Have you recently been bombarded with ads and suggestions for Valentine’s Day? While the origins of Valentine’s Day may have been different, today it is primarily a commercial observance. Consumers are accosted with ideas to show their loved ones how much they care by buying things they don’t normally purchase.
If you have debt (besides a mortgage and car loan that are up to date) or no emergency savings, you have no business buying gifts for yourself or anyone else. Even if your finances are in order, I propose that we consider what we want our Valentine’s Day to be and find three words that fit which do not require us to be consumers.
The three words most of us think of are “I love you.” Valentine’s Day is a perfect opportunity to express our gratitude and love. Write a note, letter, or if you have the talent, a song or poem to express your love. As a family, you might create a play or have a talent show! Or you could design a “newspaper” to send to other loved ones.
“No, thank you” is appropriate when someone asks if you want something for Valentine’s Day. You can follow that with the suggestion that we don’t need to give each other gifts for this consumer holiday. I think this works best when we are secure in our relationships and make ongoing efforts to show each other we care in ways that matter to the other person.
When someone asks what you want, “I have everything” is suitable. If you feel they will want something anyway, this might be a good time to discuss your budget or a goal you are saving towards. Is another tie or red hand towel that you wouldn’t have bought otherwise important enough to delay something else you need or want?
I’m not suggesting that you ignore Valentine’s Day completely (unless you want to.) There are lots of things we can do without spending more money. “Let’s play UNO”, or whatever games you have, can give you some fun time together.
If you and your loved one are trying to get healthier, “let’s go walking” (or hiking, biking, skating, etc.) could be a great option to spend time together while working on another goal. You can plan your path to stop and take photos to commemorate the day.
If one person in the household typically does most of the cooking, “let’s cook together” similarly gives us time together. Try recipes you wouldn’t tackle on your own, like one with lots of steps or ingredients. While you experiment together, others can help with “clean as you go,” learn how to help, and maybe take over some of the kitchen duties.
If none of these are quite right for you, start with “let’s try…” or “how about…” to find your own idea. Be open to experimenting. Remember to have fun! Give lots of hugs and kisses. And maybe have some leftovers ready in case that recipe didn’t turn out.
What’s your favorite whealthy way to celebrate the day?
Virginia Asher, MSAFP, CFP®
My whealthiness journey has taught me that there is not one single way for us to live a prosperous life. I'll share what I've learned to help you find your way.