Valentine’s Day is here, bringing with it the usual onslaught of cheesy cards, red roses and overpriced restaurant specials. It can all add up, and it’s not really worth all the expense if you’re going to have to live on beans on toast for the rest of February…

By Nthabiseng Moloi, MiWay Head of Marketing & Brand

Typically, couples tend to face this time of year with a sense of trepidation, thanks to countless marketing campaigns urging them to part with plenty of hard-earned cash so as to keep their other half happy.

This year, rather than rushing to nab that last bunch of overpriced roses, why not up the romance factor without bruising your bank account? As the old saying goes, it really is the thought that counts. By applying special consideration and planning to this most romantic of occasions, you can score big with that special someone.

Remember, the key to sweeping them off their feet is simplicity. Before you make that fancy restaurant booking and the annual flower order, here is how you can make this Valentine’s Day extra special:

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Budget wisely

Nothing kills the mood quite like a bare bank account. Make sure your Valentine’s plans fall well within your budget this year. While roses, fine wine and premium chocolate tend to be de-facto gifts over this period, there are plenty of ways to impress for less. By avoiding specially marked Valentine’s items, and instead opting for gifts your partner is more likely to enjoy, you are likely to save yourself plenty of stress and money.

Know your partner

The key to planning the perfect evening lies in personalisation. While advertisements and in-store displays would have you believe that everyone is a sucker for heart-shaped balloons and Valentine’s cards, you will in fact make far more of an impact by showing that you have done your research. Whether it is serving up their favourite meal, treating them to a vase of their favourite, freshly-cut flowers or sharing an outdoor experience you know they love, you are guaranteed to get in their good books by tailoring your plans to their preferences.

Plan ahead

If you are a fan of more traditional wining and dining, it is vital that you do not leave those restaurant bookings and flower delivery orders until the last minute. Given the popularity of the occasion, the more sought-after venues tend to fill up fast and buying flowers on the day is a sure-fire way to whittle down your hard-earned savings.

Lessen the load

Sometimes, the best gift of all is the gift of time. So this year, rather than showering your other half with spoils, why not treat them by lessening their load? Whether it is taking over dinner duties for the night or tackling all their daily chores, you will score some serious brownie points simply by taking a few things off their plate.

Make them feel special

Roses and balloons are nice, but when it comes to making your partner feel extra special, nothing beats a homemade gift. So this year, invest your time instead of your money and spoil them with a handcrafted card or a delicious meal. They are far likelier to be impressed by your effort than they are by your ability to grab something off a supermarket shelf.

Invest in a classic combo

Dinner and a movie. Picnics and sunsets. These classic combinations have stood the test of time for good reason. So if you are short of inspiration this year, there is no shame in employing one of these fail-safe date night strategies.

Do something different

If you and your partner are not exactly lovey-dovey types, Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to do something completely different. Rather than revving up the romance, plan an adventure together and experience something new for the first time as a pair. While your couple counterparts are flooding into restaurants, the world is yours to explore, so take advantage of the chance to tick something off that bucket list.

MiWay is a licensed Short-term Insurer and Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970).