Is Valentine’s Day about love or money? My heart tells me it should be about love and appreciation for those who matter most to us, but the facts show that Valentine’s Day is truly big business and a billion dollar industry. According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers are expected to fork over almost $17.6 billion this year on Valentine’s gifts for their loved ones. That’s $17.6 billion spent on one day — in the name of love.
The Valentine’s Day Factor
The smart marketers have us scrambling to empty our wallets in order to show just how much we love someone, which explains why Valentine’s Day has become one of the largest retail holidays of the year.
I’m not trying to be a Valentine’s Day scrooge, but it’s estimated that the average woman will spend about $74 and the average man will spend $160 on the holiday. For a moment, let’s assume you’re not even close to average and that you’ll double this amount. Together, that’s more than $500 that you and your sweetheart will spend (or have already spent) for a retail-manufactured day of love.
Maybe this year it would be smart to think about your Valentine’s Day Factor — sort of like my Latte Factor only on steroids.
The Grinch That Stole Valentine’s Day?
I’m not for a second suggesting that you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. I’m both a romantic and a realist, and you have to celebrate the holiday if you have a significant other (you’d better not forget your mom or grandmother, either).
However, this Valentine’s Day I want you to ask yourself, “How can I make this holiday meaningful and memorable?” Because, honestly, do you even remember what you gave or received last year?
I challenge you to express your true feelings with gifts from the heart rather than from the wallet. And if you’ve already bought Valentine’s Day presents for your special someone, that’s OK — shower them with both kinds of gifts this year and remember my advice for next year.
This Valentine’s Day, try loving rich with gifts that can’t be bought with money. Experience true romance by making a meaningful connection with the person you love, and in the process deepen your relationship and create a lasting memory.
Three Heartfelt Tips
So, to help, I want to share with you my top three heartfelt tips that go above and beyond a price tag to help you create a truly rich relationship this Valentine’s Day.
1. Express your feelings in writing
You don’t have to be a professional writer to craft a truly meaningful love note. There simply is no such thing as a poorly written love note. But if you need help, here are some suggestions.
Write a love letter that tells your loved one just how much they mean to you. But don’t just write to write; take a few moments to put your heart and soul into it.
Dig down and convey what you’re truly feeling. If you lost the person you love (and this could be anyone, not just a significant other), what would you wish you’d told them?
Don’t wait until it’s too late. You’ll be giving a gift that literally costs nothing, and if this simple gesture is all you do this Valentine’s Day, it will mean more than any store-bought card, box of chocolates, or bouquet of flowers ever could.
2. Make a home-cooked meal.
I’m going against tradition with this advice, but in my opinion Valentine’s Day is about the worst possible night of the year to eat out. Restaurants are packed (it’s one of the busiest days of the year for them), the menus are often prix fixe, the prices are inflated, and the staff is overworked.
So this year, stay home and prepare a meal instead. It can be as simple or as elegant as you’d like. Make it special with a cozy table setting, candles, and music. If you don’t cook, then plan a simple picnic in front of the fireplace. Or maybe you could snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie. Turn down the lights, pour two glasses of wine, and settle in for a relaxing evening.
Finally, it’s the perfect time to give your sweetheart the love letter you wrote. Better yet, read it aloud to them!
3. Dream about the future together.
Nothing strengthens a relationship more than having a dream you work on together as a team. Talk about your dreams together, and spend your Valentine’s Day planning your future.
Maybe your dream is to take an exotic trip. Visit one of the popular travel web sites to research destinations and costs, and have some fun planning it together. Or maybe you want to start saving to buy your first home. Sit down at the computer together and go on a few virtual home tours. Envision the kind of house you see yourselves in. Finally, if a vacation home is your future, use the Internet to find that perfect island getaway that you hope to someday own.
Then take the money you would have spent on each other for Valentine’s Day and make a deposit into your dream savings account instead. Work together to save for your dreams and you’ll find that they soon become a reality.
For Love and Money
I started this by asking if Valentine’s Day is about love or money. In truth, it’s about both — but the truth is, it was what you make it.
This year, I say make Valentine’s Day more love-based and less spending-based. You may be surprised by just how rich it makes you and your loved ones feel. Let me know how you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this year and comment below!