2/14/18

SMS Tried and True Valentine's Day Tips

If you've lost track of time, Valentine's day is here! Don't worry, if you're a chronic procrastinator or just plain forgot to pick up your flowers and chocolates, you still have time, and Smart Money Seed is here to help.

For many, Valentine's Day is a good excuse to do a little something extra for that special someone. A dinner, a movie, flowers, or even just a small box of chocolates are some of the most battle tested gifts. Others celebrate the holiday with even bigger gifts such as jewelry, gift cards, or vacations. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some folks choose not to celebrate the holiday altogether.

No matter where you fall on the Valentine's Day gift giving spectrum, there are still some steps you can take to make sure you're spending your money wisely. Here are Smart Money Seed's top 4 tips for this Valentine's Day.
If you decide to go to Disney for Valentine's Day,
find an awesome brother-in-law to get you in the park
for free and take care of lodging! (Thank Matt!!)

1. Set Expectations

I'm not a marriage counselor, but after 7+ years of dating (and engaged for a month and half) I've learned that setting expectations for any sort of gift giving is crucial. Just like we talked about in our Holiday Budgeting Podcast, no one wants to be on either end of a lopsided gift exchange. 

I highly recommend making it a habit to talk with your significant other before the big holiday's to make sure you have some alignment. You don't want to just get her a box of chocolates if she plans on buying you a PS4. If you're still not quite sure what I'm talking about, check out this clip from The Office

2. Think Original

Doing something "original" (i.e. making dinner at home rather than eating out) gives you the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: 

1. Save some cash (after all, this is a personal finance blog!)
2. Make the gift more meaningful

A trip to Hawaii is about as original as
it gets! But the small stuff can count
just (or almost) the same.
Making a nice dinner at home can give you a great sense of pride, and as we mentioned in our Grocery Store Hacks post, it can save you quite a bit of money. Most restaurants are packed on Valentine's Day, and it's not uncommon for a couple to spend $100 on food and drinks. If you cut this bill in half (or maybe even in thirds), I'm pretty confident I would have enough to head over to the grocery store and get some steaks, mashed potatoes, dessert, and a bottle of wine. Plus if you anything like us, we already go out to fairly often. Celebrating at home adds a personal touch that can help make the experience more meaningful.

Ultimately, your significant other doesn't care about the dinner or the chocolates. What she or he cares about is the effort you show in planning your date and doing something thoughtful for her or him. In many cases, gifts that costs no extra money such as cooking dinner or doing the dishes can be worth much more value to your significant other than a $100 dinner.


3. Celebrate After February 14th

This tip is pretty straightforward, but it can definitely save you some cash! Whether you are planning for a night in or night out, restaurants, stores, and flower shops are banking on your Valentine's Day purchases on the days leading up to the holiday. Some restaurants will even hike their prices on Valentine's Day because they know they will get the demand (another reason you should consider making dinner at home).

Once the holiday passes, stores are ready to get rid of their Valentine's Day inventory and restaurants are done with their over-priced specials. Instead of celebrating on the 14th, try doing something a few days later to avoid those price spikes.

It's okay to eat hot dogs while your friends eat steak.

4. Don't Keep Up With The Joneses

Maybe just avoid your Instagram and Snapchat for the next few days. Your Instagram feed will be flooded with pictures of diamonds, puppies, and everything in between. If you want to get your significant other a diamond or a puppy, go for it. If not, don't feel the pressure to do something that doesn't make sense for your life just because your friends are doing it. Keeping up with the Joneses is a quick way to land yourself in consumer debt hell.










Disclaimer: Smart Money Seed is run by three dudes, and this post has not been vetted by our significant others. I repeat, this is a Valentine's Day advice article written by guys; please use this information at your own discretion. With that said, we've each been able to keep our significant other's around for years!


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