The Economics of Valentine’s Day

Posted on February 2, 2017

Valentine’s Day is an annual reminder that dating can be really expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are five ways to avoid common relationship money blunders.

  1. Don’t buy roses in February. Florists will move an estimated 250 million roses for Valentine’s Day this year. One dozen long-stemmed red roses was estimated by  CBS News to increase by up to 50 percent during the time leading up to February 14. So if you’re cost-conscious, consider letting your significant other off the hook next week or ask for tulips instead.
  2. Ditto for jewelry. Christmas through Valentine’s Day is high season for jewelers, so they’re much less inclined to let you haggle. Consider waiting until March to score a better deal on diamonds.
  3. Date cheaply without looking cheap. According to a 2011 ING Direct survey, men spend an average of $1,200 annually on dating, and women spend approximately half that in a year. But there are plenty of free ways to spend a memorable evening, just be creative. Also, GetRichSlowly.org offers its tips for dating on a dime.
  4. Get on the same budgetary page. Once a relationship becomes serious, you may start to wonder if one of you is a spender and one a saver. You can still be a match made in heaven, provided you keep the lines of communication open and find middle ground. The most important thing is that you be honest with one another — that means no hiding purchases and no forbidding the spendthrift in your relationship of his or her fun money.
  5. Set common goals. Never be afraid to talk to your partner about how you should handle money, both in the present and the future. One of you has to handle the monthly bill paying; which one should it be? And if you’re planning to retire early, what are the steps you’re taking to achieve that? As Atlantic columnist Megan McArdle wrote about couples: “[I]f you do it right, the reward is that you have another person in the same boat, rowing as hard as they can towards your common goals.”

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