That is, it will cost more if you’re an “average” consumer. According to the National Retail Federation, the tab will run $142.31.
That’s $8.40 more than last year, and a lot more than we plan to shell out. How about you?
Total spending is estimated at $18.9 billion (yes, with a “b”) on flowers, candy, jewelry and other gifts. Of course, no one really has to spend that unless he or she really wants to do so. Inexpensive or free ways abound to celebrate the day o’ love, such as:
- “Leave stick-it notes around the house; write the things you love about her on them.” (Kyle James, “Valentine’s Day: Make it affordably awesome this year,” Rather-Be-Shopping.com)
- “Give her a get-out-of jail-free card, as it were — good for one time — where you promise not to notice or complain when she screws up. Give a gift certificate for her to take a night out with her friends while you stay home and take care of the kids. Give her a gift certificate for a bubble bath while you vacuum and do the laundry. Or take one of her dirty and least-favorite jobs off her hands — cleaning and detailing the car, for example.” (“10 inexpensive Valentine gifts that will rock her world,” MoneyTalksNews.com)
- “Use a soap bar to rub a love message on the mirrors or use a lipstick to do the same.” (MyDearValentine.com) If you do this, make it clear you plan to clean these missives off the mirror yourself. Then follow through.
- “Some people like to go to the card store together and pick out cards, then read them to each other. Pick a funny card and a sweet card. Then, when you’re done, just put the cards back. A fun outing and doesn’t cost a thing.” (Emily Guy Birken, “80 ridiculously cheap (and creative) Valentine’s Day ideas,” PT Money)
- “Create a website. You can use Google Sites or any other free website and add cute Valentine’s Day clip art, a poem and some photos. Then, email it to them. This is a great gift if you have a long-distance relationship, and it’s free too.” (FunTimesGuide.com)
- Don’t have a spouse or partner? See “How to celebrate Valentine’s Day alone,” on the Bargain Briana website.
- Or go the snarky route, as my daughter did one year: “In the past, when I was single, I was a big fan of the anti-Valentine’s Day. One year, I rented ‘Saw’ and made a bunch of spaghetti and had a friend over. We figured it was appropriate for Valentine’s Day because the sauce was red… and so was the blood in the film.” (IPickUpPennies.net)
Note: The examples/articles noted above tend to focus on women. But most of these ideas work for men, too.
Why limit ourselves?
As I’ve said before, this “prove your devotion by spending a lot!” stuff leaves me cold. That goes for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas, too.
Think for a moment about who’s warning you about the need to find the “perfect” gift: Why, it’s the folks who propose to sell you those gifts!
To be clear: You can spend more than $142.31 if you like. Lots more, even. Just do it intentionally, not because you’ve been guilted into thinking that price tags = proof of love.
Right now DF is trying to pare down stuff, not accumulate more of it. Both he and I are reining in spending of all types, in order to have some other things we want.
For me, that’s three trips in the next three months. Two of the plane tickets are being done via buddy passes (90 percent off) and bunking with family and the other (speaking at the New Media Expo conference in Las Vegas) – is a business expense. Even so, I’m going to need walking-around money in all those places and I’ll also need to take my hosts out to dinner as a thank-you gesture.
Here’s what I expect to spend on Feb. 14: zero dollars. Or, rather, relatively few sunk-cost dollars: We’ll fix a nice dinner with what we have on hand, listen to “Saturday Night at the Opera,” maybe play cribbage or Scrabble, maybe just read a lot. I actually do have a card for him, but only because Hallmark Crown Rewards sent me a couple to entice me to buy more.
No matter what we do, we’ll remember how lucky we are to have each other. But we do that the other 364 days a year, too. Why set aside just one square on the calendar to recognize love?
Readers: What, if anything, are you doing to mark the holiday?