Valentine’s Day is less than two weeks away! Are you planning an elaborate dinner? Romantic getaway? Lots and lots of chocolate? No matter the plans for you and your loved one, we want your wallet to be happy too. Why? Spend too much and you’re broke. Spend too little and you’re in the dog house.
Considering that Valentine’s Day is in the middle of February, chances are good that you’ll be receiving a paycheck sometime between now and then. Seems pretty handy, doesn’t it? Getting a paycheck right around the holiday where overall spending totals around $20 billion.¹
Before you take your paycheck and spend it on your loved one, take a step back and think about how your Valentine’s Day can be unforgettable and financially responsible.
1. Figure out how much you want to celebrate
Around 50% of people plan to give candy, flowers and jewelry.² Surprised? Neither are we. The shock comes with the price tags for all those gifts. Depending on the vendor, a dozen roses could cost you up to $80, and an assortment of chocolates could cost you over $100! That’s why planning ahead can ensure that the bills don’t eat more of your paycheck than you anticipated.
Start out by making a list of things you want to do and how much they’ll cost. Whether it’s the fast food joint where you first met each other, or the fancy restaurant with a prix fixe menu (generally, $65 – $150 a person), make a decision and budget for it! Look at the different menu options and the wine list for an estimate, and don’t forget to factor in valet parking, tax, tip, babysitting money, etc.
2. Get smart about your purchases
Now that you have an idea of where to go and what you want to do, see how you can save some money in the process. Search sites like GroupOn and LivingSocial to see if they have coupons for your gifts and restaurant of choice. If you’re getting a bouquet of flowers, compare the cost at your grocery store, the local florist and online shops so you get the best deal. A few extra steps of comparing prices and looking for sales could mean the difference between saving money and needing more.
3. Adjust spending, start saving and have fun!
If you set aside money each year for Valentine’s Day, that’s great! Use your list of activities to see if you saved enough to meet your projected costs. If you find yourself running short, consider changing your itinerary or see if you have discretionary spending that can be adjusted to fill the gap. For example, instead of spending $50 on your family’s trip to the movie theater, rent a movie for a fraction of the cost and put the leftover money towards your holiday fund.
4. Talk to your Money Coach
Now that you’ve assessed your income and the money available for “a good time”, are you wishing you had more money in your pocket? Do you want to make sure that you have enough funds for future holidays and celebrations? All it takes is a little dedication, organization and professional guidance.
Your MSA Money Coach can help you create a budget for Valentine’s Day that takes into account all your goals and day-to-day expenses. Your Money Coach has the resources (like budgeting tools) and the know-how (financial certifications and years of experience) to help you be successful.
On top of that, the average MSA member who works with a Money Coach puts $250 back in their pocket each month. That’s $250 more that you could be putting towards special occasions, fun with the family, college savings or medical emergencies. The options are endless, but nothing tops the financial peace of mind you get when you feel financially stable and ready to meet whatever goal or challenge arises.
Maybe you’re trying to spend less as part of a New Year’s resolution, and Valentine’s Day plans are getting in the way. Maybe you’ve been saving up just for this occasion. We work with members this time of year, whether they have no budget or unlimited cash. Regardless of financial status, we know that planning benefits all parties. Call 888-724-2326 and start working with a Money Coach.
¹Allen, Kathy Grannis and Treacy Reynolds. “Dinner and a Movie, Flowers and Jewelry Bring Valentine’s Day Spending to Record High.” National Retail Federation. NRF, 3 Feb. 2016. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.
²McCarthy, Niall. “Valentine’s Day 2016: America’s $20 Billion Day of Love [Infographic].” Forbes. Forbes, 12 Feb. 2016. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.
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