How a year can bring a host of changes. With the COVID-19 pandemic largely behind us, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to drastically rise. In 2021, the overall spending was $21.8 billion, and this year it’s projected to rise to $23.9 billion, an increase of almost 10 percent. It’s the second-highest year on record. Shoppers are expected to spend an average of $175 per person on Valentine’s gifts, up more than $10 from $164 in 2021.
How couples are coming back
With more couples planning on celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, up to 55% from 52% in 2021, that means more spending. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) more than three-quarters (76%), of those celebrating believe it is an important time to celebrate given the state of the pandemic.
Most partners are STILL on board with saving
While increased spending is due at least in part to regaining a sense of normalcy, the concept of saving is still on the tip of people’s minds. In a survey done by Debt.com, 88% of people would not expect their partner to spend any money on them if they were having financial difficulties.
That’s a statistic that Consolidated Credit’s financial education director thinks more people should pay attention to.
“Too often, we feel obligated to do grand gestures and gifts to show our love to our spouse or partner,” says April Lewis-Parks. “You may be scared to brooch the subject with your significant other. But this survey shows that they might be more receptive to the idea than you think.”
Lewis-Parks encourages couples to talk about their plans.
- See how both of you are feeling about your finances.
- If one or both of you has financial concerns, talk about setting limits on gifts.
- For spouses or couples that are cohabitating, consider pooling money to get something that you need for the house instead
If you are planning to spend, avoid credit card debt
“With the economy still unstable and a slow pandemic recovery, it’s important to avoid credit card debt whenever possible,” Lewis-Parks says. “If you can’t get a gift for your significant other without taking on credit card debt, be honest. Share your financial situation and discuss the idea of scaling back.
She also says hiding your financial situation from your partner is more damaging than you might think.
“People consider financial infidelity as bad as physically cheating,” she explains. “If your spouse finds out that you’re not being transparent about your finances, particularly when it comes to debt and hiding spending, your relationship may be short-lived.”
In fact, a survey by the American Institute of CPAs found that 41% of cohabitating people say they might consider ending the relationship over financial infidelity. Researchers from the University of Southern Mississippi revealed that 53% of 414 people polled, had lied about their spending, but only 27% admitted to committing financial infidelity.
“While you might think that your partner would appreciate the quiet sacrifice that you’re making to get them a gift on credit and then hide the debt, what you’re really doing is hurting your relationship.”
Come up with a practical Valentine’s Day spending plan
Even if you plan on limiting gift expenses or eating in this year, it’s important to plan how much you will spend. Use this free Valentine’s Day spending planner to set a realistic budget. If you’re married or cohabitating, share the love and set the budget together.
Spent too much on the holidays and Valentine’s Day? We can help. Talk to a certified credit counselor to understand your options for paying off your debt.