Valentine’s Day Financial Tips
Regardless of whether you’re single or in a relationship, if you like Valentine’s Day or you hate it, there is some pressure and expectations surrounding the day that can be stressful. For those who are single, many feel the pressure to be in a relationship or actively be looking for one, and may feel as though they need to attempt to just ‘get through’ the day. For couples, there are expectations to have the perfect romantic evening together.
These pressures place a significant financial (and emotional!) burden on some individuals regardless of their relationship status. Couples feel obligated to buy roses (which are more expensive on this day) and other gifts and go out for a fancy meal, while those who are single are often encouraged toward self-indulgence – such as getting a massage or treating themselves to a weekend away.
Managing your finances on Valentine’s Day
Here are some tips on effectively managing your finances around Valentine’s Day:
1. Identify your beliefs, assumptions and expectations.
Start by articulating your beliefs and assumptions around Valentine’s Day. Then challenge them.
Be honest with yourself. Do you think you have to take your partner out for a fancy expensive dinner for them to know how much you love them? Do you worry your partner will be disappointed if they don’t get an expensive gift? Articulate the thoughts that compel you to overspend on Valentine’s, and then challenge those thoughts. Ask yourself are those thoughts accurate? Are they valid? Check-in with your partner and ask them if they feel or expect what you may be assuming they do.
2. Create a budget.
It’s amazing how often people don’t do the obvious – speak openly about how much they are going to spend on Valentine’s Day. Often we get caught up in assumption or perceived expectation of what we think the other person wants or expects, and then end up overspending on unneeded and unnecessary items. So talk openly about this; speak to your partner about what you would each like to do, and set (and stick to) a Valentine’s Day budget. Be realistic in this and keep in mind, Valentine’s is ultimately just another day.
3. Be creative in planning activities.
Generate fun, low-cost activities you can do with your partner. The overarching aim is to spend time together on this day. Make a special dinner at home; turn off all technology (cell phones, TVs, computers) and just focus on each other; go for a long walk; take a day off work, and spend the day in bed cuddling and watching movies. Do something you might not do on another day. The day can be meaningful and highly memorable in the absence of fancy dinners or extravagant gifts.
4. Give low or no-cost gifts.
Make a pact to spend no or little money on gifts. If you have a talent, use it! Write a love letter (handwritten). Write a poem or a song or make a photobook.
5. Remember: love is not defined or communicated by material goods.
In this day and age of consumerism, it’s easy to get caught up and feel the pressure of having to buy something as a symbol of our love. Keep in mind that how much you love, care for and adore another is not related to what you buy them! Our love is communicated by making someone feel special and important to you: so do something that communicates that to your partner.
It’s important to take time out of our busy lives to spend quality time with our partners, but doing so doesn’t have to be expensive. And it doesn’t even necessarily have to be on Valentine’s Day where there are so many expectations (and flowers are so much more expensive!). If you are going to plan something special for Valentine’s Day this year, have an open conversation with your partner about expectations, be creative and set a budget. Love is so much more than consumerism tells us it should be.
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