Why pay a fortune for gym equipment when you can get these cheaper, and every bit as good, products instead?
Ten ways to impress her for less
Affordable and thoughtful gifts to buy your partner, such as homemade chocolates
Buying gifts for someone you like, love or merely fancy can be difficult - especially on a budget. But you don't have to whisk her off to Paris for the weekend to show your affections. Sometimes the most thoughtful of gifts just so happen to be the cheapest. Gifts such as...
1. Afternoon tea
The very idea of afternoon tea is posh. And posh, obviously, equals expensive. It doesn't need to be, though. Sites such as www.afternoontea.co.uk/ let you choose your price range, with the cheapest option being just £15. For an extra £5, they'll also throw in champagne. That's money well spent.
2. Appointment with a personal shopper
Shopping can be a nightmare - especially if you're the accompanying, long-suffering boyfriend that has to answer the dreaded 'big bottom' question. However, help is at hand: most department stores - including Topshop and Selfridges - now offer personal shopping appointments free of charge to guide your girl through the sartorial maze. Most even offer free champagne. It might be best to buy her a voucher as well when you make the appointment, though.
3. Homemade chocolates
Buying chocolates on your way home from work - even if you think it's 'spontaneous' - might come across lazy, so don't be surprised if your partner isn't impressed. What's worse is they'll probably cost you a fortune if you don't want them tasting like cardboard. The solution? Make your own. Go for a heart-shaped mould for a simple-but-effective gesture, and go crazy with colourful wrapping and handwritten romantic messages. The best bit is even if they taste horrible, it's the thought that counts.
4. Gig and theatre tickets
If you're smart about it, you can pick up last minute theatre and gig tickets for less - giving you an edge with a spontaneous gift. Scour the various last minute ticket shops and stalls, such as the famous TKTS in London's Leicester Square, and have a look online at places like lastminute.com to get tickets at bargain prices to shows that haven't sold out.
5. A special edition of her favourite book
Recently, Penguin have started doing special edition re-releases of their classic books. If your girlfriend's favourite book just so happens to be from that collection, then it would certainly make a lovely, thoughtful gift. If not, however, then an even more thoughtful gift is to scour charity shops and old book markets for vintage editions. Yes, they may be falling apart and someone may have doodled their to-do list on the inside-cover, but you really can't beat the romance of an aged book.
6. A spa day
For cheap, yet thoughtful, gifts, sites such as Groupon and lastminute.com are your friend - giving you a good chance to snap up short notice deals. One place this could come in handy is treating your other half to one of the most frequent offer that crops up: a spa day. Otherwise, you could try www.spaandhotelbreak.co.uk/ for its range of discounted gift vouchers.
7. A framed photograph of the two of you
This is a tricky one. Any old framed photograph can seem tacky and cheap. But if you immortalise the right moment - one that is special to both of you - then it can work a treat. Have a look through old photos, pick the right one to enlarge and go shopping for a frame. It's gifts like these where money ceases to matter.
8. A home-cooked meal
Sometimes the best gifts are not actually gifts at all. With that in mind, why not show your girlfriend how much you appreciate her by cooking her dinner? Set the table with some flowers and candles and get to work making something simple but impressive - a home-made spaghetti bolognese, for instance, or chicken stuffed with chorizo and basil leaves - so you won't spend too much time sweating in the kitchen. And, of course, don't forget the wine.
9. A cookery lesson
If she wishes she was more cordon bleu than cordon bleurgh, cookery lessons might just be the thing you're looking for. Just like the make-up tip above, though, don't buy them if she doesn't already have a keen interest in cooking and wanting to improve - that could end up being offensive. As always, Groupon is your best bet here but also have a look around at local schools, as you might find a good deal.
10. A Vintage handbag
You might not be able to afford one of this season's covetable designer pieces, but if you scour the shops, markets and stalls, you can find a vintage handbag that suits your girl's style and shows off a great deal of thought. Go for neutral colours and slouchy or satchel shapes in leather, or PVC for something she'll want to use every day.