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Written By Fajar Binti Benjamin


I know what you’re thinking, “what does this single chick know about romance?”. Well, just because I don’t have a boyfriend, doesn’t mean I don’t know what I want from one. It just means that I’m used to paying for everything by myself and therefore, know how to attain happiness on a budget. So if you’re banging your head on a wall, trying to figure out how to live up to your girlfriend’s expectations without dooming yourself to a month of instant noodles, you have come to the right place. (If you’ve chosen the right girl, you most likely won’t even need to do anything for her, but what’s wrong with making an effort to see her happy?)


1) Setting up a date

You don’t need to book a fancy restaurant and eat tiny entrées while live piano music plays in the back to have a ‘romantic setting’’. Wait! Don’t take that to mean “take her to McD’s”! Instead, consider these alternative steps:

– Find out her favourite food (whether through stalking her social media, or being old-fashioned and actually asking her)

– Steal a candle from your grandparents (they’re sure to have one just lying around in case of a blackout)

– Find a nice, safe spot where you won’t be assaulted out of the blue by an unknown stranger (I do not recommend a public park or parking lot) (bonus points if you can find a rooftop)

– Lay that Texas Chicken or mee mamak out on an actual ceramic/glass plate (splurge on a cupcake if she’s really ‘the one’).

– Light your ‘borrowed’ candle, turn on that Joox romantic playlist and…

– Voila! Budget romantic dinner that awards you privacy, intimacy and no time limit (winky face).


2) Presents

Presents should be personalized since generic ‘romantic’ presents are overpriced and not to mention useless. Take flowers, for instance, the gesture is ONLY romantic because society has constructed it to be as such. You’re basically giving away a chore that dies, rots and is forgotten. If she really wants flowers, reuse those ‘bunga telur’ you’ve collected from various weddings (Okay, you might need to play this one off as a joke).

In all seriousness, if you don’t have money for a nice present like a RM500 Sephora gift card, don’t panic. Personally, I prefer cute and practical items like anything with a cartoon cat on it. However, preferences vary and the best thing you can do is know your date. Some girls (like my grandma) love cheap trinkets, some girls just crave to have more plush toys than bed space while some would be over the moon if you simply made them a playlist on Spotify.

I must stress, whatever you do, do NOT get her cheap jewellery. This is the absolute number one mistake boys make. They go to Lovisa and buy a necklace or ring for under 30 bucks thinking that it’ll make her happy. Sure, she’ll probably be flattered by the gesture, but I’ll tell you straight up, it’s a scam. That ring won’t last one month before the gold flakes off and turns her finger green and she’s telling all her friends “this idiot can’t even get me something that doesn’t rust”.


3) Small gestures

So you’re really at rock bottom and can barely afford the potato bread that you’re living off. That’s OK. You can still:

– Tear a page out of your notebook for whatever class, find a sweet poem online and transcribe it in your best writing.

– Give her a shoulder rub (unless it’s too haram).

– Make her an origami penguin.

– Serenade her with karaoke from Youtube.

– Let her play that video game on your phone that you’ve never let her go near in fear she’ll ruin your stats.

– Tell her she’s beautiful and that you can’t wait to be able to afford to treat her like a princess.


Before I sign off and leave you to it, let me just remind you, most girls will say they don’t mind not doing anything for Valentine’s, but few will actually feel that way wholeheartedly. We all want to feel like we’re worthy of some extra appreciation and Valentine’s provides the perfect excuse to receive that. You don’t need to go full Hollywood production, but don’t let the day pass without making her feel at least a little bit special.

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