Spending Valentine's Day apart? Here's how to celebrate on a budget

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With Valentine's Day around the corner, now is the perfect time to start planning a celebration with your partner. For people in a long distance relationship or who are currently separated by travel restrictions, celebrating Valentine's Day this year may be a bittersweet moment.

For many, the ongoing travel restrictions have eliminated normal opportunities to get together in person and some couples may have gone almost a year without seeing each other. To make up for the separation, why not make this virtual Valentine's day extra special?

While it's common to spend a lot on your partner, there are plenty of special but affordable ways to celebrate Valentine's day so you can put extra money aside for when you can see each other again in person. Below, we've compiled a list of Valentine's Day activities you can do with your partner for under $100.

Throw your partner a romantic dinner date

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A classic way to celebrate the holiday is to have a romantic dinner-date. In our research, we found many takeaway meals usually charge around $8-$12 for an appetiser, $24 for a main course, and $9 for a dessert. Additional features like tea and wine are marked up at restaurants, so it is best to buy drinks at your local grocery or liquor store to maximise savings.

Alternatively, some countries, including Singapore, have restaurants that offer DIY meal kits, and can be a great option if you and your partner like to cook and would like to prepare your dinners together. For example, BoCHINche gives customers everything they need to cook the perfect Argentine-style steak for just $64.80.

If your partner is located somewhere where DIY restaurant meal kits aren't available, then cooking one of your favourite meals together over Skype or Zoom is a great alternative to connect in the kitchen. Whichever option you choose, set a budget so neither you nor your partner overspend.

D-I-Y meal kit cost

After dinner, you could watch a movie together online. Consider downloading Chrome extensions like Netflix Party to make your viewing experience match up. If your partner doesn't already have an online streaming service, you could buy them a one-month subscription gift card for the price of the service's monthly fee.

Whether you choose a service with popular originals, like Netflix, or one with multi-part series, like HBO Go, planning what to watch in advance could make for a seamless dinner-date experience.

Have an online game night

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Another way to spend Valentine's Day with your significant other is to have an online game night. This is a great, low cost option for couples who like to keep their mind engaged, as many online games are either free or cost $20 or less. For instance, if you and your partner like to puzzle through escape rooms, consider booking an online escape room for $20-$55.

Alternatively, you could try the Code Names game for two people. Code Names is especially user-friendly for those who like guessing games and want to have a fun insight into their partner's mind. Lastly, you can download one of the many couples gaming apps.

Send a personalised gift

Sending your partner a personalised gift is a surprisingly affordable way to show your partner you are thinking of them. Websites such as Etsy sell nice-quality, customisable gifts like scented candles, notebooks, and jewellery for $50 and under.

Alternatively, you can support local businesses by purchasing homegrown gift like beer sets, skincare and perfumes that could bring a smile to your significant other on this holiday.

Cost of shipping overseas from Singapore

When in doubt, sending your partner a handwritten card, "aged" letter , or a small trinket will remind them of you and could make their day. Do note that it might be worth paying the extra $3.20-$4.80 for faster shipping to make sure your delivery arrives on time.

How to celebrate your love from afar on a budget

Valentine's Day is the perfect time to celebrate your love with your partner. While you may not be able to be with them physically, this doesn't mean you have to cut corners on what you would do if you were together in person.

If you're trying not to overspend, consider alternative budget-friendly activities like e-games and handwritten cards. Lastly, if you want to save even more on Valentine's Day, you could use your credit card to get cashback or points. This way, you can receive cashback or air miles that you can put aside and redeem later for a flight to see your loved one.

This article was first published in ValueChampion.