the expense at a time when Christmas bills may still need paying.

Recent research carried out by YouGov on behalf of the UK’s leading relationship support charity, Relate, found that 39% of people in the UK said they were worried about the cost of festive celebrations.*

A separate study for the charity found that 57% of people living in the East of England think money worries put one of the biggest strains on relationships today.**

In response to these findings Diane Whitmore, Counsellor at Relate Bedfordshire and Luton, has suggested there are plenty of ways people can express their love this Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank. She said:

“There can be a lot of pressure around times like Valentine’s Day and it can get expensive. Thinking ‘outside the box’ can really help – gifts don’t have to cost the earth or even anything at all.

“If you’re thinking of giving a gift for Valentine’s, maybe ask yourself what your loved one would appreciate most before getting out the credit card, particularly if Christmas debts are still a problem. It’s easy to make assumptions that your partner wants expensive flowers or aftershave when perhaps they would be just as appreciative – if not more – of a handmade card or breakfast in bed.”

From its experience working with thousands of couples every year, Relate has identified open communication as a cornerstone of happy and loving relationships. The charity suggests one way to make the most of Valentine’s Day is to use it as an opportunity to talk to your partner and find out what gestures make them most happy.

“This is a great opportunity for two people to talk to each other and find out what they most want as a treat,” added Diane Whitmore.

“It doesn’t have to cost anything – what’s most important is it shows you’ve listened to them and how much you care.”

Relate’s top tips for a cheap and original Valentine’s Day

Don’t feel you have to spend the earth

Romance is not necessarily something you have to buy – the sweetest things often cost nothing. A dozen expensive roses might seem like a grand romantic gesture but so is breakfast in bed or carrying out a chore you know your partner hates!

Put some thought into it

Think about what the person wants, not what you think they should want. Thoughtfulness is one of the most romantic qualities a partner can possess.

Be creative

Why not unleash your creativity by making your own Valentine’s card or cooking a batch of heart-shaped cupcakes? Not only will it keep costs down but it will also show you partner a different side to you.

Do your research

Try speaking to your friends or children to see if there is anything your partner has mentioned they would really like. When you surprise them with something they have wanted for ages, they will think you have read their mind!

Relate Bedfordshire and Luton offers information, advice and counselling for all stages of relationships, including couple counselling to build and maintain strong relationships. Visit www.relatebedsandluton.org.uk for more information, or call 01234 356350