Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and if you’re planning a wedding you may feel strapped for cash. Fret not, there are plenty of budget-friendly romantic ideas to spoil your honey this year…

In 2022 people are savvying up on spending. According to a study by Fidelity, 42% of people have become more thoughtful about saving and spending in the past two years. But, when it comes to special occasions like Valentine’s Day, it requires a bit of creativity to avoid spending £250 on one hundred red roses, dinner and drinks.

The search term ‘cheap date ideas’ doesn’t feel entirely wholesome. However, usually the dates which require much financial backing are the most meaningful, as more thought has gone into it. So, if you are trying to save money in 2022, you needn’t worry about your partner getting offended by a low-cost date for Valentine’s Day.

Claire Beatson, General Manager of independent and ethical jewellery brand, Nightingale, shares six heartfelt yet budget-friendly ideas on how to spend a romantic date with your loved one this Valentine’s Day. Whether this will be your 30th Valentine’s Day together or your first, these ideas are sure to make your special someone feel loved.

1. Visit somewhere you’ve both never been before.

Have you been with your significant other for a while? Chances are you’ve ‘been there, done that’ when it comes to date ideas. So, how about finding somewhere new and different that neither of you has ever been to before?

Claire says: “The UK is full of hidden gems. Explore historic castles or beautiful scenery that will make your Valentine’s extra special. You just need to decide on a destination. It could be as simple as picking a random city on the map, taking the train down, renting a bike and exploring all the sights together.”

She adds: “Looking to find somewhere off the beaten path? Wanderlust has created a list of lesser-known destinations in Britain which will take you and your partner somewhere new and picturesque.”

2. Paint together at home.

Painting classes with fine wine on the side have become ever-popular in recent years. But, if you’re looking to keep costs low, why not pull off this idea at home?

Claire says: “Painting together can help to set an intimate and cosy atmosphere. Particularly when paired with a good bottle of red wine. Simply buy a basic painting set with brushes and two small canvases from a local arts and crafts shop and you’ve got your evening sorted.

She adds: “To really set the scene, get your favourite tipple in, and set up your living room with candles and ambient music.”

Photo by Margo & Me

3. Surprise them with breakfast in bed.

For many of us, food is the way to our hearts. So, what says ‘I love you’ more than a surprise breakfast in bed? As well as being low-cost, this romantic gesture won’t go unnoticed by your loved one.

Claire says: “Breakfast in bed is extra special for your partner if you’re not the typical chef in the household. It shows you’ve gone the extra mile. This delicious recipe for french toast by So Vegan is the sweet and decadent way to start your Valentine’s Day.”

Here’s how you can make it yourself:

Ingredients

For the French toast:

2 bananas

250ml (8.5fl.oz) oat milk

2 tbsp ground flaxseed

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 thick slices of white bread

coconut oil for frying

For the toppings:

200g (7oz) mixed frozen berries

2 tsp caster sugar

vegan yoghurt (optional)

maple syrup (optional)

salt

Method

1. Peel the bananas and add them to a mixing bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth and runny.

2. Add the remaining French toast ingredients to the bowl (apart from the bread) along with a pinch of salt. Whisk until fully combined, then set to one side for a few minutes.

3. Meanwhile add a generous tbsp of coconut oil to a frying pan on medium heat. Once the pan is hot, dunk a slice of bread into the runny banana mixture so it’s fully submerged and completely coated. Then, carefully add the slice to the frying pan. Fry each slice for 2-3 minutes on each side until crispy. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread, adding more coconut oil as needed. The bread might stick to the pan if you don’t add more oil.

4. Meanwhile, add the frozen berries and 2 tsp of caster sugar to a saucepan on medium heat and cook for 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally until the berries have thawed and the sugar has dissolved.

5. To serve, stack the slices of french toast on one sharing plate or split between two plates. Then, top with the berries and spoon a tablespoon (or two) of vegan yoghurt on top. Finally, drizzle with maple syrup. And tuck in!

4. Movie marathon in a DIY blanket fort.

Perhaps the most cost-effective yet Pinterest-worthy date idea for Valentine’s Day is a movie marathon at home.

To help add some sparkle to your at-home cinema experience, Claire advises: “Every couple binges Netflix on the regular. So, you need to make sure you think about the finer details to make your movie marathon feel extra special.”

“Try transforming your living room into a blanket fort, using bedsheets, cushions and fairy lights. The only money you’ll need to spend is on your partner’s favourite snacks and drinks. Consequently, this a cheap and cheerful way to relax with your loved one on Valentine’s Day.”

5. Take a dance lesson.

Maybe your SO is a Strictly Come Dancing fanatic, or maybe they’re too embarrassed to dance with you at weddings. Either way, surprising your partner with a dance class on Valentine’s Day is sure to bring some much-needed laughter. And maybe, even add a little passion to spice up your relationship.

Claire says: “Search online for local classes and instructors. You’ll easily find a dance class that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Remember that this is supposed to be light-hearted and fresh. Don’t take anything too seriously and try to have fun with it.”

“This idea is great for both new and long-term couples. It provides new couples the chance to loosen up and become more comfortable with each other. Whilst offering long-term couples the chance to try something new which may even spark a new hobby.”

6. Unwind with an at-home spa night.

If you both have busy lifestyles, the thought of an extravagant Valentine’s Day might sound harmful to both your bank balance and your wellbeing. If this is the case, choosing to unwind with a spa night will be a Valentine’s well spent for you both.

Give your spa night that pampered feeling without a hefty price tag. Claire advises: “You or your partner is sure to have some skincare in the cupboard. Gather this together and turn your bedroom or living room into a spa retreat. Light candles, use scented lights and play relaxing music.”

“If you’re struggling to find skincare, you can always purchase a skincare set online. Such as this facial in a box from Bee Good which has over six cruelty-free products for less than £50.”

Ring by Nightingale

About Nightingale

Founded with love by Stephen and Diane Nightingale, Nightingale is the first ethical jewellery brand to grace York’s high street and has been crafting bespoke rings since 2016.

Nightingale believes that a ring should be as unique as the person wearing it. This is why the brand offers a bespoke jewellery design service using the world’s finest materials and created by the UK’s finest craftsmen. Giving the process the time, attention and iterations it deserves.

Supporting ethical practises, the brand pioneers lab-grown diamonds, ethically mined diamonds, recycled gold. Nightingale only works with ethical and respected suppliers, meaning every person involved in the creation of your ring is cared for.

Truly unique and made for you, Nightingale rings aren’t just for proposals. They are timeless treasures for people looking to invest in ethical jewellery, whether it’s their first item or adding to their collection.