Gifts for pets on Valentine’s Day?

I’m not going to be with my sweetheart today, except in spirit (and by phone). That’s because I came back to Phoenix to lend a hand after my son-in-law broke one foot and badly sprained the other.

Since I won’t have a holiday of my own, I’m focusing on other people’s Feb. 14 follies. For example, did you know that some people buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets?

Not making that up. Couldn’t make that up.


According to the personal finance comparison website Finder.com, 28% of people will purchase presents for their dogs and 17 percent will buy for their cats. Anticipated expenditures will be $25 and $21, respectively.

Anybody but me find that weird? Or maybe a little sad? I mean, I get it that you want to treat your animal companions kindly. But it’s not as though the critters will understand that it’s a special day, vs. the other goodies you give during the year.

I also can’t help thinking that this money would serve pet owners better in some other ways. Chief among them would be to build a pet emergency fund for the next time Fido or Fluffy gets sick.

Incidentally, the Finder.com survey also found that as a nation we’ll be putting $17.3 billion on plastic for the holiday. Given how expensive those roses and dinners out can be, I guess I’m not surprised. A little alarmed, maybe, but not surprised.


Valentine’s Day for humans

Buying for a female partner, spouse or significant other? Hope you thought twice about gifting lingerie. At least that’s the advice I got from the Ebates cash-back shopping site.

Nearly six in 10 of respondents who are in relationships, and almost half of singles say that “dinner out” is the way to celebrate on Feb. 14. (It can be hard to get a reservation on Feb. 14, so I hope some of those folks are flexible.) By contrast, 29 percent and 25 percent respectively do not want naughty scanties for Valentine’s Day.

However, just over four in 10 of all respondents believe it would very romantic to get engaged on Valentine’s Day. Here’s hoping that whoever does the asking is pretty sure of the answer if s/he pops the question in a public place. Pretty embarrassing to have to get up off one’s knees and finish out the evening.

As for expressions of romance, the digital marketing site SOASTA says that 79 percent of youths and 71 percent of adults plan to send Valentine’s Day greetings this year. Almost three in 10 married folks (28 percent) will buy cards. However, 40 percent of singles will be doing this through social media. (Sorry, Hallmark.)


Good credit is hot; financial infidelity is not

And this just in from TransUnion: Nearly one-fourth (24 percent) of those surveyed believe that a good credit score makes someone more attractive.

Sounds reasonable to me, especially since smart money management can prevent problems later on. More than one-third (36 percent) of divorced people surveyed by Experian said that their spouses’ credit scores causes marital stress.

In addition, 59 percent said that finances played “at least some” role in the split, and 20 percent said it played “a big role.”

Again, advance communication might help: 71 percent of women and 60 percent of men said their ex-spouses’ spending habits were “different than what they anticipated before they married.” In fact, half the respondents said their spouses ran up debt during the marriage.

Financial disclosure, people: It works. And if you’re afraid to talk about money, spending habits and credit scores while engaged, then maybe you’re not ready to get hitched.

(Edited to add: I forgot to put in the discount! If you want to help your sweetheart (or yourself) be a better steward with available funds, take advantage of a Valentine’s Day discount code for the e-version of “Your Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul.” Go to my PDF store and use the discount code LOVEANDMONEY to save 14 percent. The code is good through the end of the day Feb. 28.)


Love and money

And speaking of disclosure: Some people are awfully good at hiding their financial foul-ups. This can lead to some pretty devastating discoveries later on.

“Financial infidelity” is a thing, and a digital bank called BankMobile offers some tips to help those blinded by love to see a little more clearly:

More month than money. Sometimes this means you aren’t earning enough or you’re living an unsustainable lifestyle. But if you’ve already got a budget in place yet you come up short/can’t get ahead, then it’s time to start looking for the money leak.

Unexplained withdrawals/transfers. Generally couples discuss money matters in advance, e.g., “I need to move cash from savings to checking to pay for the driveway resurfacing.” While you shouldn’t pounce on your partner about an unexpected $5 Starbucks expense on the debit card, you should keep an eye on what’s going on. That is, unless you…

Have no access to financial statements. Unless you’ve gone paperless you should be getting monthly mailings from your bank or credit union. And if you have gone paperless but your partner hasn’t shared them? Problem, especially if it’s a pattern of…

Never talking about money. You and your spouse/partner need to be on the same (ledger) page about your finances. Some people find money talk boring, but guess what? You’re adults, so do it anyway. And if your significant other never brings up the topic and/or changes the subject or is “too busy” to sit down and discuss it, you may really have a problem. You should definitely fear…

Non-answers about money matters. “Let me handle it” or “no problem, it’s all under control” are not acceptable answers to your questions about household finances. Either your partner is avoiding talking about an existing problem or s/he is actively hiding something. Bonus gaslighting points if the love of your life gets defensive, annoyed or angry when you press the issue. 

Okay, readers: How are you celebrating (or not) today?


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  1. Roses for my sister and manicure gift cards for her and her 12 year old daughter. Sister lost her husband to cancer in Dec. and this will be a difficult day for them, so a little special gift this V- day for them.❤️😢

    • Donna Freedman

      So sorry…It must be so hard to mourn your loss while trying to be strong for the daughter who’s mourning, too. The manicure will be a nice little bit of mother-daughter bonding.

      (My 10-year-old nephew likes to go for manicures with his mom. He marches to his own drum, and that drum is FABulous.)

  2. I can’t get over the cute picture of that hamster, ohmygosh. Financial infidelity is very real and is actually very common. I have plenty of friends who brag about their ability to sneak purchases on the sly and not tell their partner about them. That really bothers me. Mr. Picky Pincher and I tell each other everything, finances included. I don’t think it’s healthy to keep money secrets, especially since they affect everyone in the household.
    We’re celebrating Valentine’s in a pretty low-key way. We know the restaurants will be crowded, so we’re cooking a nice seafood dinner at home. Lobster tails were half-off their normal price, so we’re pairing lobster with potatoes and corn. Easy peasy! Afterwards we’re going to the library to rent a movie to watch.

  3. Dinner at home with our 22 year old son, who just started his first “real” job since graduating college. His girlfriend is in her senior year, and was in town over the weekend. He took her out then. We will have steak husband cooks on the grill (bought on sale) baked potatoes and salad. I am making them a heart-shaped cake. To make it really special, we may open a bottle of “two-buck chuck.” I buy my own candy and flowers for half price on the 15th if I want them, and no, the cat is not getting anything!

    • Donna Freedman

      Abby and I are planning a stop at Walgreens as well. Not only do I have some credit on my Balance Rewards card, I also have a discounted Walgreens gift card. We’re gonna party like it’s Feb. 15!

      • Just had a cup of coffee with a couple of pieces of chocolate I bought yesterday at CVS. Russell Stover Private Reserve priced 12.99, paid 2.50 with half-price, coupon and extra bucks. Nothing tastes better than a treat bought cheap!

  4. Got a roast in the crock pot, its stormy here so will be staying at home. Our anniversary is this Saturday so that’s our celebration day-49 yrs!

  5. Tina in NJ

    Since we both have had heart issues the past couple years, we celebrate Valentine’s Day with a heart-healthy chicken stir-fry. We do exchange cards and usually splurge on dessert. I’m thinking ice cream tonight.

  6. My husband and I aren’t really doing anything this year. We have our son to think about (he’s 3) and money is super tight right lately and we have each other and that’s enough for me.

  7. I am getting my hair done…over due by 2 weeks. I have a husband that is pretty easy going. I baked cookies on Sunday for him with M&M conversation hearts and decorated a nice little tray. He bought be home flowers last night and a card. I gave him a card and candy this morning. I will cook dinner before my appointment for us.

    Mailed my daughter & son-in-law truffles and chocolate covered strawberries delivered yesterday. My son received a massage when he was home last week.

    Just love the simple life 🙂

  8. Dinner’s already in the slow cooker – potatoes, onions and smoked sausage. Normally we’d be staying in, but the second Tuesday of each month there is a Celtic music jam session at a nearby coffee house. We’re bringing a friend whose husband is working, too.

    We’ve had a tradition since the kids were young of buying every human in the family a small box of Valentine chocolates. MrH couldn’t find the $1 boxes this year, so we splurged on the $3 boxes. The cats are getting nothing, nor do they seem concerned.

  9. I’m with you, Donna. It’s never even occurred to me to do something for a pet on Valentine’s Day. I never got them anything for Christmas, either. ;o)
    Have a lovely Valentine’s Day with DF.

  10. Oh, sorry about that, Donna. I’d forgotten that you are in AZ! Have a lovely day with Abby and Tim.

  11. I got an amazing career break today–an article I wrote will be published in the most prestigious newspaper in America–and even though I’m fairly unhappily single (still not over my estranged husband) bought myself some prosecco to celebrate. A friend at work gave me a box of chocolate truffles, which I gave to my daughter (not into sweets), and I probably would have purchased treats/toys for my pets if I’d thought of it.

  12. Although I do give my kids some candy to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’m glad I’m not the only one here who shops for 1/2 price candy the day after. 😉

  13. I bought my puppy a $3 Valentine’s Day gift. She’s my first dog and I like getting her presents. It’s fun for the both of us. She doesn’t need to understand it’s a holiday to enjoy her toy and I get satisfaction seeing her happy. Exactly what is weird or sad about that?

  14. I bought my puppy a $3 Valentine’s Day gift. She’s my first dog and I like getting her presents. It’s fun for the both of us. She doesn’t need to understand it’s a holiday to enjoy her toy and I get satisfaction seeing her happy. Exactly what is weird or sad about that?

    • Donna Freedman

      Valentine’s Day has always been about romantic love, typically between adults although kids like to give cards to their classmates. Giving gifts to a pet feels to me like those greeting cards you can give “from the cat” or “from me and the dog” — just a little too anthropomorphic for my tastes.

      Your mileage, of course, may vary.

  15. Jacqui B.

    My hubby and I picked up a pre-made meal at one of those Dinner’s Ready places and stopped for a Redbox. Dinner and a movie for about $20. 😊

  16. My poor rabbits must feel so left out, haha!!!

  17. Our cat got a special bowl of inexpensive cat chow(she prefers it to what we feed her) and some fresh catnip from the garden. Might as well treat her while we’re cooking our dinner. I know she has no idea why, but it was fun for me.

  18. Seamus lucked into an extra half sardine because I was feeling magnanimous but not because of Valentine’s Day. We had just made it through a busier than usual day but everyone was still in good moods by dinnertime. I can’t really remember the last time we did anything for Valentine’s Day.

  19. We were away from each on Valentine’s day because of a business trip, so flowers, chocolate and pizza rolls when I got home. He received Valentine’s Day beer.

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