The flip side, is that these ‘acts of love’ on Valentine’s Day often involve money, and sometimes - lots of it. In fact, reports* indicate that total consumer spending over this period is expected to reach reach $19.6 billion this year, and that’s just in the US alone. However, South African consumers too, have a habit of pushing their budgets and bank balances to the limit – all in the name of ‘love’. 

It is very easy to get carried away over this period, especially where brands are pushing Valentine’s Day messages and placing items on sale, at every turn. Winnie Kunene, financial psychologist and a trustee on the board of 1Life’s Truth About Money initiative shares a few tips to keep in mind when approaching your spending this Valentine’s Day:

Keep it all within your budget

Ah, budgeting - that monthly exercise you do every month, to help keep track of your finances. Well, it should be no different when looking for gifts and experiences to treat your loved ones with on Valentine’s Day. Better yet, be honest with yourself when shopping for gifts, and ask yourself “Can I really afford this”? If not, move on, compare prices and look for gifts within your allocated budget.

Speak to your partner

As a couple, it’s important that you are open and honest about your finances with each other. Similar to the limits that people often set for Secret Santa gift exchanges, as a couple you can challenge each other to commit to spoiling each other within a certain budget, for example. This amount should be realistic, and within each person’s realm of affordability. By having this discussion, you are also able to remove the unnecessary financial pressures that we put on ourselves over this period.

Get creative

Valentine’s Day provides ample opportunity to think outside of the box. Think of ways that you can cut back on your spending, and then use those funds towards something else. If you have a knack for cooking for example, why not prepare dinner at home for your better half, instead of spending an arm and a leg at a restaurant on the day?  The internet is a great place for you to draw recipe inspiration from, so use it to your advantage. To capture the full dining out experience, you can even design your own personalised menu online, and present this to your partner on the day. This way, you can use the funds saved on dinner towards something else, like a gift.

Move your Valentine’s Day out

Believe it or not, after-Valentine’s Day sales are a reality! And, most of the items available in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, can be bought at a discounted rate. So, as a couple, why not make the decision to celebrate your Valentine’s Day after the 14th, which allows you to be able to treat each other, for less?

Love may be in the air this month, but don’t break the bank in celebrating the occasion. Remember, it doesn’t matter how much your Valentine’s Day gift for your partner costs, or doesn’t cost, as they say - ‘it’s the thought that counts’.