Valentine’s Day Approaches – Plan Ahead or Pay the Procrastinator Tax!

Dog eating chocolates from heart shaped Valentine's box

Failing to plan is planning to . . . have your puppers eat all your chocolates!

It is just 22 days until Valentine’s Day.
You’re welcome.
Valentine’s Day might be just one day of the year, but it is a very big one day.  In the United States alone, the National Retail Federation projects Valentine’s spending to eclipse $18 billion, of which over $4 billion is spent on jewelry and another $2 billion spent on flowers.  Men spend nearly twice as much as women on the special day ($198 for men vs. $100 for women).  In fact, with the exception of 2009, Valentine’s Day spending has increased every single year since 2000. With the holiday rapidly approaching in just a few weeks, here are several ways you can treat that special someone in your life without breaking the bank.
1. Have flowers delivered a week prior to Valentine’s Day or anytime after.  There is high demand within a few days of the holiday, so some flexibility in when flowers are being delivered can bloom some great deals.  Many flower shops offer 7-day guaranteed freshness on the flowers you buy, meaning that if you receive them a week ahead, they should still be lovely for the special day.
2. Enjoy a wonderful dinner together at home.  Wine and proteins can cost upwards of 80% less when purchased at the store and prepared at home instead of fighting for a table at a restaurant.  This means you can get a top quality filet or that special bottle of Pinot Noir without starving yourself the weeks leading up to it.
2.5.  If you are dead set on going out, consider saving some money each week beginning now to help cover the cost so that it isn’t such a shock when you get the bill. Packing a couple more lunches and making coffee at home for a few weeks isn’t so bad . . . and you could keep doing this after Valentine’s Day and start a trend of saving more money.
3. Valentine’s Day sparks not only jewelry gifts, but engagement and wedding ring purchases as well.  The tradition of diamonds and “two months’ pay” might be a great rule of thumb for the jeweler, but that’s not who the jewelry is for, so play by your rules here.
Let me put it another way: Driving yourself in debt to buy jewelry does not say “I love you.”  It says “I am gullible and you should not trust me with money, ever.”  Buy jewelry you can actually afford, not just what they are willing to let you pay for with extended credit and terms that amount to you selling a kidney.
When I proposed to my wife, I found a unique sapphire ring from a jeweler that specializes in estate pieces.  Having been handcrafted about 100 years ago, her ring truly is one of a kind, and because we used the same ring for the wedding ring I was able to afford a larger stone than I would have been able to afford at a traditional jewelry store or from an online retailer. Funny enough, there was no objection from her, and she married me a year and a half later.
4. Early sales on Valentine’s things are going on now.  Pay less now, or pay more later, or pay a lot more the day before/day of.  Your choice!
4.5.  Valentine’s gifts oftentimes go on clearance either on Valentine’s Day itself or the day after.  Consider snagging some sweet bargains (get it – chocolates . . . sweet) on February 15th.
5. Create a gift yourself!  A homemade gift can be very personal and tailored to the person you’re giving it to, making it not only something they’ll enjoy, but cherish more because YOU made it.  Some ideas include hot cocoa mixes for two, a thumb drive or CD with your favorite songs on it, or a handmade Valentine’s Day card.  Or if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can dress up and read from Romeo and Juliet in the most ridiculous accent possible under your lover’s balcony.  Not that I did that a couple of years ago . . .
5.5.  Celebrate early!  Akin to the flowers idea, if you aren’t dead set on February 14th being THE day you need to celebrate, consider celebrating early and not fighting the market for everything you want to pamper yourself and your partner with.  My wife and I this year found a wonderful six-course beer dinner, pairing each dish with a tasty brew at less than half of what it would have cost us to go out on exactly February 14th.
To close this heartwarming edition of The Briggs Blog, I would like to leave you with an Irish blessing.  Until next time…
May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.
Blessings and friendship,
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Finally, if you feel that working with a financial coach could help you stay on track in reaching your personal financial and investment goals, schedule a free consultation or email me at – I would love to meet you!

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