My Frugal Valentine!

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My Frugal Valentine!

DH illustration:  Yathi SiddakatteGuys, this is your red alert – Valentine’s Day is on Monday and you’ll be called upon to do something special on the day.

But no, now isn’t the time to get the job over and done with by popping down to the nearest jeweller for another pearl bracelet (although there’s nothing wrong with pearl bracelets)! “Something special” doesn’t always have to equate to shelling out big bucks – although Americans alone are expected to spend a whopping $14.1 billion this V-Day!

Instead, for something more imaginative, and for those who can’t afford to hire an airplane to write “I Love You (Tina/ Twinkle/ Trisha insert suitable name here)” in the sky or buy an “I Love You (Ditto)” full-colour advertisement in Monday’s newspaper, don’t worry.

We’ve put together a list of frugal ideas that are bang on the money and will pay huge emotional dividends in the months and years to come.

Make it about the experience

Diamond jewellery is lovely at any time of the year, but really, can your budget stretch to another VVS brilliant-cut love refraction instrument? Forget about spending money to make the moment matter, and invest some emotional capital in a romantic experience together instead.

Cooking her dinner that you serve by candlelight is an oldie but goldie, but if your kitchen skills are limited, why not surprise her with a romantic picnic  instead?

Pack a basket with an assortment of inexpensive foodie delights, tell her to wait for you in the driveaway and once she’s in the car, simply head straight out to a previously identified location – even if it is the Nandi Hills or Kanva Dam, how you approach the day out can change previous ideas she may have had about the place. Plus, it’s the chance to create some memories of your own. (But do make sure you know where you’re going or you could spend the entire journey on the phone asking for directions on what should be a romantic drive for two! That’s enough to make anyone upset!)

Get spatacular

Alternatively, if you’re far enough into the relationship, create a home spa instead. First pack the kids off to your parents, give your pets to someone for the day and pull the plug on your Blackberry. Valentine’s Day is on Monday, chances are she’ll return from work exhausted – so lay out a treatment table, spa style, and massage her feet and back. Turn down the lights and place scented candles around the tub, draw her a bubble bath, and once she’s comfortable, ramp up the experience with some mushy music and pour her a nice chilled glass of bubbly (white wine or her favourite cocktail will do just as well). If you can have dinner on the table for her afterwards, it’ll be day she’ll never forget – it could be just strawberries with a chocolate fondue – and this is the sort of thing that could pay off big time for you, both immediately on the day itself and in the longer term, too.

Be warned, though: don’t push her if she isn’t in the mood – keep it light and romantic, don’t insist on hot and heavy. And if you’re not yet fully comfortable with each other, now isn’t the time to start! You could end up making it a Valentine’s Day to remember – for all the wrong reasons!

Put it in words

With two days to go, forget about running around trying to find the perfect card, simply put pen to paper and tell her what she means to you, what you love about her and why she’s still the one. Yes, write her a love letter.

Never mind if you’ve said it before and she knows all of it anyway, she always wants to hear it again. Everyone always likes being appreciated. And be creative: draw and scribble fond memories around the margins, or simply spray it with the cologne she loves on you before folding it up.

Once you’ve written at least two sides of an A4 sheet (yes, that much, so you’ll have to spend a little time on it), pop it in an envelope and hand it to the receptionist at her office – or get a courier to make an urgent delivery, perhaps with a single red rose. Clichéd, perhaps, but a gesture that always wins points.

On no account must you send her an email (unless she’s in a different city) or type and print out the letter. No matter how bad your cursive script, handwrite the letter – the two of you could have a full-on mushy moment later deciphering your scribbles.

Wrap it up!

Good things really do come in small packages, but there’s no reason they need to contain break-the-bank baubles. Instead of charging it to your credit card and spending the next two months in hock, take a different approach to the Valentine’s Day gift. Opt for a number of small, meaningful gifts that express milestones in your relationship – how many you give could tie in with the number of years you’ve been together, for instance. And the gifts themselves could be merely tiny reminders of special moments along the road you’ve walked together. A little glass jar of sand, for example, could hark back to a favourite holiday where you discovered new things about each other. The idea here is to reinforce your love, to remind her that you remember and that you’re always celebrating her and what you’ve created together.

You could also make something such as a photo album or scrapbook with pictures from your years together. Add a line or two next to each about why that moment was special and what you loved about her at the time. Or get a bunch of balloons and write different things about your relationship on them. Or simply ‘I love you’ messages on them in several different languages.

One word here about the well-worn coupon booklet route. Tear-and-present vouchers to do the dishes or go out to dinner are cheesy, unimaginative and are often welshed on, so make the coupons sizzle.

Make them about the fulfilment of fantasies, for example, or write out vouchers for back and feet massages. You could also offer to give up watching one of the World Cup semi finals next month to go on a date with no mention of cricket instead. She’ll remember that one for ever!

Say it with flowers

Men and women hoping to get a little bedroom action this Valentine’s Day might want to forget about extravagant gifts this year and give their loved ones flowers instead, suggests a new survey for a London-based retailer.

“People often think they need to give huge, expensive gifts, if they want to spark a little romance in the bedroom, but this just isn’t true. In fact, many people find things like fine dining or vacations frustrating, uncomfortable and inconvenient,” explained Peter Ahl, Managing Director for Serenata Flowers.

“We found flowers do the trick wonderfully. We were also happy to discover that men are just as happy about receiving flowers for Valentine’s Day as women are. This really breaks the misconception people often have about giving men flowers,” he added.

Break the bank

For those with the cash to splash, a few suggestions:

No Mirage, this! The super-glitzy Mirage Resort & Casino in Las Vegas is offering a week-long ‘Love Starts Here’ package for a cool $41,000. What do you get? Five nights at The Villas at The Mirage with exclusive 24-hour butler service, private backyard with a pool, hot tub and putting green, Rolls Royce transportation to the hotel and gated entrance to ensure private arrival, an “ultimate crystallised celebration” with Bling H2O, Moet & Chandon bubbly and a six-course Decadent Degustation Menu in your private villa, a private makeover session with Hollywood style guru and celebrity colourist Kim Vo, along with a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure and make-up session, a private table with bottle service at the resort’s JET Nightclub, a chance to be a dolphin trainer, to assist a ventriloquist on stage and other add-ons. But if you can’t get your US visa in time, don’t worry – the package runs through April 30.

Shalimar moment: One of the most eye-popping ways to worship your lover is by buying her Nirav Modi’s Shalimar Ring, which went on sale earlier this month at his Mumbai store. Comprising 4.86 carats of Argyle pink diamonds including its magnificent centrepiece, a 1.25 carat fancy vivid purplish pink round diamond, it has been inspired by the goddess Laxmi and took over a year to make. It is valued at a cool Rs 10 crore.

Love drives smooth: German luxury car manufacturer Audi has rolled out its new sedan, the A8 L, which promises innovative standards in the super-premium segment.

With long wheels, a new powerful 4.2 FSI petrol engine and stunning new contemporary interiors, the car is now on sale at the brand’s New Delhi showroom at a pocket-friendly Rs 89 lakh!

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