Every year, someone will try to wriggle out of being affectionate on Valentine's Day by claiming it's an overly commercialised fake holiday. Now you can tell them that excuse doesn't fly - here's eight ways to focus on the love, without spending much at all.

Leave the phones at home, and go for a walk together somewhere pretty

Ever heard of phubbing? Phone snubbing is something we've all been guilty of, ignoring our partner because we're absorbed in our phone. Put it down, and give the gift of your undivided attention.

The beauty of then going for a scenic walk is it gives you something to talk about - so you don't have to panic if it's been a while since you looked up from your phone for a proper conversation.


Be a tourist in your own city

There are always plenty of things to do where you live, but most of us don't get around to it because we're busy living there.

However, there's a reason the tourists want to do them – they're fun! Many are free, while others can be low cost.

If you have kids, take the afternoon off together

Ask work if you can have the afternoon off, and while the kids are still at school, spend some quality time together.

Go to a nice café or take a stroll. It doesn't actually matter what you do, as long as you get to enjoy some time remembering what it's like when it's just the two of you, and why you fell in love in the first place.

Get artsy

Set a 20-minute timer, grab a paper and pencils, and sit opposite each other to do the best portrait you can. You'll either end up with a surprisingly good picture you can keep, or laughing at each others terrible efforts. Either way, it's a win-win.


If you're feeling especially confident, try it naked – that'll definitely set the mood.

Walk down memory lane

Where did you first meet, or have your first date? Recreate it with a date at the first place you got coffee, a stroll along the beach where you first locked eyes, or streaming the movie you watched together.

Most first dates are fairly low-key, so this hopefully won't break the budget, but the memories will be priceless.

Get more budgeting tips with the Cooking the Books podcast

If you're a homebody, do it in style

Grab a nice bottle of wine, two blocks of fancy cheese, and have a wine and cheese evening in front of a good movie. Bonus points if you include another favourite food for dessert.

Team up in the kitchen


If you enjoy cooking, skip the fancy restaurant and cook your favourite meal together.

Something about working together on a project brings people together, and gives an opportunity to chat and bond without the pressure. Just make sure that you both enjoy cooking, and maybe pick a low-stress recipe.

Grab a blanket and watch the stars together.

This combines tips from a few of the others – it's quality time, and you should definitely bring good food. But there's an added bonus that it might be a bit chilly and you have to snuggle together.

It can be in your back garden, on a nearby hill with a good view, or a beach if you're lucky enough to have one nearby. What really matters is taking the time for peace and quiet, while snuggling up together.

If you want to know what you're looking at, you can download a free stargazing app like SkyMap and figure it out together.