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Love on a budget

Irish News of the World

February 8th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

Valentines Value for your Money

A recent American report found that 70% of people surveyed were planning on dumping their Valentines Day celebrations in favour of saving themselves a little cash. Meanwhile, here in Ireland, the average Irish man spent €114 on their loved one for the special day in 2008, while Irish women spent just €62.

How will you spend Valentines Day with your loved one? We’re a romantic bunch here at ValueIreland.com, so the first thing to remember about Valentines Day is that it’s not about what you buy, where you go, or how much you spend. Don’t fall for the marketing gimmicks or the hard sell from shops, restaurants and hotels. Valentines Day is about spending your time with your loved one, not necessarily your cash.

So, if you’re thinking about going out, going away or simply staying in, we’ll look at some of your options and show you the best way to have the most romantic time while saving a few quid as well.

Cards, Messages and Chocolates

We all love to receive a card on Valentines Day, even the odd anonymous one. Don’t be blinded by the bling. It’s the message inside that counts more than the glitter.

For some value for money, Easons are offering a box of Butlers chocolates for €3.49 with every card bought. Or you could check out ButlersChocolates.com for a huge selection of Valentines specials.

Even though you might only save a couple of quid, you should probably avoid the many newspaper text adverts that are being offered at the moment. For €2, €4 or €6, you can get your Valentines message printed on the day itself. You can send your own text message direct, be a whole lot more personal, and spend only 8c on most networks.

Night Out

If you’re thinking of a nice romantic dinner, remember that it’s an annual complaint from lovers that some rip off restaurants like to hike their prices specially for the day, as well as cramming in more customers than they normally would.

This year could be different though. Many hard pressed restaurants are offering some great value at the moment. In the past week top Dublin eateries have offered dinner and a glass of wine for €20, while others are offering 2 for 1 meals. Log on to the website CheapEats.ie where you can keep up with the tasty offers that are out there.

Away for the Weekend

As Valentines Day falls on a Saturday you may be planning a romantic weekend away. A simple internet search will show you hundreds of hotels that are offering specials for the weekend. However, if you look a little closer, you’ll see that the prices for weekends before or after Valentines weekend will be much better value.

If you’re thinking about getting away, check the prices for the weekends following Valentines to see if there’s better value to be had – some hotels will change €50-€100 extra just because it’s Valentines Night.

Another top tip is to always give the hotels a call directly as well. It might be worth a little haggling with them to see if you can get even better value, or maybe get a dinner or breakfast thrown in for free.

Day Out

As it’s a Saturday, spend the whole day together. Check out DayOut.ie for a listing of couples things that you could do, from hot air ballooning to recreating the pottery scene from Ghost!

Or to see how your other half really ticks, you could check out the Bodies Exhibition now running in the Ambassador Theatre in Dublin.

Staying In

My top tip for Valentines Day 2009 is to stay in and lovingly spoil your other half – it is the thoughts that counts after all!

You wouldn’t be alone either if you were to stay home. 81% of those who took part in a Match.com survey said that they’d prefer to stay home rather than go out for Valentines night.

Set the scene with some romantic candles (€2.79 from Aldi) and some scene setting music. Cook a beautiful dinner – keep an eye out for the excellent and very popular Dine for 2 for €12.50 offers from Marks & Spencers.

Lidl and Aldi already have their special Valentines offers advertised online – so get some pink champagne to get you in the mood (€24.99 also Aldi). Lidl are even offering some special value in negligees, camisoles and briefs.

Don’t forget the strawberries! The great value Aldi Super 6 offer for fruit and vegetables means you can get yours from 79c.
But what about obligatory red roses? Last years, a dozen roses would have set you back over €100 in many florists. On the other hand, Tesco, Dunnes, Lidl and Aldi all had a dozen red roses on sale between €30 and €45.
But if you think about it, that €100 bunch of flowers would get you part of the way towards a great weekend away later in the year. Worth considering!

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