How to (sensibly) buy gifts for Valentine’s Day
Written by Robert Bester, Consumer Finance Expert Robert has been a writer for six years, specialising in consumer finance and the UK lending market. Concentrating on consumer credit products, Robert writes informative articles that help customers manage their personal finances efficiently.
11th January 2021
4 minute read
When buying Valentine’s day gifts for him or for her, it can be easy to get lost in a sea of chocolates, roses and perfume when trying to think of what to buy.
This can often lead to overspending as you try and decide what to spoil your significant other with, which can be particularly dangerous if you’re already in debt when the 14th February 2020 rolls around.
Just in case you can’t contain your spending (or your love), we’ve put together some tips for those thinking of splashing out for Valentine’s Day. In short, we would encourage all those thinking of spoiling their other halves to do so (but just do it sensibly).
Top tips to avoid overspending before Valentine’s Day:
Set a budget for each other
The best way of ensuring you don’t go over the top with spending is to set a sensible budget beforehand and stick to it.
If you’re already coupled up and are both keen spenders, agree with your partner how much you want to spend on each other and make sure you don’t surpass this limit. One way to do this is to draw out cash so you don’t keep putting things on your card without thinking about the total amount.
You might want to try some more tactics for budgeting or setting money aside to stop you from overspending:
- Get a current account with savings options – choose a challenger bank who allow you to set savings goals within an app, or even just a regular savings account. This will allow you to set aside money for a specific purpose, giving you a budget to then spend for Valentine’s Day
- Try open banking apps – apps like Yolt or Emma will allow you to see all of your accounts in one place, which might help with being able to see an associated savings account or separate credit card that you plan on using for Valentine’s and other miscellaneous events. Having your finances in this format gives you a great overview of your money and how much is an acceptable amount to spend
Protect your purchases with a credit card and keep receipts
In general, making gift purchases is always a risk as you might not be quite sure whether the person you’re buying for will like it! To that end, always keep your receipts or ask for a gift receipt when making a purchase.
In addition, if you spend on a credit card your purchases are further protected due to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. This means that if items are faulty or the business you buy from shuts down and you can’t make a return, you have the option of claiming from the credit card company instead. Not got a credit card? Have a look through moneymatcher to find the perfect one for you.
Avoid last minute overspending
The worst culprit for overspending is the person that is so love-struck that they don’t know what day of the week it is. Heading to the shops at 8pm on February 13th is a recipe for disaster, where you might buy last-minute gifts that are probably expensive and possibly not even appropriate.
Instead, if you would like to spend on your loved one, try to acquire your gifts at least a few days before the big day. That means planning ahead and cutting out the chance of a pre-Valentine’s spending-spree.
- Order gifts in advance – just like Christmas, if you plan on buying gifts you should really order in advance, rather than struggling for gifts last minute. Whether you’re ordering online or you need to go to the shops, give yourself plenty of time to prepare. If you need gift ideas for him or for her, head to our Guru Saves Christmas Presents post here
- Book a table to avoid disappointment – planning on going out for food? You can guarantee that many restaurants will get booked up with similar couples going on dates, so try to book in advance to avoid disappointment
If you plan to spend big, choose the right credit card
Can’t stop yourself from making a big purchase in the name of love? Once again, be sensible about it and do one of the following before heading to the shops:
- Use a cashback credit card – if you know for sure you will be making a large amount of purchases then you may as well make some money back. A cashback card will give you a certain percentage back on whatever you spend; just make sure you do most of your spending within the introductory period
- Use a 0% purchase credit card – if you’re planning to make one large purchase, a 0% purchase card will allow you to spread the cost during the interest-free period. Just make sure you pay off the full amount before the initial period ends
Here are a few tips for spending on a credit card in this way, and what you should avoid if you’re committed to stopping overspending:
- Use a credit card (responsibly) – always remember that it is spending money you don’t actually have, but if you use it wisely, you can stick to a budget and pay it off at your own pace, which can be very useful for events like Christmas, Valentine’s and other special events
- Avoid panic-spending on a credit card – even if you already have a credit card that you’ve used for other purchases, try not to use it for expensive gifts, unless you know you can pay it off. Spending on a credit card will always need to be repaid and the longer you leave it, the more chance there is of you accumulating interest and therefore getting into debt
The Guru’s thoughts on… Valentine’s Day:
“I believe that another wise guru (who enjoyed table tennis and running) said: ‘life is like a box of chocolates’. Love, on the other hand, is more like a box full of overdue invoices that need to paid immediately. In other words, love isn’t cheap my friend.
It can be very tempting to lavish your other half with gifts to show them the extent of your love. However, I would encourage you to show restraint. Love doesn’t need to be purchased, it needs to be discovered through sharing moments with someone you’re surprisingly quite keen on. Perhaps someone with amazing facial hair or attractive robes.
Of course you can buy a romantic gift, but be sensible about it. Don’t buy them a car, or a yacht, or even a blimp. Just let them know they’re appreciated this Valentine’s Day.”
With these bits of advice in mind, make sure you enjoy Valentine’s Day with your partner and remember to spend sensibly.
If you’re thinking of taking out a credit card for the purposes of spending sensibly in the next few weeks, try our moneymatcher tool to find the perfect match for you. If you’d rather watch the Guru playing tables tennis, head over to our Meet the Guru page here.