Recession romance

Say "I love you" without breaking the bank with these cheap romantic gestures


So we’re in a technical recession – good thing romance is still going cheap. Check out five simple ways to say I love you for mere change.

Write in the snow
This one takes a little planning and some snow – or sand. And no, it has nothing to do with public urination. All you need is a relatively secluded patch of snow, food colouring and an hour. Find a spot, grab a stick and start writing.

“My husband proposed to me in the snow,” says Rhea from Toronto. “He took me for a walk in the woods near his house and there in the snow was written ‘Will You Marry Me?’ in purple food colouring. He was worried animals would ruin it!”
If you don’t have food colouring, a stick will do in a pinch – and it’s free.

Know their drink
Me, I’m a no-fat latte with a little brown sugar – pretty simple. But having someone who gets it right every time is a small luxury. “I’m one of those crazy Starbucks people with a bunch of instructions,” says Kelly from Ottawa. “My boyfriend remembers [it all] and doesn’t make fun of me. He also doesn’t get embarrassed ordering it and never rolls his eyes when I ask him to get me one.” Knowing each other’s little rituals is one of the best parts of a relationship. It sounds simple, but a cup of coffee or a perfectly steeped cup of tea can say a thousand words.

Make a mix tape
It’s a classic for a reason: You can tell someone how you feel without saying a word. Hunt down songs that mean the most to the two of you and you can’t go wrong. The one rule with mix tapes is keep it a mix. Break up the ballads with something fast and funny.

Smooth it out
“My husband and I always give each other massages,” says Sarah from Toronto. “He calls it Hand Time, I don’t remember when that started. He tries to make it sound like he’s always rubbing my back, but really I think he gets the biggest share. But I don’t mind.”

It’s free, it’s easy and it’s intimate. Light some candles, put on that mix tape and work out all the kinks.

Hit the dollar store
If you’ve got a good dollar store in your neighbourhood, it’s the best place for romantic gifts on a budget. Cutesy valentines, inexpensive candy and chocolate, plus gimmicky toys can become the most thoughtful gift if you get it right. Make a dollar store doggy bag that’s personal to you and your partner because it’s really the little things that count.