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Say ‘I love you’ without breaking the bank

Njeri Maina

While some people will be spending Valentines in some Sh1 million-worth hotel suite, others will cough upwards of Sh50,000 for a candle lit dinner. As these people look forward to Valentine, most of us are dreading it, having already wholly blown January salary.

Having privy knowledge on its existence does not help matters either. But there are several ways you can celebrate Valentines without breaking the bank. Moreover, we are slowly edging into the post-consumerism era where we are more concerned with personal wellbeing and that of our loved ones rather than financial bottom lines.


Something as simple as a picnic will do the trick. Why not cook something delicious for the apple of your eye and carry it to the picnic? A Safari Walk is not such a bad idea. You will enjoy free entertainment at the entrance and take photos with dancing Maasais for posterity.

You can also drive to Limuru tea fields and enjoy an enchanting sunrise at no cost. A day trip to nearby Naivasha and Nakuru, is also a good idea. You can wake up early cook up food to carry for the trip and while at it, surprise her with breakfast in bed. If you love outdoor activities, Karura forest is the place.

Do acts of service

You can visit a children’s home during Valentine’s Day with your loved one. All you have to do is buy groceries, a few snacks and a cake for the kids. Nothing commemorates the day of love than being surrounded by unadulterated love and childlike giddiness.

You might even learn a few children’s games in the process. A retirement home is not such a bad idea either. Every one knows just how interesting old people’s tales are. Nothing says I love humanity more than donating blood. Head to KICC on the D-day and donate blood.

What about a staycation

They say the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach. This Valentine, surprise your significant other by preparing a home-made dinner. While at it, arrange a scavenger hunt around the house. You can leave something as practical as multi-coloured sticky notes or roses as the trail leading to the big gift, which maybe something as simple as a beautifully set dinner table.

Have a movie binge

You can spend the day watching your spouse’s favourite movie genre. Spend time with her, listen to her, and cuddle her. Get her affordable gifts or make some for her. You do not have to go big. Afterall, it is the thought that counts.

Do something as simple as putting beautiful cards in places around the house that she will find during the course of the day. You can also buy a movie ticket during odd hours like in the middle of the day. These tickets are normally cheaper. Moreover fewer people go to the theatre at these times, which feels like leasing out the theatre for private use.

Practice self-love

This is for thoses who are happily single. Instead of ordering a table for one and dying inside as you watch couples dining and wining together, take a break. Prepare a bath for yourself, order food and just relax. If you are cynical enough, the thought that all those couples out there living it up will have financial hangovers come the following day should keep you warm.

If you are not much of a loner, it might be time you went back home to visit your parents for a home-cooked dinner and love. If all else fails, fall sick and pray she does not take you to hospital.

If she does though, pray that you have health insurance or else you will be racking a different kind of Valentine’s bill. But in any case, Valentine does not have to be a day of grand gestures. It is all in the small things that communicate love not just on this day but every other day.

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