Cara-Lisa's Vegan Choc-Coconut Protein Mousse PICTURE: Supplied

The month of love also happens to be the month when many of us are still recovering from the festive season splurge. And with almost another two weeks until payday, the timing of Valentine’s Day is not ideal for anyone’s bank account.

“The good news is that there are many great ways to celebrate that won’t break the bank,” says Susan Steward, the marketing manager of Budget Insurance.

Budget Insurance has these practical tips for a fun, affordable Valentine’s Day:

  1. Romance starts at home. Ditch the restaurant frenzy and opt for a meal at home. Dust off those candles, make your loved one’s favourite meal, switch on your favourite song, and your night is set. You could enjoy a delicious three-course meal at home for a third of the price of one at a restaurant and without the hassle of finding parking, dealing with frazzled waiters and putting up with an overcrowded restaurant.

  2. Go out for dessert. Just because you can’t go out for an expensive three- or five-course meal doesn’t mean you can’t go out at all. Have a nice dinner at home and head out to your favourite coffee shop or café for a sweet end to your meal.

  3. Skip the knick-knacks. What will your Valentine do with that oversized, overpriced teddy bear, mug or giant red heart pillow? These things end up becoming unnecessary clutter, so rather save your money for a good bottle of wine or a delicious dessert.

  4. Rent a cheesy movie and snuggle up. No dressing up, no paying for parking and no dealing with crowds. Put on the popcorn, get in your PJs and enjoy a romantic flick.

  5. Brekkie in bed. Nothing beats this classic, cost-effective favourite. Add a few new twists, such as a jar filled with date-night ideas for every month until next Valentine’s Day, or a photo album with your favourite moments from the last year – and don’t forget to take a snap of your delicious creation to add to your album.

  6. Get creative with DIY coupons. Create your own coupons for back massages or foot rubs, redeemable at any time, or for a night off. There are many practical things that will help to make your partner’s life easier, such as washing dishes for a week or doing the grocery shopping for a month – the gift of time is invaluable.

  7. Repeat your first date. This is really fun, particularly if you've been with your partner for a long time. If you can’t relive it exactly, find a close alternative and revive those butterflies.

  8. Avoid the floral fancy. A dozen red roses will set you back about R400, whereas you can buy a bouquet of sunflowers for about half that, so avoid the rose cliché and explore the many other floral options on offer.

  9. Give the gift of undivided attention. This is absolutely free. Did you know that, according to a study conducted by British psychologists, the average young adult spends up to a third of their waking hours on their phones? By putting down your smartphone for a few hours, you’re showing your partner just how much you love him or her.

  10. Create a card. Valentine’s cards can be expensive. Using relatively inexpensive materials from a craft shop, you can easily create a personalised card that will mean a lot more.

- PERSONAL FINANCE ONLINE