How much should you spend on Valentine39s Day And how

How much should you spend on Valentine's Day? And how you can get it terribly wrong… Money psychotherapist VICKY REYNAL reveals all

My dear friend Val was horrified when Carl, whom she had just started dating, hired an a cappella quartet in striped suits and straw hats to show up at her office on Valentine's Day and sing for her.

Well, Carl was a brave man, because surely everyone would consider this a great risk: would Val be carried away by this romantic, original and expensive gesture?

Or, as it turned out, did she want the ground to swallow her? She called me for an emergency coffee date and asked: Was he funny or sadistic? Is he romantic or crazy?

Valentine's Day presents an opportunity to express our love or interest in someone through a gesture – usually with a price tag.

Vicky Reynal says: “Your generosity doesn’t necessarily have to be financial: we can show generosity by investing time in preparing something special.”

Vicky Reynal says, “Your generosity doesn’t just have to be financial: we can show generosity by investing time in preparing something special.”

However, for many it is a stressful day as they try to question what their partner expects (to avoid disappointment or conflict!) and risk overspending unnecessarily. So how do we decide what's appropriate on Valentine's Day?

If you are thinking about “making it big,” I invite you to ask yourself: Why? Quantifying what is “big” is impossible because it is subjective, but when you think about the choice you will know at some level whether it is an exaggerated result. Stop and ask yourself: What do you hope to achieve from this gift? What do you think this gift will “buy”?

Are you hoping to buy love with a big, expensive gift? Are you hoping it makes up for your emotional unavailability (or are you whispering it – maybe even your lack of sex drive?)

What if, at the beginning of a romance, you want to impress someone with a flourish: do you hope that the ticket price of your Valentine's gift will distract him from your shortcomings or make up for them?

Or are you the type of person who hopes that Valentine's Day comes and goes and your partner doesn't notice because you actually prefer to save money, don't believe in “business holidays” and resent overpaying for flowers?

A few words of caution if this is you – because even though you may save money by buying flowers, you may be paying a heavy emotional price for this approach without proper communication with your partner.

I invite you to consider two things when making this choice on Valentine's Day: your intentions and your partner's expectations.


On V-Day, be clear about where you stand. Are you hoping you don't have to celebrate?

Or do you see it as an opportunity to share something with your partner? In the latter case, it is important to be very clear about what you want to express: is it your love, gratitude, appreciation for your partner? Or are you buying an “I’m sorry” gift?

Perhaps you want to rekindle the spark that has faded in your marriage, or you express a desire to further develop the relationship with the person you have been casually dating.

Being clear about your intention can help you decide how much to spend on a gift: If you want to rekindle an old spark, it may be more effective to do so through a thoughtful gift gesture to do (e.g. revisiting the location of your first date, etc.). (arranging for the kids to stay with their grandparents so the two of you can have dinner at home), which is a cheaper and more effective way of saying, “I want to invest in our relationship.”

Spending more money isn't what gets the message heard – money doesn't have magical properties: it can only reinforce a message through words (perhaps on the accompanying card) and through actions – like thinking about the gift.


When thinking about what to buy and how much to spend, consider your partner's expectations.

If you are in a new relationship and have no idea what your partner expects from you on Valentine's Day, you should first get some information.

What do you think about it? Do they tend to celebrate it? You are at the exciting and nerve-wracking beginning of the relationship, where you are formulating your expectations for a future with each other: are you more romantic or cynical? Restrained or generous? Your generosity doesn't necessarily have to be financial: we can show generosity by investing time in preparing something special.

Keep this in mind when choosing something that feels genuine but considerate. Even if you're 100 percent against the idea of ​​Valentine's Day, you'll show them if and how you'll compromise when they've told you they can't wait and are so excited.

It's a risky strategy to not spend money or effort on Valentine's Day without knowing that others agree with your point of view: I've experienced the no-gift approach as “he doesn't love me”, “he's not interested”. “more” is interpreted. “He's clearly a selfish person.” Therefore, it may be wiser to have a conversation about it and explain your reasons to leave room for compromise.

Vicky also says: “We all have different views on what is too expensive or cheap, funny or embarrassing, cute or tacky.”

Vicky also says: “We all have different views on what is too expensive or cheap, funny or embarrassing, cute or tacky.”

But going overboard with extravagant gifts could be an equally risky approach: your partner (if you share finances) might even get upset that you spent so much money on something “unnecessary.”

If you're in a long-term relationship, the expectations may be clear by now – maybe you exchange cards every year, or maybe you both do well without celebrating it.

But while you still have the choice to repeat the potentially comfortable pattern you're in, you can always break the pattern to make a new statement. If this is the case, it will not be the price that causes the reaction, but the fact that you did something other than the “usual” with a positive intention.

If you do this, why not back it up with words to help your partner understand the meaning of your gesture (instead of leaving the interpretation to their own assumptions or even suspicions!).

We all have different opinions about what is too expensive or cheap, funny or embarrassing, cute or tacky. If we've done something wrong and our partner is mad at us, ask yourself why he thought it was a bad choice, but also what goes beyond giving and spending a gift: what meaning did he give to that gift? ?

Don't deny their feelings, as they have a right to, but rather remind them of your intentions so they can find another way to interpret them. And what did Carl say to Val? “I wanted to make you feel special.”

So on Valentine's Day, remember: consider your partner's expectations, but spending a lot of money on a gift will not convey a message any more clearly than words or gestures. As my example with Carl shows: bigger is not always better.

Do you have a question for Vicky Reynal? Email her at [email protected]

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