MANILA, Philippines – Valentine’s Day is a double-edged sword.
The occasion has the power to make you happy (and relieved) that you're with someone special. It can also make you feel disappointed that you are alone. If you're in an unsatisfying relationship, that can also become painfully apparent during the season.
The season can also make you apprehensive about social media platforms. Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? No way are you touching them the next few days!
With the sudden peaks of valleys of emotions that are common during this holiday come the temptations to also behave erratically when it comes to your spending habits.
Remember: romance may be the spark that sets the relationship burning, but reality is the balance that makes sure nothing really burns to the ground.
Let’s talk about some common situations couples may find themselves in during this season:
1. “It’s fine to splurge as much as I want today. Valentine’s Day is only once a year!”
A surprise trip to Paris, a lavish buffet dinner for two at a 5-star hotel or an amusement park rented for the day so that only the two of you can enjoy it together are some ostentatious examples of romantic celebrations. Right?
Sure, what you did is going to be a big hit on Facebook and people are going to talk about you. On the other hand, it’s going to be a big hit on your bank savings account, too.
A relationship built on a shaky foundation of expensive dates and luxurious trips is only going to last for a while (unless you’re a billionaire, and even then there's no guarantee).
Before Valentine’s Day, talk with your partner and agree on a spending limit for your celebration. You might say, “But that’s not romantic!”
Even mid-priced gifts in high volumes take their toll on your back account.
2. “Love, I want (insert expensive item here) as a present. If you love me, you’ll buy it for me...”
Getting 50 boxes of Belgian chocolates, being showered with 12 bouquets of roses, and receiving any other high-priced item as gifts are some people's idea of romance. The higher the price is, the more you’re loved, right?
Valentine’s Day isn’t about who got the better gift or who spent the bigger amount.
It’s not a competition for love.
It’s a celebration of love. And who says love is about comparison, anyway?
You know what’s romantic and practical? Spend time, not money.
Why don’t you and your partner try something that's new to you both? If you always go to the same restaurant, try a new one. If you go out all the time, cook and stay in. If you're always low-key, head out for a night on the town. Avoid the excesses that people often indulge in then feel guilty over later.
3. “Let’s enjoy this, okay? To be honest, I borrowed money from (friend/relative) because this day is special.”
Aw, your partner borrowed money from a close friend just so the both of you can spend Valentine’s together? This is incredibly sweet. You’re so lucky to have a brave and thoughtful partner – right?
There are several reasons why a person had to borrow money just to spend Valentine’s. Maybe this person:
Whatever the reason is, borrowing money is never romantic. It’s messy, it’s complicated and it can even affect relationships.
You and your partner should equally contribute to the celebration, based on your income. If the total amount for your date is P5,000, for example, split it accordingly.
Don’t just let one person take on the whole bill!
Now, if one party can't afford to shell out much cash, agree to the V-day plans beforehand so you both know what to expect.
Look around for ways to cut costs. Some websites offer great Valentine's promotions. Take a road trip instead of the vacation that requires air travel. Get creative. Don’t let money be an issue.
4. “Good thing I have my credit card! Sky's the limit.”
You have your magical plastic card with you, so anything you want to buy, eat or use is just a swipe away. You’re living the dream.
Let’s be clear: using your credit card for convenience is okay. This is provided that you can easily pay the full balance on time – you just don’t want to carry a lot of cash with you.
However, using your credit card compulsively at every opporunity is not okay. This means that you didn’t plan or prepare beforehand, and you are putting yourself in danger for debt that will hound you all year.
Valentine’s Day happens every year. It’s not an unexpected occasion! You have plenty of time to plan the budget, and whether or not it's going to be a big deal for you. From March to January, set aside a monthly amount solely for your Valentine’s celebration – if that's really what you want.
This applies to you even if you’re single – who knows, you might fall in love along the way, right?
Couples, note your relationship stage. Sure, the longer you've been dating, usually, the grander the gift. But if there are money troubles, parties in a long-term relationship will understand that the way you celebrate the holiday doesn't make any sweeping statements about you or your compatibility.
Don’t let Valentine’s Day pressure you into making irrational decisions.
Sure, people say and do crazy things in love.
But if you say and do crazy things most of the time, things won't turn out so great for you financially, and that doesn't look good at all for any relationship. – Rappler.com
Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya writes to enlighten you and empower you to take charge of your finances. As a financial advisor, Lianne is also the founder of The Wise Living, a website dedicated to money management and early investing for 20-somethings. She's also the author of OMG! Where Did Your Sweldo Go? Connect with her on Twitter, @MsLianneLaroya or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.