Valentine's Day is right around the corner. That means you should be out finding the perfect gift for your loved one, according to Cupid and Associates, a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate.
Sadly, most couples give in to Cupid and succumb to our consumer culture, feeling obligated to buy gifts. The cost of Valentine's Day is brutal.
A husband will buy his wife her favorite flowers and a gift that could range anywhere from chocolates to some fancy (and expensive) diamond jewelry. The wife will figure out something romantic to get her husband and they'll exchange gifts on February 14.
That night, they'll make dinner reservations at an overcrowded, pricey restaurant and wait for a table. Sound romantic? Not to me.
At the end of the month, the credit card bill comes. Each spouse scrambles to figure out how to pay for the cost of Valentine's Day: the gifts and dinner they shouldn't have bought in the first place.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
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Why does societal pressure make us act like marionettes – mindlessly accepting that a box of chocolates, a bouquet of red roses, or an emerald bracelet really is the way to demonstrate our love?
Whether it's Valentine's Day, Christmas, or our birthdays, my wife and I don't buy each other obligatory holidays gifts. Before you call me a horrible husband, hear me out!
Why? We stopped because we quickly realized that these holidays had become a chore.
We had to buy things we normally wouldn't in fear of disappointing one another.
We stressed over finding a thoughtful gift. But since we bought what we wanted after we saved up enough to pay for it, finding that perfect gift was tedious. That all changed when we sat down and discussed the senseless gift-giving on most holidays. We quickly realized that we didn't care if we got the obligatory Valentine's Day card and chocolates. At that point, we decided to end the madness. You can, too.
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The Valentine's Day Budget Plan
Now, my wife and I both talk in advance of every holiday and make a game plan.
Does the lack of surprise and spontinaeity take the thrill away? We don't think so.
Rather than spend money on things that don't matter to us, like flowers and jewelry, we can now spend that money on something we desire. It's like fun money for a cruise – or better yet, money for our future. In most cases, that's exactly what we do. The cost of Valentine's Day can be something that actually matters for the two of you and also doesn't cost much.
Besides, if we really want some Valentine's Day candy, it's half off starting February 15th!
On rare occasion, we will decide to participate in a holiday like Valentine's Day. When we do, it makes that holiday even more special because we don't feel the dread of going out and buying the same thing year after year. Instead, we come up with something thoughtful and enjoy the fact that, for this particular year, we decided to do something different.
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Warning: Don't Try This Without Talking in Advance
Whatever you do, don't surprise your spouse by not getting them a gift this Valentine's Day and use this article as your reason. You'll end up in the dog house – I guarantee it.
Instead, start a thoughtful conversation with your partner before you'd normally start shopping for the next holiday present. Find out if she truly enjoys the holiday.
If it turns out that you're both giving each other presents due to societal pressure, and not because you enjoy it, then I suggest you stop.
Your friends and family might look at you like you're from another planet, but it doesn't matter what others think. If you do what is right for you and your family, you'll be happier (and wealthier) in the long run.
And meanwhile, let's teach Cupid a thing or two about real love.
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