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Celebrating Valentine’s Day on a Budget: Egypt Edition

February 1, 2023
Photo credit: Ahram Online
Photo credit: Ahram Online

Street vendors selling red roses, clothing shops flashing red, and gift shops promoting stuffed hearts and teddy bears: we are approaching the month of love. Yet, with rising prices and financial uncertainty looming over the Egyptian public, few Egyptians actually have the mental space to look up their Valentine’s day plans. Nevertheless, instead of resorting to fancy dining and expensive gifts, there are many budget-friendly ways to celebrate love in your own way, and still make it special.

DIY gift

There are numerous tutorials on YouTube on ways to make a special homemade gift box, heart shaped cookies, a unique Valentine’s day card, a creative romantic movie basket, among others. This gift will be both special and personalized according to the preferences of your partner. Granted, it will probably cost as much as needed to procure the equipment, materials or ingredients, but a home-made gift is almost always guaranteed to be more memorable and appreciated over a store bought one.

We particularly recommend these two.


Since this winter has not been as cold as previous ones, and the weather is ideal for spending the day out, there are many green outdoor areas that can be perfect for a customized picnic. Whether in Zamalek’s Al Horreya Garden, Wadi Degla Protectorate, or Helwan’s Japanese Botanical Garden, preparing mini sandwiches, drinks, and a board game can make for a memorable (and romantic) picnic day.

Movie night

One can never get bored of movie nights, but a Valentine’s Day movie night, with your favorite romantic movie, pizza, and some snacks will make this Valentine’s day extra special even with a very low budget. Bonus points if you make some warm hot chocolate to stay warm.

A special mention goes to the numerous romance and comedy movies, in Egyptian cinema, that can be watched on the occasion: the Blazing Sun (1954), She Lived for Love (1958), Cairo Station (1959), Snakes and Ladders (2001), Girls’ love (2004), and Love Story (2019).

Love Story movie poster
Photo credit: Behance

Framing a special picture

Most of us rarely have time to frame our pictures or hang them on the wall, and it can take years for us to make that move simply due to laziness. Before Valentine’s day, pick one of your favorite pictures with your significant other, or a few for a collage, print them, and put them in a beautiful frame. You will only need to pay for the printing and the frame, but the memories that frame will bring will be worth it.

Make a meal from scratch together

It can be tempting to go out and splurge in fancy restaurants, but we live in the DIY age where a meticulously homemade meal can go a long way. One way to make the occasion special is to get together and cook a fancy meal from scratch: recipes of gnocchi (and all kinds of pasta) as well as step-by-step guides for making your own sushi are abundant on the internet and, bar for a few special ingredients, rely on kitchen staples. Pair with wine, or any beverage of your choice, some candles, music and much gusto for a pleasant evening in.

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