Christmas can be one of the most expensive times of year for a couple; gifts, holidays and a busy social life all push spending to much higher levels than normal.
We’ve teamed up with Zoosk.co.uk and Sarah Willingham, founder of LetsSaveSomeMoney.com, to help those who want to keep the romance alive this Christmas, but on a budget. Just because something is inexpensive doesn’t mean it is less romantic, and the tips below will demonstrate this!
1. Make an iTunes playlist
We all remember the classic mix tape growing up, but why not make your partner a playlist celebrating key moments in your relationship. Include songs from romantic dates, holidays or simply songs you both love. If you already own them, then even better as you can do it for free!
2. Secret notes
Love letters, poems, even post-it notes can be romantic. Leave a note where your partner won’t expect to find it. Try a lunchbox, glove compartment, on their pillow, stuck to their toothbrush in the morning – anywhere will do. It doesn’t have to be soppy if that’s not your thing, just a ‘thinking of you’. As long as it’s something personal it’ll be a winner – and of course costs nothing.
3. Personalised hamper
Now is probably not the time to be outside on cold, soggy grass so bring the picnic indoors. Get a rug and set yourselves up on the carpet with lots of goodies. Make a hamper full of your favourite foods together. Put a gift tag on each item to remember where you were when you had it and have your special drink on ice. Make it really personal, maybe even with newspaper clippings or old cinema tickets. Make it full to the brim with memories.
4. Read the Sunday papers together
Treat your partner to breakfast in bed (and throw a flower in a vase in for good measure), bring the Sunday papers in and then snuggle up under the duvet reading. Don’t look at the clock and just relax together.
5. Make a photo book, picture or scrapbook
You don’t need to have been together long to make something like this; a book, collage or scrapbook can be full of memories AND your dreams together. I once made a book of 50 reasons why I love you and had a picture or photo for each thing. We hadn’t even been together a year! Best present I have ever given and my (now) husband has received – he takes this little book with him whenever we’re apart. Great sites like Photobox have amazing special offers all year round, but you can always just print them off yourself (as I did) and make a collage at home.
6. Organise a holiday by doing a home swap
If money is tight, you could organise a fabulous romantic getaway where the accommodation costs NOTHING! Using a site like lovehomeswap, you can register your own home and then swap with someone for free. You might fancy a winter break in the Cotswolds, or perhaps your partner would prefer some sunshine further afield.
7. Cook - from scratch!
Don't be tempted by all those pre-packaged Christmas foods – they'll cost you way more than cooking from scratch and probably won’t taste as good. Putting in the effort to produce a delicious home cooked meal shows far more thought than simply getting a take away. Look out for good wines and foods on special offer, particularly if there are ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ deals. mysupermarket has a great section showing you all Christmas offers in the supermarkets today.
8. Classic movies
Watch a classic romance movie together like Casablanca or Love Actually. You can sign up for a 30 day free trial from LoveFilm, which is £4.99 a month after that, but you can cancel at any time and they often give you further offers to continue subscribing. Don’t forget cheap cinema with Orange on Wednesdays too!
10. Hang mistletoe
It is Christmas so there is loads of mistletoe around and it’s pretty cheap to get hold of. Hang it up in your house so that whenever you and your partner pass each other you remember to have a special moment together, rather than just being ships that pass in the night, which is easily done.
12. Have a night away
You can find great deals on hotels, restaurants and theatre tickets on sites like toptable and laterooms, so be spontaneous and have a night away. You can save over £100 booking trips like this a few days before. Try ‘secret hotels’ on lastminute.com – cut and paste the description into Google and you’ll unveil the ‘secret’ so you can make sure you’re getting a great bargain.
Zoosk.co.uk is the romantic social network that helps members create and share their romantic journeys, with millions of members from around the globe enjoying the service each month. Features include Couple Profiles – a dedicated place for couples to create, store and share relationship milestones and memories on a joint profile with their friends.
Have you got any tips for keeping the romance alive on a budget? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @FemaleFirst_UK
Cara Mason @cara_mason