Few things strike as much trepidation into a man’s heart as the prospect of Valentine’s Day on a tight budget. For students, the issue is a sticky one - both literally and figuratively - but one that can be solved.
Any annual occasion that requires the splashing of cash is easily side-stepped by students. At Christmas, Secret Santa eliminates the predicament of actually having to buy thoughtful gifts for all your friends, and on birthdays a pint at the local is usually a sufficient substitute for an expensive present. Attempt to buy your significant other a pint of bitter for Valentine’s Day however and it may well be the last drink you ever buy them.
But fear not: lacking deep enough pockets for that dream date in a top restaurant doesn’t mean you have to fret. There are plenty of other ways to show your crush that you care about them without breaking the bank.
Create a floor picnic
While sitting on your beer-stained carpet might not seem like the obvious choice, don't write it off just yet. When planned correctly, an intimate floor picnic can be just as meaningful to your partner as an evening spent in a lavish restaurant.
Spread a blanket on the floor, switch on a romantic playlist, light a handful of tea lights - although try not to burn down your flat - and impress them with your array of pre-packed Tesco sandwiches. Preparing your own selection of food is of course more conducive to the ‘perfect date’ scenario, if you’re willing to put in the extra time and effort. Incorporate all their favourite sweet treats and chocolates into the mix, coupled maybe with a selection of mini pizzas and delicious wraps, and you’re on to a winner.
A tantalising treasure trail
Although this idea may work perfectly in the movies, be wary of prying housemates when arranging an assortment of presents throughout your place. The idea is to purchase lots of small tokens of affection: tiny teddy bears, flower petals and Cadbury Roses will all work perfectly. For the true romantics amongst you, incorporate mementos from your time together with things such as concert tickets, the receipt from your fist date and photographs of the happy couple.
But tread carefully, for just as all roads lead to Rome, all rose petals must lead to the bedroom - you wouldn't want an unsuspecting housemate following the trail up to your door and ruining the mood for all parties involved. To avoid this, simply pull your friends aside beforehand to explain your innovative plan.
But what about the gift?
Valentine’s gifts conjure up images of expensive jewellery, tickets to shows, chocolates and the habitual teddy bear clutching a love heart to its chest. But why not go a different route? Novelty gifts are far more engaging and often require a personal touch that adds a little more sentimental value.
Prezzybox.com is packed full of quirky gift ideas. The “We First Met Here Postcode Jigsaw” is sure to impress your partner, primarily because they will be entirely taken aback at the fact that you managed to remember such trivial information in the first place. If, however, you are not dating someone three times your age, you may wish to consider a present that could equate to an altogether more exciting evening; aphrodisiac massage oil, adult board games and “romantic rewards” gift boxes are but a click away on the website.
Still out of your price range? Then go for the simple but heartfelt notion of creating a slide show crammed full of your favourite pictures together overlaid with some romantic music. Put this on a USB stick and gallantly press play just as their face drops when you tell them you couldn’t afford an expensive gift. Do make sure they haven't spent a ton of money on you in advance; otherwise your loving presentation will look slightly tragic in comparison.
Whether you’re luring your loved one to bed with a trail of treats, offering them a feast fit for a glam camper or gearing yourself up to be a cut-price Casanova; they’ll simply be glad you’ve made the effort. Because let’s face it, nothing says “I woke up in a blind panic” more than petrol station flowers and a bottle of Lambrini. And that’s hardly going to lead to a night of passion…