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20 Easy and Affordable Valentine’s Day Gifts

20 Easy and Affordable Valentine’s Day Gifts
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According to statistics, the average amount spent per person on Valentine’s Day is £119. This may be beyond the reach of some consumers, however, who struggle with more stringent financial restrictions and minimal disposable income. This does not mean that you cannot celebrate Valentine’s Day in style, as there are a number of unique, affordable and simplistic gift options through which you can express your feelings. Whether you want to invest in products, share experiences, or create gifts from scratch, you do not need a lot of money to make your loved one feel special. With this in mind, let’s take a look at 20 Valentines’ gift ideas that are ideal for those on a budget.

1. Jammy valentines and shortbread hearts

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    Hearts and flowers remain the classic Valentine’s Day offering, although there are numerous interpretations of these gifts in the contemporary age. Take these heart-shaped, jam-filled biscuits and delicious shortbreads, for example, which express your love in a way that treats your loved ones.

    2. Coconut ice and retro sweets

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      Coconut ice, another delicious treat, merges a unique and delicate taste with the color of love. Along with a host of retro sweets and chocolate bars, these products offer a fun and affordable Valentine’s gift that is ideal for anyone with a sweet tooth and a sense of nostalgia for a bygone age.

      3. A personalized ordinance survey map

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        You and your partner are likely to have a favorite location where you have spent quality time together and either launched or developed your relationship. Valentine’s Day is the ideal time to rekindle these memories, and what better way to do this than with a personalized ordinance survey map that includes the coordinates and snapshots of your chosen location, alongside a message and beautiful cover photo?

        4. A Cocoa Pod

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          British company Chococo is renowned for its affordable and unique confectionery creations, with the iconic Cocoa Pod representing the apex of these efforts. At 19 centimeters in length and filled with fresh cream and a number of delicious individual chocolates, this entire package can be purchased for less than $30 and is sure to delight your loved one this Valentine’s Day.

          5. Well-designed trinket box

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            One of the key trends in modern retail is the development of multi-functional products, which combine stylish design with a clearly defined purpose. These are usually expensive, although there are affordable options such as trinket boxes which feature simple and alluring designs, storage space and are available at less than $40, depending on the size.

            6. Personalized bottle of champagne

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              We all know that good quality champagne costs money, but there are some brands and vintages that are more affordable and even discounted for Valentine’s Day. Companies like Create It Now even offer you the chance to personalize bottles by adding the name of your partner, a song verse or a declaration of your love.

              7. Cheaper and more meaningful flowers than roses

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                Some people carry a sense of cynicism when it comes to Valentine’s Day, primarily because the cost of popular items–such as roses–soars during the build-up. This is particularly true when you buy online, but this does not mean that you cannot invest in beautiful and meaningful flowers without spending a fortune. Orchids are a viable alternative, for example, as they also represent love and strength while they are far longer lasting than roses. They are cheaper too, especially if you buy from a local, independent florist, where even lavish bunches can be purchased for less than $20.

                8. Dance class with your partner

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                  With shows such as “Strictly Come Dancing” dominating television ratings in the UK, dance and its many wonderful formats has become increasingly popular. With this in mind, why not take a one or two hour dance class with your partner this Valentine’s Day, and strive to learn the basic principles of classic and exotic rhythms such as salsa or the tango? Check your local listings for availability and price, although you should not expect to pay more than $8 per class.

                  9. Scavenger hunt

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                    If you want to spend the day with your loved one, but are restricted by a budget, you should consider planning a scavenger hunt. Start by placing romantic clues in envelopes and distributing these along a meaningful route that charts your romantic journey together (alongside some small and cost-effective gifts), you can enjoy an incredible experience that culminates with a picnic or favorite dance.

                    10. A progressive dining experience

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                      Although this is a relatively unfamiliar concept to some, progressive dining is an American concept where successful courses are prepared and consumed at different locations. This can add a sense of adventure to the typical Valentine’s Day dining experience, as you move from one location to another and take in your favorite sites, sounds and culinary influences. To reduce costs, consider including an outdoor course at your local picnic spot and visiting an intimate restaurant only for appetizers or dessert.

                      11. Couples photo shoot

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                        Photographs offer an incredible opportunity for you to create and share memories, so you should consider booking an intimate and romantic couples photo shoot this Valentine’s Day. Available through providers such as Red Letter Days, they can be enjoyed at multiple locations while costing as little as $40. Not only will you get some quality time up close and in each other’s arms, but you will also have some stylish mementos of the day.

                        12. Romantic woodland walk

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                          Communication is crucial to any relationship, although maintaining this can be quite challenging over time. Valentine’s Day provides an ideal opportunity for you to rekindle your sense of intimacy, and one of the best and most affordable ways to achieve this is to take a scenic woodland walk in your favorite part of town. As you walk along a picturesque nature trail and take in the fresh air, you can reconnect and communicate openly.

                          13. Shopping for the day at a local flea market

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                            Shopping is a universal past-time enjoyed by both men and women, although the cost can quickly accumulate when you purchase goods in an expensive city center or High Street complex. If you want to treat your other half to a quaint and unusual shopping experience, you should consider spending the day at a local flea market. Where else can you buy unique and vintage items for a pittance, while having enough left over to enjoy a long lunch or early evening supper?

                            14. Create your own spa hamper

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                              While spa hampers and trips to luxurious treatment centers may be desirable Valentine’s Day gifts, they are also expensive. You can reduce costs to less than $50 by replicating the classic spa experience at home for your partner simply by filling a woven picnic basket with inexpensive candles, simple bubble bath and an exfoliating facial mask. Include a washed and heated towel to add a neat finishing touch.

                              15. Make homemade chocolate covered strawberries

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                                If there is a single visual image synonymous with Valentine’s Day, it is a chocolate covered strawberry. You can create these from scratch, without being forced to pay inflated High Street prices. Simply melt a package of chocolate chips at a low heat, then add oil and a small amount of milk to create a smooth texture. Remove from the heat before boiling and pour into individual ramekins. Dipping a strawberry in each before leaving to cool for three hours in the fridge. Serve with cream for a more intense flavor.

                                16. Make your own marzipan sweets

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                                  On a similar note, you can also recreate your partner’s favorite sweets and customize them according to their tastes. You can buy a selection of basic marzipan hearts for a couple of dollars from a local confectionery shop, and spend a little more on individual bags, glitter and sprinkles. Then create unique and colorful packaging that showcases considerable thought and attention to detail.

                                  17. Record a digital message or declaration of your love

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                                    The simplest romantic gestures are often the best, and creating a digital declaration of your love can serve as a breathtakingly easy and affordable Valentine’s Day gift. Whether you record a simple message, a personalized poem, or a small dramatic performance, the key is to focus on your delivery and employ simple video production techniques to create the ideal mood.

                                    18. Craft a jar of cheap dates

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                                      In the absence of expensive and large-scale gestures, it is important that you create romantic and thoughtful gifts that give hours of joy. Instead of investing in a single night out on the town, why not craft a decorative jar that is filled to the brim with small gifts and personalized dates for the future? You can write or print your dates out on card-stock paper, using paper clips to attach them and optimize the space. Then place these in a single jar that has been decorated with glitter and tied with a single ribbon, and present this as your Valentine’s gift. The type of experiences that you include will depend entirely on you, but take care to customize ideas that are tailored for your loved one.

                                      19. Count the ways you love someone

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                                        Cryptic heading aside, this is the type of gift that enables you to express yourself in an incredibly creative fashion. Start by writing out 52 unique things that you love about your partner on note paper or paper cut-outs, before gluing each one of these to a card from a standard deck. You can order these how you like, and then use a hole punch and some decorative ribbon to bind them together. A gift that keeps on giving, this is something that your loved one will cherish forever.

                                        20. Make memory candles

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                                          Love brings a lifetime of memories, and capturing these is integral to a long and happy relationship. Making memory candles enables you to achieve this quickly and easily as you take your favorite photographs and display them around the perimeter of a plain candle holder using see-through contact paper. You can use either colored or black and white photographs depending on the precise look you are trying to achieve, and can make a set for less than $20.

                                          Featured photo credit: Martin A Photography via flickr.com

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                                          Last Updated on July 20, 2021

                                          How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

                                          How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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                                          You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

                                          Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

                                          Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

                                          Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

                                          1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

                                          According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

                                          “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

                                          Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

                                          Warming up

                                          If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

                                          If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

                                          Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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                                          1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
                                          2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
                                          3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

                                          Stay hydrated

                                          Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

                                          To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

                                          Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

                                          Meditate

                                          Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

                                          Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

                                          Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

                                          Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

                                          2. Focus on your goal

                                          One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

                                          Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

                                          Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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                                          Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

                                          If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

                                          3. Convert negativity to positivity

                                          There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

                                          ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

                                          It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

                                          Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

                                          Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

                                          Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

                                          4. Understand your content

                                          Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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                                          However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

                                          “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

                                          Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

                                          Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

                                          One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

                                          5. Practice makes perfect

                                          Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

                                          In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

                                          Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

                                          6. Be authentic

                                          There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

                                          Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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                                          Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

                                          To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

                                          With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

                                          Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

                                          7. Post speech evaluation

                                          Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

                                          Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

                                          We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

                                          You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

                                          Improve your next speech

                                          As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

                                          Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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                                          • How did I do?
                                          • Are there any areas for improvement?
                                          • Did I sound or look stressed?
                                          • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
                                          • Was I saying “um” too often?
                                          • How was the flow of the speech?

                                          Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

                                          If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

                                          Reference

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