Valentine’s Day Recap: Cheapskates vs. Big Spenders

by TTMK on February 17, 2014 · 12 comments

valentines day cheapskateSo how was your Valentine’s Day, or weekend for that matter?

It’s a question I’d like to ask a few people, particularly because their approaches to the day were very different.  As in, one person tried to be super frugal and another was a big spender.  Personally, I ended up dropping about $50, which isn’t a ton of money but isn’t exactly frugal either.  Kind of a middle ground situation, which probably fits well with many people

However, that wasn’t the case with the Cheapskate and the Big Spender.  Here are their brief stories:

The Valentine’s Day Cheapskate

This person is a friend of mine, and a really good guy.  He just doesn’t feel like spending money on Valentine’s Day, which doesn’t in any way make him less of a good guy, but it does make him more than a bit too frugal.

We were texting back and forth, and I joked to him something along the lines of “so, did you get the flowers and jewelry yet or are you procrastinating”.  He wrote back that he wasn’t getting his wife anything for Valentine’s Day.  Now, there isn’t any trouble in paradise there, it’s just that he’s not one to spend a lot of money or get caught up commercialism.  I think he just takes a practical approach to things.

Anyway, I thought he was kidding but he wasn’t.  He said that he’s gotten her flowers in the past but she never takes care of them and so they die quickly.  Instead he had his kids make out cards for their mother, which were homemade and cost nothing.  And, that was her gift.  He did say that they were going out to a nice dinner the next night with another couple, but that wasn’t Valentine’s-related.  Nevertheless, he considered to be expensive enough that he didn’t see the need to spend any more money on the weekend.

I find it a bit curious that he wouldn’t want to give her something to show love and appreciation.  He’s been married for over 10 years, so his approach to things has had some staying power.  If they’re happy, who’s to complain?

The Big Spender

Okay, this big spender wasn’t a man.  Rather, it was a woman spending big on Valentine’s Day.  As a disclaimer, it’s also not somebody I know at all.  It’s actually a person whose (loud) conversation I overheard at lunch on Friday.

She was in line at a quick-casual lunch place, with a few male coworkers, and asked them what they were doing for Valentine’s Day.  I was right behind them in line, so it was hard not to overhear what they were saying.  One muttered something about not being sure, another said he was going out to a movie in the afternoon, to save money by seeing a Matinee.  Obviously, I liked hearing that 🙂

The young woman, however, talked about going shopping.  She said that she went out the night before and spend $300 on clothes, and had more to buy on Valentines Day itself.  One of the guys looked like his face was frozen as he nicely blurted out, “Why?”.

To which she exclaimed with a gleeful smile and he eyes wide open with excitement, “because it’s VALENTINE’s Day!” She was so enthusiastic, like a kid in a candy store.

It hit me then that this day was like her Super Bowl.  This was a day of the year for her that she just loved.  Good for her, even if not so good for her bank account.

My Takeaway:  People have wildly different approaches to Valentine’s Day.  Some people try to avoid spending money and will even be cheap, while others want to splurge and pamper themselves (or have others pamper them).  I prefer the middle ground, while skewing a bit toward the frugal side.   However, whatever works for you and your significant other, it’s all good.   There is no right or wrong, but it’s interesting to see how people can approach the day so differently.

My Questions for You

What did you do for Valentine’s Day?

Did you and your significant other splurge, or go on the cheap?

Do you think the people I talked about were too extreme in their approaches, or not?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

David S. February 17, 2014 at 11:25 am

Valentines Day came and went with a blur. Both of us are not big spenders anyway so buying something would just add stress, though in the moment it would be nice. I think we didn’t really focus on the day because through out the year we show our love towards each other through small or large acts. A back rub here, cleaning the dishes and living room there, just sitting next to each other, and doing things together when our interests intersect (like beekeeping, gardening, board games, puzzles, etc.). We still hold monthly dates (with coupons) so having a special heart day isn’t required (though nice to give that extra kiss and say Happy Valentine’s Day).


TTMK February 20, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Seems like you guys have a good perspective on things. As I read the responses here, I’m beginning to think I’m not as frugal as I thought!


Nick @ Step Away from the Mall February 17, 2014 at 11:27 am

We spent some time together but aren’t big “gift folks.” I spent $20 on her and she got me a card. We were both happy. My $20 was actually very well received because it was unexpected and a fun/quirky gift – one of those diamond candles. She was happy and surprised. And I was happy that she got me a card, but even that is not necessary.


TTMK February 20, 2014 at 4:48 pm

It’s the thought that counts, right? Seems like a good exchange.


Emily @ evolvingPF February 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm

We did nada, which is how we roll. Plus we were snowed in so there was no chance to go out and buy anything. 🙂 I’m not a gifts person and as a couple my husband and I are just not into holidays/anniversaries.


TTMK February 20, 2014 at 4:47 pm

When it comes to personal finance, you guys seem awesome


Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life February 17, 2014 at 7:19 pm

I gave bought the boyfriend 3 sets of powerball numbers and tucked the ticket into some lingerie for a fun picture. I also got him a book to read on his kindle. Total $15. He’s traveling abroad so it wound up being a perfect gift and we got to skype for a few minutes!


TTMK February 20, 2014 at 4:47 pm

$15 works!


The First Million is the Hardest February 17, 2014 at 8:07 pm

We don’t make a big deal out of Valentines day, so it’s easy on the wallet. Just a night at home with our dog & I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂


TTMK February 20, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Sounds frugal, which is a nice way to treat your wallet to a nice Valentine’s Day!


Little House February 18, 2014 at 8:45 am

I’m not big on Valentine’s Day so Mr. LH and I don’t do much. Instead, we out for a real low-key dinner and spent $20 bucks. Yep – it’s a Mexican restaurant that we like going to once a week and sharing a meal. Super frugal. 😉


TTMK February 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm

$20 is a pretty modest amount, and that’s great that you guys enjoyed a nice meal out for that!


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