Palentine's Day: How to be quids in by sharing costs with friends
Comedian and podcaster, Helen Thorn, focuses on the benefits of friends (versus friends with benefits) during this traditional time of romance.
When we think about Valentine’s Day, how do we really feel about it?
Are you planning rose petals and a candle-lit dinner?
Or does it just add to the list of things to do, along with washing, walking the dog and unloading the dishwasher?
As a single person, this is my second time around facing that date in the calendar - and it’s remarkably freeing not feeling like I have to make an effort or wait for my other half to suggest something romantic and forced.
No awkward dinners; no fussing or dressing up.
In fact, this year I’m determined to ramp up the fun – and I’m doing so with friends.
We’re going to celebrate the increasingly popular alternative celebration that tends to fall on February 13th, commonly known as ‘Palentine’s Day’ - knowing that I will be guaranteed a really good time.
It’s an expensive time of year, so buddying up with friends (many of whom are also on a single income, as I am now) also means we can shop around and avoid potential over-priced Valentine’s traps, including “packages” and dinner with ramped up prices.
But more importantly, it taps into a wider trend that, since the first lockdown back in 2020, friends and neighbours have been discovering how beneficial it can be to share and divide up the costs with your communities and support bubbles.
When you eat out with your mates, there are a huge range of places offering a hefty discount for bigger groups
When you eat out with your mates, you can be flexible about which days of the week you head out, and there are a huge range of places offering a hefty discount for bigger groups.
Through Meerkat Meals from Compare the Market, there are some fantastic places that offer deals if you take out a qualifying product.
One of my favourites to go with girlfriends is Prezzo, as they have a 2 for 1 offer on starters, mains (and desserts) for up to six people, Sunday to Friday.
You could then go to Kaspa’s Desserts for afters, offering you 25% off the bill for up to 10 people Sunday to Thursday.
As my children only tend to eat pizza when we are out, it’s handy that there are a few other pizza restaurants like Pizza Hut that also give a generous discount – and there’s an offer with takeaway too.
And, through the Meerkat App some chains are offering 25% off your total bill including drinks (even booze – though excluding Scotland) Monday - Wednesday for up to 6 people! Win-win I say. Days available vary by outlet and terms and conditions apply.
Best of all, when you’re out with friends, there’s no need for sexy pants either.
Save on childcare
One of the biggest costs when you’re a parent is, of course, the childcare.
And with a fab group of fellow single women around me, we're able to share babysitting duties between us, which is the first stumbling block to getting some time out to yourself!
Often when I have a night out, I can share the costs of a babysitter with a mate, as my kids are 10 and 13 now, so they're happy to watch a film with other kids, while mummy is out having a few "medicinal wines".
Save on subscriptions
During lockdown, these streaming services were basically our sole form of entertainment, and I got them all: NOWTV, Netflix and Disney Plus... but using them on my own was a big cost.
But sharing streaming subscriptions (and any charges) with friends is a great (cheeky, yet legal) way to save a few extra pennies.
For instance, one of you could pay the monthly charge for Netflix, while the other foots the bills for NOWTV, and it’s all above board.
And with everyone signed up, it also opens you up to the potential of "watching parties" – a fun, low-cost way to enjoy time with friends and family.
You can read more on this in this article about subscription sharing.
Partner up for parties
Throwing a Palentine’s Day party at home is one way to save – but the same goes for birthdays.
As a single mum in particular, one of the biggest savings I’ve found is buddying up with friends for joint kid’s parties.
It’s easy to spend hundreds on food, decorations and entertainment - but getting a big old Costco mega shop together and split the expense can mean massive savings.
And who knew you get such enormous bags of crisps?
So, if you’re heading into Valentine’s Day - or any celebratory day - with some trepidation and a bit of a wobble, throw those worries away, and co-create an event with your wider circle that is both enjoyable and won’t cost you the earth.
Turns out this year, it will be half the cost, and twice the fun! Who needs love hearts and red roses.
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Don’t forget that while you may think that this article is brilliant, it is intended for information purposes only and should not be mistaken for financial advice or recommendations.