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Broke this Valentine's Day? JOE helps you romance on a budget
Need a Valentine's Day idea and strapped for cash? JOE gives you 12 ideas of how to romance on a budget.

Need a Valentine's Day idea and strapped for cash? JOE gives you 12 ideas of how to romance on a budget.

With all the pressure of getting it right on Valentine’s Day, you can think you have to spend piles of money to keep the missus happy. This is not the case. JOE has come up with loads of free or inexpensive ways to woo your lady, without having to sell your Xbox.

1. Flowers

Say it with flowers. The ladies love the beautiful blooms. From smelling nice to looking nice and showing her you thought of her while out shopping, she’ll be delighted to receive a bunch of flowers. If you can’t afford a dozen roses, get her one. It’ll last a week or two, and every time she sees it she’ll think of you and smile. Flowers.ie have a great selection of Valentine's offers.

2. Chocolates

Very few ladies can say no to fancy chocolates, but if a tenner is too much for a decent box – think Butlers / Lindt, then you could buy her a big ‘fancy’  chocolate bar instead, like Green & Blacks or Galaxy. These are around €3 a bar, and coupled with a rose you’ll be doing well.

3. Teddy Bear

Giving her a teddy bear is giving her something cute and fluffy, like a puppy, but without the maintenance. It’s something soft for her to cuddle when you’re not there, and it will make her think fond thoughts of you when she sees it. You don't have to get the man-sized one either. You can pick up a small one for under a tenner.

4. Make a meal

Providing a dinner for your missus doesn’t have to involve taking her to a five-course meal with Moet champagne. Instead, you can cook on a budget by making something for her at home. Go for something simple like a stir-fry – it's the thought that counts and she’ll be delighted you made an effort.  You can even buy the sauces in jars if you want to speed things up. If you can't cook at all, you could order a take away and get a bottle of wine from the supermarket. Throw in some candles and some nice music and you’re laughing.

5. Picnic

Another version of making her a meal, but this is even handier. Grab some cheeses, meats and crackers and bring her to the great outdoors for some fresh air and tasty snacks. You could also bring along some tea or coffee in a flask to keep you both warm. Don't forget the blanket too. If the weather is sh*te, as is usual, you can still do a picnic – just do it indoors. Spread the blanket out on the living room floor and get comfy. You could always put on the nature channel for ambience too.

6. Free movies screening

Check out cinemas for free film screenings, such as the IFI or FilmBase if you're in Dublin. On this Valentine’s Day, FilmBase are screening short films from 7 pm. Admission is free, but places are limited. Check out www.filmbase.ie/events for more information. FilmBase is in Temple Bar, Dublin.

7. Walk on the beach

Taking your lady out and about to a beach for a walk not only makes her envision all the romantic movies she’s ever seen, but makes her think you’re a nice sensitive soul too. If it's a long walk, combine the picnic idea and she’ll be swooning with the romance of it all. Wrap up warm, it is Ireland after all.

8. Make a Card

The effort that goes into a homemade card can often be appreciated more than if you spend loads and buy a giant sparkly one in the shop. If you’re feeling creative, you could even write your own Valentine’s poem in it – nothing as grand as Shakespeare (although you could copy a Shakespeare sonnet if creativity evades you). Something like ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, you’re a big ride and I fancy you’ should work a treat. Don’t forget to credit us if you do use our genius poem…

9. Make a playlist

If you’re old enough to remember or if you have seen movies from the '80s and '90s, you’ll remember the good old mix tape. Technology has moved swiftly on from that though, so you could make a mix CD or even a playlist and put it on her iPod for her. Get as sappy as you like. The sappier the better. If you have ‘a song’ together, put that on first. You could combine this one with dinner and play it for her while you eat.

10. Vouchers

If times are really tough you could make ‘I owe you’ vouchers for a foot massage, or back rub, or even wash the dishes every night for a month. Just make sure it's something you are willing to give. If you offer a months worth of hoovering, be prepared to do it…

11. Photo scrapbook

If you’ve been together a while and have a good few photos of the pair of you, get them printed and either make a photo album or scrapbook, or even just get one really nice one framed. Just be warned that she may choose to display in public areas of her home for friends and family to see.

12. Go to an art gallery / museum

Get cultural and bring her out to an art gallery or museum. Most are free and she’ll think you’re sophisticated if you bring her to see an exhibition. Check out the websites to see what exhibition is on so you don't look like a fool.

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