Four days from now, specifically February 14, many people across the world would be celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day, a day that is now regarded as the day to show love to others. And for centuries, exchange of gifts has been one of the hallmarks of this celebration.
It is worthy of emphasis, however, that as against the modern belief that it is for people of opposite sex who are in love or aspiring to be, Valentine’s Day is essentially a day to show love to people, including neighbours, siblings, colleagues and strangers, especially those in need.
With the importance people attach to sharing of gifts on this special day, it is important to highlight how people could still reach out to loved ones with a low budget:
Consider the cinema: It is entirely understandable that people try to go outside the normal daily routine on Valentine’s Day, just to show love to their loved ones in a special way, but for the cost implication, which is usually a constraint. However, one cost effective way to give a loved one a good treat is by going to the cinema. Findings show that seeing a movie at the cinema is largely affordable. An expert in personal finance and wealth management, Mrs. Nimi Akinkugbe, said people could have a beautiful Valentine’s Day with a low budget without sacrificing the fun they intended. She said, “Going to the cinema can be very cheap and nice, and with N5,000, a couple can watch a nice movie. With the N5,000, let’s say they pay N1,500 per person, they could still buy drinks and popcorn and then have a beautiful evening. The cheapest time out is a cinema.”
Go to the beach: According to Akinkugbe, who is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bestman Games Ltd., going with a loved one to the beach is also a great idea. She said, “It costs about N3,000 to go out to the beach on a banana boat and you can have a picnic. That is another easy way to have a lovely day out.” This is perhaps a good idea as it costs between N1,000 and N2,000 to enter the premises. For those in Lagos and other states with large water bodies, spending time around nature seems like a good idea, especially with the cheap gate fee. And for those in places that have no such attractions, visiting a swimming pool with a loved one or loved ones, maybe at a nice hotel, could be a sweet alternative. Swimming could cost more, but sitting by the pool could be a nice experience as well.
Try stay at home option: Against the usual belief that the best way to have fun on such days is to go out, it has been said that staying indoors can be fun as well, especially with some creativity. Akinkugbe said, “A couple, for example, can stay at home for the evening and invite other couples (friends) to bring their different dishes to the house. I mean everybody would bring a dish to a couple’s house, and they all eat together and have fun. Also, couples can just stay at home and play monopoly or other board games.” Meanwhile, people can even play table tennis, snooker and other games that could make them bond some more. This is particularly an interesting idea as previous research works had found that couples who do exercise together or sweat together tend to be closer. And when one considers the fact that exercise also triggers sex hormone, couples could be inching towards a romp in the sack after such a fun-filled exercise. A social psychologist, Prof. Theresa Didonato, said on Psychology Today that exercise induces the symptoms of physiological arousal, such as sweaty hands, racing pulse and shortness of breath. She added, “These symptoms mirror, in many ways, the thrill of romantic attraction. Use this phenomenon to your advantage by inviting your romantic interest to work out with you. The results? A likely boost to your attractiveness in his or her eyes.”
Give a gift: This is one of the highlights of Valentine’s Day, and according to Akinkugbe, Valentine’s Day has become so commercial, so it cannot be ignored. It is nice to acknowledge it because expectations are so high about the day. When asked if gifts are so essential on that day, she said, “People can no longer pretend that Valentine’s Day is not important, because it’s in your face everywhere you go to. So, share something, even if it is small. Something as small as scented candle is fine; there are lovely candles that are so nice and not so expensive, say about N2,500. One could get a nice blouse for N10,000 or less. I won’t be happy if my husband forgets Valentine’s Day, so I remind him before the day.” She noted that people who really want to cut costs and still fulfil the essence of the season could also consider flowers, gift books and clothes, like locally-made African prints, etc. One shouldn’t feel pressured to buy designer clothes or handbags.
Don’t be under pressure: While people are encouraged to show love to others, they are equally advised not to plunge themselves into unnecessary debt in the name of celebration. This is because of the day after Valentine’s Day. She said, “It is the society that has now made everything very difficult. It is unfortunate that some women put so much pressure on their partners. If you care about somebody, you shouldn’t make them go broke because of Valentine’s Day. No.”
Beyond gifts: In the spirit of the season, it could also be rewarding and refreshing for people to reach out to those they do not really have strong ties with. This could be in form of giving a small gift to someone, preparing a meal for somebody and helping someone with a task, since it’s all about showing love. Akinkugbe noted, “Why is it that people have to show appreciation and love only on one day in the year. We are supposed to be nice and to care about people all year round, and it’s not only about couples, otherwise, everyone not in a relationship would feel left out. You can show love to close friends, siblings, colleagues and neighbours.” And to a spouse, one could help with some assignments to make the partner feel good. With that, the appreciation would have been duly earned.