Much like Halloween, this has gone from being a small seasonal, fun day a generation ago to one that generates a lot of business. People are making money on this day, as Valentine’s Day-themed products are seemingly marketed and merchandised in increasing numbers.
Of course, for people to make money, it would mean that other people need to be spending money. Whether or not many of these people actually should be spending money, from a financial responsibility perspective is debatable.
I thought of this as I was on the train just last week, going into the city (Chicago) from the suburbs. It was just after we had a blizzard here, so while I was having a good day, it appeared that there were some others who were kind of frazzled by the conditions. This included one woman who was sitting in the row in front of me, to the left.
She was sitting next to someone she knew, either a co-worker or a friend. Either way, the two of them basically broke up the relative silence of the train car by chit-chatting much of the way into the city. You couldn’t help but hear what they had to say, even if you were busy (as I was) reading or being otherwise occupied.
The women got to the topic of Valentine’s Day, which at that point was around 2 weeks away. Not something I would be thinking about that far in advance, but obviously my mind works differently than theirs. Anyway, one of the women – we’ll call her Woman #1 – was saying that she and her husband were going to go away for the weekend, and that her parents would be having the kids with them. It sounded like she was looking forward to the weekend, and her friend – we’ll call her Woman #2 – was listening attentively and expressing excitement for her.
Then, Woman #2 began complaining about how she and her husband didn’t even have plans yet, and that he never really surprises her anymore. She was poking fun at him, but kind of doing it in a way that showed a bitter edge to her feelings.
At that point, she said that he was “still unemployed” and stressed about finding a job, so he probably wouldn’t want to spend money to take her out anywhere. But then she expressed that she hoped he would still do so, in order for her to have a “normal” Valentine’s Day.
What really got my attention is when she said that (paraphrased) “he better not even think about spending my money to take me out!” Woman #1 only chuckled after hearing that.
All I could think at that point was “WOW!”
While I would have preferred to have kept reading my book without interruption, I have to admit that this was an interesting discussion to someone like me who’s a personal finance blogger! It was a fascinating reaction by Woman #2, and I wanted to believe that she was just kidding. I didn’t see their facial expressions as I was sitting a row back and trying to read, but it didn’t sound like a joking voice.
It almost seemed like she thought that it was a requirement of her husband to spend money on her on Valentine’s Day, regardless of the circumstances. And if he didn’t, that meant he was cheap and annoying.
Frankly, I didn’t realize there were people who actually talked about this day in such fashion.
You know, I think it’s probably a good idea for a guy to let his wife know he appreciates her. And if Valentine’s Day is something that means a lot to her (for whatever reason), then he should probably make the effort to show her that he cares. Even if he thinks it’s too commercial, not important, or whatever.
However, the issue I have with this situation is that she apparently thought that he had to spend money on her regardless of the circumstances. Again, like it’s an important and expected requirement. Also, the idea that she emphasized her money told me that they don’t share money. It caught my attention, particularly due to the unemployment comment. And I definitely disagree!
Anyway, it was interesting and thought-provoking.
My Questions for You
Do you think it’s important for couples to spend money on Valentine’s Day?
Do you think this obsession with the day is a little too much, or do you “get” the interest level these two people had.
What are your thoughts on “his” and “her” money for Valentine’s Day?