When money’s tight, commercial holidays like Valentine’s Day can leave you feeling unnecessarily under pressure. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t get to celebrate though and there are plenty of ways to express your love to your partner without spending more than you can afford. It all starts with the love languages – by getting in touch with your partner’s, you can identify which gift idea suits you both best.
According to Dr. Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages, there are five different ways to communicate with your partner to show love. These are:
For some people, spending quality time with their family and friends can be the biggest factor to a successful relationship. And spending time doesn’t necessarily mean spending money.
Instead of breaking the bank for a meal in an expensive restaurant, how about a romantic dinner for you and your partner at home? If you don’t want to prepare or cook a meal yourself, you could order food in from your partner’s favourite takeaway or head to the supermarket – for example, M&S is offering a Valentine’s Day dinner for two including a starter, main, side dish, dessert, chocolates and a bottle of wine for £20. This can be a cheaper substitute to a restaurant while still showing that you care and want to be in each other’s company. Get the kids to go to sleep first and it’ll be even better!
If it's a friend or family member you want to treat, simply make time for them in your schedule. If their love language is quality time, they'll value that so much more than anything you could buy.
Words of affirmation
For those whose love language is words of affirmation, a kind, encouraging comment means more than anything else. If this is the case for your partner, you don’t need to spend much at all to tell them how much care. Grab a card and list the reasons why you love them and what makes them special. It’s an inexpensive idea, but will make them feel really appreciated. If you’ve got kids, get them to write in it too, showing your partner how much you all value them. This could work just as well for a friend or family member too.
You might find that receiving gifts is your partner’s love language. Don’t panic – that doesn’t mean you need to go splashing the cash, nor does it mean that your partner is materialistic. Usually it’s more about the act than the gift itself; the fact that you’ve taken the time to consider a gift they’ll really appreciate.
An idea for a film enthusiast is to grab a box or basket, fill it with your partner’s favourite snacks and a couple of DVDs and there you have it: a movie night for two! You could even involve the kids by getting them to make some personalised movie tickets.
Alternatively, head to the charity shops and see what you can dig out. From clothes and jewellery to games and houseware, you might be surprised at the stuff you can find in pretty good nick. It’ll cost you a fraction of the price of something new and, hey, nobody needs to know a thing…
Acts of service
For those who favour acts of service, actions speak louder than words. If that sounds like your partner, it’s all about rolling up your sleeves and lending a hand! You could help around the house with cooking, cleaning or washing, take the kids out to give your partner a rest, make a start on that job you've been putting off, or make lunch for them to take to work.
Maybe it's a friend who needs some love this week. Why not offer to give them a lift somewhere to give them a rest from driving or offer to babysit one evening? Maybe it's a busy colleague. If their love language is acts of service, a cuppa will go a long way.
For some people, it’s physical touch that has them feeling the love. Now, this doesn’t have to be intimate - something as simple as going for a walk and holding hands or snuggling on the sofa could be enough to show your affection. Often it’s the smallest things that can be most valuable and thoughtful, and even better, it doesn’t cost you a penny!
To discover your love language, take the free online test here. And whether you decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, we hope you feel as valued and loved as you truly are.