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5 Different Ways You Can Deal With the Overpriced Valentine’s Day Phenomenon

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Joanne Poh

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You’re not fooled by those heart-shaped helium balloons and ingratiating teddy bears, seeing Valentine’s Day for what it really is—a consumerist trap. The only problem is, your partner doesn’t think so. And you can bet there’ll be hell to pay if you don’t put on a good show.

Okay, things may not be quite so dire, but if you’re broke it’s totally understandable if you’re feeling anxious about how to avoid digging into your emergency fund or liquifying your stocks because flowers just happen to cost 10 times as much on this particular day. Here are some hacks that will get you through the weekend in one piece.

 

Postpone the celebration

While you can expect prices to spike shockingly over the Valentine’s weekend, on Monday they will tumble as quickly as they rose, and peace will be restored in the land. If you can persuade your sweetheart to wait until Monday or the next weekend, you’ll be able to pull out all the stops and knock the socks off him or her—at a fraction of the price.

Resist the temptation to celebrate at an earlier date, thinking you can get this event over and done with once and for all, since your significant other will have nothing left to look forward to when the actual date rolls around. Postponing your Valentine’s Day plans by a day or two should instead prolong the anticipation.

 

Take the pressure off each other

Valentine’s Day can be stressful for people who aren’t coupled up, since it’s so menacingly in your face. But many people who do have a partner hate it too, since there’s so much pressure to plan a magical evening and choose a thoughtful gift. For all you know, your significant other is also pulling out his or her hair, wondering what the hell to get you this time.

In circumstances such as the above, it might be time to call a truce. Agree to spend no more than $20 on gifts for each other, or gamify the experience by challenging yourselves to plan an evening out that costs no more than $80 in all. You might have to cancel that staycation at the Fullerton, but you and your partner just might grow a little bit closer, united in your disgust at the exploitative nature of Valentine’s Day.

 

Become a DIY king or queen

It is possible to give your beloved the time or his or her life on a dime. But in exchange you’re going to have to put in a truckload of effort and exercise a little bit of creativity. If you don’t want to pay for it, you’d better learn how to do it yourself.

If you’re handy in the kitchen, prepare a picnic lunch to be enjoyed at Gardens by the Bay or the Botanic Gardens. Serenade your partner under the stars if you have a voice that doesn’t make young children cry. Or go the whole hog and prepare a five course candlelight dinner at home. At least the price of the groceries you buy at NTUC won’t be subject to the Valentine’s Day tax.

 

Concentrate on the little details

When people plan Valentine’s Day celebrations, they usually focus on packing one big punch—by booking a room in an ultraluxe suite with a private infinity pool that comes with its own butler, or by making reservations at a restaurant that serves meat only from the rarest of species. But all your significant other wants (I assume) is to feel loved… right? Right?

If that is indeed true, it might work to your advantage (while also saving you a ton of cash) to pay attention to the little things instead. Surprise your partner with breakfast in bed and a backrub, stick cheeky post-it notes on the bathroom mirror or slip chocolates into his or her work bag, etc. You get the idea.

 

Make a quick buck

If you and your partner are of one mind, you might even be thinking of making a quick buck out of Valentine’s Day. In which case there are tons of possibilities, but you’ll have to work fast. Head down to the nursery (the plant kind, not the human kind), buy some flowers and take orders for hand-delivered bouquets, or bake personalised cakes and cookies and sell them on Facebook.

But take it from someone who’s tried doing this before—the competition will be stiff, and running your temporary business might be stressful enough to kill a bit of the romance. But at least your wallet will have survived Valentine’s Day.

Have you tried any other ways to hack Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.