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Romance on a budget

Kate Slade | Interrobang | Lifestyles | February 9th, 2009

I've managed to find Valentine's Day gift ideas that are simple, easy, thoughtful and most importantly inexpensive! Now, since we're not putting a lot of cash into these gifts, you're going to have to replace the money with a little effort. These are NOT LAST MINUTE GIFTS! You're going to have to decide on a gift a few days in advance and set aside some time to get it done.

Mixed CD ($1)
What to Do: Did you groan when you read “mixed CD”? I know it's cheesy and obvious, but there is a way to make a mixed CD seem thoughtful and creative. First of all, you need to pick a theme; love songs, retro tunes, sexy jazz or you could try finding songs from her favorite movies… whatever theme you choose, stick to it. Don't stop at the burning stage though! The cover art and liner notes are equally important. If you're not artistic, you can make a collage from Googled images, or even paste a photo of the two of you on the cover.

Make Dinner For Her/Him! ($20-$30)
What to Do: Don't panic, cooking can be easy! Presentation can count as much as taste, so pay attention to the details. The easiest thing to make for someone is pasta, so don't complicate things. Be sure to add a loaf of French bread and salad to complete the meal. Serve dinner in big pasta bowls with cloth napkins and a glass of wine and you'll look like you do this all the time!

Bonus points for dessert: buy two large cupcakes from the Covent Garden Market and you're good to go.

Dinner In Bed (free if you've done #2)
What to Do: We've all heard of breakfast in bed, but what girl wants to be woken up to hot coffee and bacon before she's brushed her teeth? Try dinner in bed as a much more romantic experience where both parties have had time to shower. Get into your PJs, make some spaghetti and get under the covers. Let your special someone talk about their day and actually listen. People are so much more relaxed and funny when they're in bed; you'll naturally start sharing more intimate details then you would in some coffee shop. Tip: put clean sheets on the bed, have lots of pillows for sitting up, clean off the nightstand for drinks and have some background music.

Flowers with Meaning ($20)
What to Do: Most girls will admit that flowers on Valentine's Day are pretty nice to receive. Most guys will tell you that flowers are insanely over priced and since they die a few days later, they seem like a pointless gift. So how do you get around this? By giving flowers with meaning! (Yes, I made that up, but just keep reading...) Most flower places will be advertising a dozen roses for $19.99 somewhere in your neighborhood, grab a dozen on Valentine's Day. Sit down and write out 12 special things about your girlfriend; the way her hair smells, how cute her nose is, how nice her butt looks...and write them on little notes. Attach each little note to the bottom of one of the flowers and voila! She's never going to notice how cheap your flowers are cause she'll be too busy sighing over how romantic you are!

Photo Booth Love ($4)
What to Do: Okay, I saved this one for last because I think it's the easiest and the sweetest. Grab four dollars in change (make sure it's twoonies and loonies) and go to the nearest photo booth, you know the ones that they have at train stations and airports? There's one in Galleria, Westmount and White Oaks Mall if you're not sure where to go. Bring four pieces of construction paper with you. On each piece of paper write four words: I-LOVE-YOU- and “the person's name”. Each piece of paper will only have one word on it, you get it? Now for four dollars you will get one print-out with four different shots of you. Simply hold up each word one at a time and you will create a one-of-a-kind (very romantic) gift! Now, these booths do have curtains, so if you'd like to do a “dirty” version of this gift feel free to remove a piece of clothing as the photos progess... I'd suggest bringing a friend to stand guard in this case. Now remember: you should look hot in these photos, so prepare a little before you head out, okay?
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