Valentine’s + Money: A Couple’s Guide


Valentine’s Day, the day to “prove” your love by buying things you can’t afford and wasting money in the same old ways that you do every other day. This year, why not switch things up by showing your partner that you really love them while building a solid financial future and making them feel special?

Don’t Follow the Crowd

Every year from January to February 14th I hear tons of ads for chocolates, red roses. flowers and stuffed animals. Demand is ridiculous. According to Visual Economics (see images below) people will end up spending anywhere from $80 to $150, on average. And those Valentine’s Day chocolates? “Valentine’s Days increase the sale of heart-shaped boxes of chocolate to more than 35 million.”Instead of doing what everyone else does, why not do something your partner will really appreciate? Make them dinner. Give them a massage. Create a bath-for-two with mood lighting and soft music. Write them a thank you note for all the amazing things they do for you. My partner still has a note I wrote to them years ago. It reminds them of why they love me.


Many people are in relationships hoping to one day be married. Some are already married. We know that about 50% of marriages end in divorce, but did you know that many of those relationships break up due to money issues? Want to save your romantic situation? Use your money wisely. Imagine what couples could do with that money if they chose to instead invest that money in their relationship instead of giving more money to companies.

Think About the Future

Let’s say that there is a heterosexual couple and each person in the couple spends the national average on gifts this year (see image below).  Visual Economics tells us that the age range that spends the most is between 25 and 34 years old, so let’s assume that the couple we’re talking about is 27 years old. The couple will spend about $254. If that couple instead had a night in, shared how they really feel about each other and enjoyed each other’s company (all free) instead of spending that money, they could choose to put that money in a money market account. Making that one decision not to spend money on Valentine’s Day could end up saving that couple $10,160 in principle alone over 40 years of marriage. Tack on about another $2,500 in interest (free money) and that couple could save about $12k by making one different decision on one day of the year. You know I like to say, “Find small opportunities that make a big difference” but I won’t say it this time! *wink*

Don’t forget, “There’s nothing your partner wants more than to be seen, acknowledged, loved, and appreciated on Valentine’s Day” says Colin Drake on Money Management Tips for Couples. Make the extra effort that will enhance your relationship and invest a few more dollars into your relationship coffer.

A few images from Visual Economics:


For a heterosexual couple, that’s a little more $250!


My hypothosis (are you ready for this?) is that the 25  to 34 category spends more because these are people that are in serious relationships (leading to marriage or married) and want to show their love with big, showy flower arrangements, expensive dinners and lavish gifts.

Money Trumps Love

There are 4 money topics every couple should talk about asap.

It’s a sad fact to acknowledge, but money and security is more important to lots of folks than love. You can be as upset with me as you like, but that’s the truth. You think your relationship isn’t like that? Let’s see one of the partners in a relationship lose their job and have no income for a year or two. Let’s have one partner that’s a super saver and one that’s a super spender under one roof and you tell me how it works out. Some of you ardent defenders of love are now say, “well, that’s a specific instance” and “those are gross exaggerations of the situation” … riiiight. We all know people in situations like these. They are more common than we want to talk about.

With all the excitement over folks getting a mate, I notice there isn’t much discussion about keeping a mate. To that end, this post is about strengthening a relationship that’s already in place. There are 4 things that every couple should talk about asap. Of course, conversations about money should be ongoing however these are topics that you cannot put off and cannot be overlooked:

Credit scores and reports

I know you’re going to be upset, but you can’t trust anyone to tell you what their credit scores are. The reason? Most people don’t know. Each of us has 3 separate scores from each of the 3 major credit agencies and those scores go up and down every month depending on our behavior. It behooves each partner to pull their credit scores and reports and sit down to talk money strategy. If you’re building a life together, you have to know where you’re starting from. It’ll cost each partner about $50 to pull all three reports with scores, but it might save you thousands of dollars over your relationship and possibly … you’re relationship too.

Money attitude

Once you have your reports you may start to ask questions. If your partner is an ardent saver with a pristine report you may want to know how they did it? Does your partner live on less than what they make because they haven’t contributed a penny to a retirement account? Do they use coupons? Do they borrow money from parents to cover shortages? It’s important to know what behaviors are contributing to their credit report. Those behaviors may class with yours.

I’ve learned the hard way that money isn’t what makes people poor or wealthy. Attitude is what makes people poor or wealthy. If someone has $100,000 in debt because they like to buy expensive things, giving them the money to pay the dent off won’t make a difference. When the debt has been paid off they will rack it up again because they have not changed their behaviors. What behaviors does your partner have?

Who’s in charge?

You will be responsible for paying the bills? Who is in charge of purchasing groceries? You will choose what retirement strategy you use? You can take turns, you can do it together or you can choose one of you to be responsible for it, but you must make a decision. There are no wrong choices. Sometimes it’s easier to play to the strengths of each partner and delegate that one partner deal with the retirement plans while the other partner pay the bills every month. Once it’s settled you both still need to sit down once every 3 months to make sure that you’re reaching your goals. If you’re not, with only 3 months of miscalculations things are pretty easily correctable.

No one is perfect. Each of us has shortcomings and things that annoy our partners. The best thing to do is own up to it and create a set of workarounds for each of you. For example, I know that I love to travel. I used to have all the travel deals come to my inbox every day. As a new trip to some great place showed up in my email I would start to plan my escape only to realize that it didn’t fit into my spending plan. Which made me sad for a minute. Then it made me upset. Then it made me want to eat noodles all week to be able to pay for it and not mess up my spending plan. This is a horrible cycle that would happen at least once a week until I created my own little workaround. I stopped having those travel deals sent to my inbox. You know what? I don’t even think about them any more. What easy workarounds can you figure out to help you and your partner stay on track?

When we choose partners we do it for many reasons. Very few of us will see someone walk down the street and think, “wow! look at the credit score on that one!” but many of us end potentially awesome relationships over who spends too much money or who nags about how many video games are purchased each month. If the person isn’t a good fit for you emotionally or spiritually, let them go. If they aren’t a good financial fit for you there is a possibility that person can change, and if not isn’t it better that you know from jump?

If a person tells you who they are, believe them.