Creative (and cheap) things to do with your loved one on Valentine's Day.

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Top tips:

  • Agree a spending limit for Valentine’s Day gifts with your partner.
  • Rather than an expensive box of chocolate, think outside the box.
  • Score a deal, find savings and discounts.
  • Ditch the expensive dinner out, for home cooked goodies.
  • Share a creative experience together.
  • Have a virtual Valentine’s Day.
  • Take a walk together.

February 2021.

Chocolates, flowers and dining out may evoke memories of Valentine’s Days from the past. This year, Valentine’s Day may look very different amid a pandemic and its impact on your finances. With the special day approaching, many of us will be looking for ways to show our loved ones just how much we care. You can’t put a price on love. So, the amount you spend on someone doesn’t say as much about your feelings, as the amount of quality time you spend together. Our ideas for Valentine’s Day can help you show your loved one that you care without breaking your budget.

1: Agree a spending limit for Valentine’s Day gifts with your partner.

Enjoying a special Valentine's Day has almost nothing to do with how much money you spend on gifts. Some of the most romantic gifts for Valentine's Day or date ideas don't require an expensive dinner or present.

Let’s face it, the cost of an expensive card with a heart on it, dinner and presents soon add up. Before long, you’ve spent a figure with three digits after the dollar sign. It’s understandable how this happens, when Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest shopping occasions after Christmas and communication messages encourage spending.

How about this year, agree to take a different stance? Before Valentine’s Day, you and your partner could agree on a spending limit for the special occasion. You might be thinking right now, “Hold on, that’s not romantic at all.” But what’s even more of a romance killer is that feeling of dread when you spend considerably more than your budget allows for on Valentine’s Day.

By following this idea, you can save your money, or spend it on something far more aligned to your financial goals than Valentine's Day.

Agreeing a spending limit for Valentine’s Day is just one example of talking about money between you – and it could be transformative for your relationship. Find out more about how to discuss money in a relationship.

2: Rather than an expensive box of chocolate, think outside the box.

As these lyrics of the Kacey Musgraves’ song ‘Ribbons and Bows’ suggest, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about expensive things.

“Expensive rings or diamond things
No, I just need your love”.

If you’re struggling to find the cash for a gift, don’t worry. It may be time to test your creative skills. Exploring this Pinterest board may give you some ideas to create a homemade gift from the heart. What’s more, nothing says, “I love you” like a homemade gift.

Pinterest also has some simple and creative ideas for free Valentine’s Day cards. Creating your own message on a homemade Valentine’s Day card, is a perfect way to show your appreciation for your loved one.

Here are some thought-provoking Valentine’s Day ideas to help you, based on your relationship stage:

  • Early stage: If you’ve recently met, try attending a cooking class together for a great shared experience.
  • You’re officially a couple, but it is still new: Pack a picnic and get outdoors.
  • You’ve recently committed to a long-term relationship: Take a train ride together to somewhere you haven’t been before. Enjoy the views and each other’s company.
  • You’re living together: Find old photos or videos of you together and remember the story of you and why it’s so special.

3: Score a deal, find savings and discounts.

If you do decide to buy a present, whether it’s jewellery, chocolates, or flowers, it’s quite possible you’ll be able to save yourself some money by buying online and using a promotion or coupon code. Finder.com.au, one of Australia’s leading comparison websites, has a Coupon Code Finder to help you. If you have a Westpac debit or credit card, there are in-store and online rewards and offers from renowned brands that you can use. Discover more with Westpac Rewards and Offers.

4: Ditch the expensive dinner out, for home cooked goodies.

Valentine’s Day time is usually a busy day for restaurants, and special menus often help yield good returns for restaurants. From a customer perspective it may mean higher prices.

There is an alternative to a meal out. Start with answering this question. What do you get when you combine a well-thumbed recipe book, wonderful ingredients prepared with time and care, great music of your choice and soy candles? The answer is a home cooked meal prepared with love for each other. Cooking together helps strengthen bonds. The flavours and smells created through cooking a meal at home can create lasting positive memories for the future. There will be the journey of discovery to figure out recipes together not just eating together.

What’s more, you can maximise your fun cooking as a couple if you follow these tips:

  • Plan ahead.
  • Shop together.
  • Cook to your strengths.
  • Cook with love and laughter.

To accompany your meal, you could even enjoy your own at-home wine tasting experience.

No meal is complete without sweet treats. So, why not finish your meal with a honey tasting experience - which can be so much fun. The colours, aromas and flavours of the honey bringing variety to your evening. What’s more, in addition to being associated with love, Saint Valentine is also the patron saint of beekeepers.

Let’s face it, for some, cooking is not their most favourite thing, so you could always order your favourite takeaway. Whilst you’re paying for your meal, you may still end up saving some money on transport and by drinking at home. So, you’ve still found a way to be kind to your budget.

5: Share a creative experience together.

After your meal, why not take the remainder of the bottle of wine and settle down for a creative experience.

If you’ve been to your local shops and bought a blank canvas, paint and brushes you’re on your way to getting started without needing to sign up for art classes. For help learning to paint, if you’re a beginner – there are some great videos on YouTube, for example, this video: A Romantic couple under the Stars Painting for Beginners.

Science proves this will be good for you too. Couples creating art together is the perfect trigger to release oxytocin, what scientists call, the “cuddle hormone.” Studies from Baylor University reveal that couples who create art together release oxytocin. It’s because oxytocin levels rise when we hug, touch, or sit close to someone else.

6: Have a virtual Valentine’s Day.

If you want to transform your stay-at-home Valentine’s Day, there are now a range of options available, if you’re flexible and lean into your creative side.

There are some wonderful Australian experiences you can enjoy virtually from your own home.

  • David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef: An Interactive Journey is a free online educational journey to discover the beautiful diversity on the reef combined with David Attenborough’s powerful storytelling.
  • Explore the Northern Territory with Story Spheres, which offers experimental virtual tours in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Here you can experience a 360-degree view of this beautiful location.
  • Discover other virtual Australian cultural experiences with Tourism Australia.

Want to go further afield and celebrate with bubbles? With Airbnb’s virtual experiences you can do just that through a virtual visit to the home of champagne, Épernay, France. Here you can learn how to saber a bottle of champagne.  There are a range of other interactive experiences to choose at Airbnb’s Online Experience collection, from the energetic (learn to tango with Argentinian experts) to the calming and restorative (learning origami and the essence of Japan).

7: Take a walk together.

Sometimes beauty is right on our doorstep and can be experienced with our own eyes, without a screen. Yes, it’s true, even at the start of 2021, after a year where many of us spent more time in virtual meetings than we would care to admit to! Why not, this Valentine’s Day, take your partner on a romantic walk together and discover local treasures. Taking a stroll even has plenty of benefits for both you, boosting your mood and relieving stress by releasing endorphins – the “feel-good” chemicals because they can act as a pain reliever and happiness booster.

Connect and converse.

So, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for couples to reconnect and spend time together, but it shouldn’t mean sending yourself into debt. Financial fitness is an important pillar of a healthy relationship, so we hope you get the most out of these creative Valentine’s Day ideas.

Beyond Valentine’s Day, whether you’re in an established relationship or just starting one, talking about money is vital for your financial wellbeing. It’s important to be open, transparent and ensure you’re aligned on your financial goals. To help you get to know each other financially, we’ve created a short quiz that helps you to discover your money habits, bringing to light your financial strengths or weaknesses. It’ll highlight your money management skills, which you develop to achieve financial independence. For more help planning your financial future with your partner, visit Westpac’s Love and Money hub. Here you can get help with talking about your finances and planning to build your wealth together.

 

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice. ©Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714.


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Lali Wiratunga

Lali Wiratunga believes in encouraging positive financial behaviours to boost people’s financial confidence. He also advocates for the role of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship in helping people and organisations deliver social impact and financial sustainability. In 2016, Lali was recognised for creating a positive impact through Pro Bono Australia’s Impact 25. Following a career as a corporate lawyer and management consultant in the UK, he's had 14 years experience in roles across financial services in Australia. He has served in the community as a Board member of a disability services organisation, and is a member of the Alumni Advisory Board at UNSW Business School, where he mentors students and advocates for the value of business education.

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