This year, Valentine’s Day might feel less romantic than in years past. We’re approaching a full year of pandemic quarantines and lockdowns, and some couples may want to stay safely at home rather than spend a night on the town.
However you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved ones, we urge you to also take advantage of this time together to plan for the future; set a goal to save up for something really special, and resolve to have it paid for before next year’s holiday comes again.
Here are 6 ideas for Valentine’s gift savings goals:
1. Save for vacations and traveling.
Plan now for a special trip together once the pandemic is behind us. By making the commitment to save on Valentine’s Day, you’re working together as a couple, building toward a very special trip. This vacation will be especially sweet because if you do it right, it will be completely paid for before you go. No stress, no worries about how you’re going to pay for it all.
2. Save money for fun activities.
Do you and your partner like to go cycling together? Skiing? Camping? Set a goal to save for new bikes, camping gear or equipment, and start saving to buy them outright, rather than borrow money to pay for them. Next Valentine’s Day, you can go shopping together with the money you’ve saved and buy each other that new gear.
3. Set aside savings for a wedding.
If your relationship is serious and you’re not yet married, saving for your wedding is a good thing to talk about on Valentine’s Day. Both partners have a chance to really demonstrate their commitment in the months leading up to the wedding; every dollar you each set aside is a signal that you’re committed and eager to be married to each other.
4. Start saving for a down payment on a home.
Tired of paying rent and want to be homeowner sooner than later, think about what it would take to save up a down payment. You can plan for an FHA loan with as little as 3% down, so this goal is not as far off as you might think. If you’re ready to start thinking about this all-important savings goal, talk to a housing counselor for pre-purchase counseling so you’ll know what to expect. If you set this savings goal with your loved one this Valentine’s Day, you’re serious about building a future together. What could be more romantic than that?
5. Keep paying off debt.
If you have individual or joint debts that are getting in the way of your financial goals, talk about what it would take to eliminate them by next Valentine’s Day. Can you commit to a new budget that lets you pay off these debts? The financial freedom that comes from paying off these obligations will let you focus on the things that truly matter in your life, like your relationship and your future. Paying debts keeps you focused on past spending; we want this Valentine’s Day to be focused on the future. Talk to a debt counselor if your credit card debts are too large to plan to pay off by this time next year.
6. Save money before you buy expensive jewelry.
Some of the traditional romantic gifts are expensive, and there’s a psychological reason—if one partner spends lavishly on a gift for the other, it’s a sign that s/he is really committed to the relationship. But we don’t think every special gift needs to be a surprise to signal true commitment. Planning together to save over time and build up the funds to buy a special gift outright is a very important way to show devotion.
It takes work to save in advance, and the purchase can be enjoyed without any second thoughts because it’s truly paid for if it wasn’t bought with a credit card. If you have some special gift like jewelry in mind, think about not making it a surprise, but a savings goal you share with your loved one and work toward. Instead of one moment of surprise when they open the box, give them a steady stream of romantic gestures as you save and work to make that purchase.
Remember: you’re on this financial journey together.
When we work with couples, communication about money is a key thing we stress. Let this Valentine’s Day be all about communication—sit down and set a goal together and talk through how you’re going to achieve it. Over the coming year, as you work toward making this goal a reality, you will be reminded that you’re in it together.
If you want to work on your joint finances together, check out our free “Couples & Money” workbook from our downloads page, and spend some time communicating about this important topic-whether it’s Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year.
If you have debts that are affecting your relationship, talk to a debt coach and come up with a plan to achieve financial freedom. Don’t let past money mistakes threaten your future with the one you love.
Stay tuned for America Saves Week!
Be sure to check back with us at credit.org/blog the week of February 22-26 for America Saves Week.
We are a campaign sponsor for Inland Empire Saves and San Diego Saves, and we’ll be featuring content all week long on our site, Twitter and Facebook in support of this important initiative. Visit us online that week to pledge to save, create a plan and get helpful strategies for meeting your new Valentine’s Day savings goals.