Money

5 Ways To Spend Less On Valentine’s Day And Get Away With It

Valentine’s Day is another remarkable modern achievement in turning an ancient religious celebration into a secular obligation to spend money on your loved ones in order to maintain that love. Saint Valentine would be so proud!

While it’s a sweet sentiment, did you know 62% of Australian couples report they will spend up to $200 on getting their V-day on? I don’t know Saint Valentine well (or at all), but my guess is that he would prefer you to donate your earthly belongings, and simply rejoice in your partner’s gaze.

st valentine

Not very proud.

On that note, here are my five tips to actually having a great Valentine’s Day without blowing the bank.

#1 Eat a nice dinner on the cheap

Eating food is pretty great. But these days, a great meal out can set you back a bucket-load, especially if you start cracking into the cocktail list. But it doesn’t have to be.

–Check out voucher sites like Groupon and Clipp for restaurant deals. You can often swag yourself nearly 50% off and because these now come as apps, your discounting ways will be hidden and date-swoon factor can remain high.

–Try a dumpling-crawl through your city’s Chinatown. It’s damn affordable, delicious, and exploring from restaurant to restaurant adds a bit of extra flavour to the date.

–Alternatively, grab take-out and head somewhere romantic: think fish and chips at the beach as the sun goes down, or pack a picnic and head to the park.

#2 Do awesome free things

I’m really turning into your annoying frugal friend: “Guys! We don’t need to spend money to have fun. Isn’t it great?” Well it’s true, so shut your damn hole!

Valentine’s falls on a weekend this year, which gives you serious options. Take a drive out of the city and head to a remote beach. Plan a hike in a nearby national park. Head to a suburb you’ve never been to before and stroll around the shops and restaurants.

Kittens are extra points.

If you’re stuck for ideas, the councils of major Australian cities do a pretty decent job of keeping track of what’s on (here’s Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Tasmania, for example).

#3 Substitute effort for $

Here’s the thing, capitalism is simply a system by which you can trade currency for goods or services. So instead of trading your currency, just get to making those goods and services yourself. An investment of time and effort is a much better sign of love than dropping your credit card on the problem.

–Treat your lover to a nice relaxing massage, grab some fancy-but-not-too-fancy rosé, and have a romantic night in.

–Slow-cooking. It’s not only super impressive, but it’s crazy easy and uses the cheapest cuts of meat. Here’s the recipe: Buy lamb shoulder. Cover with herbs and oil. Put in oven for 4 hours. Eat. You’re welcome.

–Make all your plans a surprise: mix and match all of the above, and don’t tell your partner.

#4 Last minute deals

The concept of ‘Last Minute’ deals has been thoroughly abused – in many cases, ‘last minute’ deals look a lot like the ‘booked with plenty of time’ deals.

Stayz still has genuine last minute offers for rental properties that are still not booked for this weekend, ranging from 5-20% discounts. And Expedia still lists a bunch of last minute packages.

#5 Movie tickets for peanuts

Here is a tip you’ve never heard: Telstra and Optus both offer their customers heavily discounted movie tickets, with very few conditions. Why? Great question! We don’t know, but stop asking – let’s not kill a great thing.

A classic move.

Optus Perks has $11 tickets for adults, or you can splurge $25 for LUX, complete with reclining chairs and table service. Telstra Thanks offers $12.50 tickets, with higher prices for Vmax or 3D.

#6 Free transport

Whatever you have planned, avoid a cab and find a more romantic solution. At a minimum, I want you to be using Uber for those sweet, competitive prices. At best, grab some bikes and ride to your destination together, and then plan a scenic route on the way back.

Alternatively, walk somewhere together, or catch a ride on a public ferry boat – it’s cheap but it makes you feel like a baller. Plus water is always romantic.

#7 Netflix and chill

Almost any activity on Valentine’s Day has a price mark-up – you’re competing with all the other romantic suckers on winning the love game. Sometimes, the best date is one where you have nothing planned, order some cheap take out, find a great movie on Netflix you’ve probably already seen and… chill.


Rob d’Apice is a co-founder of Sage, a new way to save heaps without thinking about it. He has trained as a financial planner, worked as a management consultant, and struggled as a serial entrepreneur. Rob presented the money segment Insufficient Funds on FBi Radio. He is also a bit of a geek.