Valentine’s Day on a Budget

I’ve never actually celebrated Valentine’s Day. To be honest, last year was the first time I got to celebrate it with someone I love, and didn’t have to rely on receiving the traditional card and chocolates from my parents as a “sorry you’re single but we love you anyway” gesture. I am lucky enough to be celebrating the holiday again this year and I’ll share what I have planned with you. I’m not very good at making big romantic gestures and because I am on a budget this year, I decided to do something simple but fun.

My boyfriend and I have been talking about Summer for quite a while now. We can’t wait until the weather gets warmer and we can get rid of these wretched colds! We’ve been talking about going in a picnic for a while now, and I’ve based my Valentine’s Day plans round this. I’ve decided to have a carpet picnic! For those who don’t know, a carpet picnic is a picnic you set up on the floor in your living room.

It’s one of my favourite things to do. I don’t have to go outside, so I don’t have to worry about napkins blowing away or ants eating my food. I don’t have to check the weather reports to make sure rain or bad weather spoils our plans. I also have the kitchen at my disposal, so I can eat hot food and not just sandwiches or cheese and biscuits. Having the TV there also means we can watch a romantic movie or have some mood music on in the background. I’ve been planning this for a while now, but there are plenty of other things to do if you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget.

There are endless options on how to set up a carpet picnic and this is how I plan on organising mine in three simple steps.

Find a place to set up and have your picnic

I chose to have a picnic in the living room, because we have a fireplace and the TV, so we have the option of watching a movie. We also have a lovely tartan blanket lying around the house so I’ll use that as my picnic blanket. What works for me might not work for you, so you can pick any other room in your house.

Choose your menu

The food is the most important part of this event and there are so many options! Cooking at home is more cost effective than dining out, and you get to have home comforts. Plan your menu beforehand, to save time. To save a bit cash, I have raided my cupboards and fridge to see what I could find, and I think you should too. I have a few small supermarkets within walking distance, so I plan on going out and getting the few ingredients I don’t have.

To start, I’ll make French onion soup. I know it’s his favourite and I’ve been spying on him when he makes it, so I can use his recipe. It will be a surprise when I bring it out, because I’ve never made it before. Soup is great to have, especially as it’s still cold out. Because I’m cooking it at home, I don’t need to worry about keeping it warm. I can just leave it on the stove.

My main course may not sound very romantic to you, but to each their own. I stopped by this shop today to buy the world’s greatest chicken nuggets. They’re coated in a dozen different sauces and, in my opinion, they are that most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. It’s become a tradition now, that whenever we’re having a good day and we walk past the shop we go in and buy some to eat on the way home. This food reminds me of all the great days we’ve had and I know he’ll appreciate it. I’m going to serve it with home-made sweet potato fries and salad.

For desert, I’m making pumpkin pie. I keep being asked why I’m keeping a huge pumpkin in the cupboard, and this is my reason. I bought, several pumpkins in November to make curries, lasagnes, and other tasty things with. I was saving it for Christmas but, as predicted, I caught a cold and ended up spending time in bed. Since it has lasted this long, I thought I’d use it. it was meant for a special occasion.

I have also made our favourite drink; iced coffee.

Invite your Valentine

Don’t forget to invite your Valentine’s date! I’ve decided to keep things casual, so I told my boyfriend to wear something comfy since we’ll be sitting on the floor. You can choose to keep your picnic a surprise, but I’ve accidentally hinted at what we’re doing and he guessed. Oops! At least he doesn’t know what we’re eating. Make sure you’ve cooked/ prepared all the food before your date gets to your house, so you can spend more time with them instead of in the kitchen.

The best thing about carpet picnics is that you can organise them your own way. They’re so versatile; It can be kept casual, or be more romantic, with candles and flowers. You can even ask your partner to bring some snacks and drinks so you can have a potluck dinner. Whatever you choose to do, just remember that Valentine’s Day isn’t about how much money you spend; it’s about spending time with the one you love.

Mary Ann Mahoney ()

Writes fact and fiction that gets published in a variety of different places, across a variety of different mediums. Author of short and sweet micro-fiction pieces.