It doesn’t matter if it’s the first or forty-first year you get to celebrate February 14 with your significant other. If you’re on a tight budget, then you always dread the big day. Though Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about your commitment to the bae, your feelings have been commercialized by big business. You’re expected to demonstrate your love by showering your special someone with gifts, but your wallet isn’t always as full as your heart, making the holiday a very tricky one!
Between the gifts to unwrap, a special dinner for two, and an evening out on the town, Valentine’s Day can throw your budget out of whack. While the average lovebird plans to spend nearly $137 on their special someone, your finances make it hard to reach that standard. You’re lucky if you can spend $37! If your wallet can’t take another bill on the big day, then take a deep breath. Here are four ways you can ease the financial impact of next year’s Valentine’s Day.
- Don’t make assumptions
When you let yourself build the holiday up in your mind, it’s easy to assume that your grand expectations on your wallet match up with your honey’s. Most often than nought, they’re experiencing the same anxiety about how to celebrate as you are. It’s important that you address V-day before your imagination runs wild with your budget.
Conversations about money are hard, especially when the relationship is still new, but your discomfort will be worth it. If you don’t talk about the holiday, both of you may feel forced to spend more and rely on your credit cards to celebrate. When you have an honest discussion about what you both want out of the 14th, you can arrive at plans that satisfy both your expectations and budgets.
- Plan ahead
Like most other big holidays, Valentine’s Day gets its very own day, and each year, it falls on the 14th. If you’re in a committed relationship, then you can expect this holiday to pop up every February from now on. You need to start treating it like you do any other holiday or regular expense. You budget for your rent, groceries, and cell phone bill. Now it’s time you do the same for the 14th.
Last-minute preparations won’t fit your tight budget. When you’re low on cash, you need to plan early to accommodate Valentine’s Day. Once you give yourself months to save up, you can cut out little unnecessary purchases, like takeout or drinks at a bar, and put the money you’d spend on them into your V-day fund. When you give yourself more time to do this, you won’t have to be as strict about your budget. You can cut your takeout budget in half and still arrive in February with enough cash.
If you don’t order takeout or you don’t drink, finding these purchases to eliminate can be difficult. That’s where a household budget comes in. This financial plan will outlinehow your money is moving over a typical month. You’ll be able to identify spending habits that prevent you from spoiling your special someone in the black and white of your Excel spreadsheet, so you won’t have to wonder where you need to cutback to celebrate your love.
- Find a deal or two
Paying full price for a costly item (let’s say a 1 carat diamond ring or an all-inclusive trip) is only sexy when you can afford it. If you have to risk your finances by relying on credit cardsto celebrate Valentine’s, then the romance is lost. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck buying knock-offs and booking budget trips forever.
You can spoil your honey with seemingly expensive gifts once you use websites like Yipit, Groupon, and Woot. These services offer up coupons and other promotions on popular gift items and trips. If you spend a little bit of time searching their databases, you may find 50 percent off the cost of your present, a discount on a dinner for two, or a reduction on a love-inspired outing. Or all three.
- Think about your finances
Chances are Valentine’s Day isn’t the only thing your tight budget struggles with. If the average spending of V-day throws you for a loop, then any household or medical emergency could spell disaster for your finances. Let your anxiety of the love holiday serve as an important wakeup call. Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t healthy. If you do, you need to get financial help to avoid debt in the future should you ever have to face an emergency on your own.
Valentine’s Day can be an awkward day of the year if your budget doesn’t match the love you feel for your sweetie. It’s easy to overspend buying the gifts they deserve, but don’t let Cupid blind you to the financial realities of the holiday. Use this guide to limit your spending without sacrificing on the treats you share with your partner. With the right communication, savings, and deals, you may just be able to pamper your loved one on a budget.