Struck by cupid’s arrow and love-drunk, it’s easy to lose sight of your budget on the most romantic day of the year. You’re willing to empty out your pockets and fill up your credit cards to prove just how much you love your special someone on Valentine’s Day. Before you know it, your attempts at pampering can leave you with a serious hole in your budget.
There’s nothing romantic about being in debt. Once you remove the rose-tinted, heart-shaped glasses of the holiday, the harsh reality of your finances sinks in. When you overindulge in gifts and expensive dinners, you may find it hard to cover your usual responsibilities like rent and utilities. If you can’t pay for your regular bills after this Valentine’s Day, you know you can’t repeat the same mistakes next February.
But how can just one day ruin an entire budget? The answer is a little more complex than you think.
Cost breakdowns: cupid’s bow goes straight for your wallet
It may be just one day, but its cost can rival even the biggest holidays of the year as overspending is excused in the name of love. At the start of 2017, Bankrate listed the average cost of the typical loved-themed gifts in their Be My Valentine Index. According to their master price list, a gift basket of classic V-Day presents could put you back almost $600.
To put this into perspective, the average American spends roughly $900 on the lead up to Christmas, which includes entertaining family and friends over several days. If you’re intent on creating the ultimate Valentine’s gift, then you could spend two-thirds of what it takes to fuel the holidays!
Not everyone is willing to create a Valentine’s Day basket filled with diamond jewellery, champagne, and roses as was featured in Bankrate’s Index, but that doesn’t mean you’ll avoid the true cost of the holiday. Other more modest projections set the day’s spending at nearly $140 per person — which is enough to hurt those on limited budgets.
Valentine’s Day can break a failing budget
While the day itself can be expensive, cupid’s bow can only pierce through a budget that’s already indanger. When nearly two-thirds of the country doesn’t use a budget at all, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that lackluster budgets are the country’s new standard.
CareerBuilder, an online employment website, surveyed more than 2,000 hiring and human resource managers and over 3,000 full-time workers in the spring of last year. Their study revealed 78 percent of those polled live paycheck to paycheck. This means after paying their bills, they have no money remaining to put into an emergency fund.
That explains why the nation has difficulty setting aside savings. GOBanking Rates, an online resource for personal finance, conducted its own study and found over two-thirds of Americans can’t cover an emergency that costs $500 or more without help.
If they’re lucky, they’re able to find the best way to borrow money for their financial situation, so they can pay for any emergency that comes their way. But not everyone can find strategic personal loans or lines of credit. Nearly 71 percent of those surveyed by CareerBuilder admit to having debt, and 56 percent of respondents admit their debt is uncontrollable.
Know your wallet’s bounds, even if your love knows none
If those studies mentioned above paint an accurate depiction of your own finances, don’t let your love blind you to the fact that you have nothing to spend on your special someone. Talk to them about your financial capabilities before the 14th. Your partner will appreciate your honesty, even if it means they’re losing out on an expensive diamond ring. But to be fair, they’re probably not expecting one, since they already know you aren’t exactly raking in as much cash as Beyoncé, the newly crowned highest-earning woman in music with a whopping $105 million!
Your cash conversation doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate the holiday of love next year. Open up a new tab and look up inexpensive ways you can spoil your loved one. Some simple cheap yet thoughtful gifts could include helping them complete a huge chore they’ve been putting off for a while, cooking them a homemade meal of their favorite dishes, or taking them to one of the free events listed in your local paper.
These small yet meaningful gestures demonstrate your true feelings better than any big purchase can because of the time and effort that went into them. More importantly, all the above suggestions rely on spending quality time with your sweetheart in ways that won’t threaten your budget, so take the time to find creative ways to spoil your special someone.
Spend with your brain and not your heart next Valentine’s Day to avoid the effects of love on your budget.Try to see beyond the obligation you feel around the 14th, and show your partner how you feel without spending over your limit. If you do it right, you can celebrate the big day without breaking your tight budget.