A Valentine’s Day Gift Idea Both of You Will Love

by Neal Frankle, CFP ®

Here’s a novel Valentine’s Day gift idea if you have a boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband or domestic partner. Give them a hug. Give them a kiss. Heck…give them a horsey-back ride if you must

valentines day gift idea…just keep your money in your pocket and purse.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving and it’ll help improve your money and marriage. At least that’s what I’m doing.

My wife gets nothing. Zilch. Bubkas. I might pick some roses from the garden if I’m in a good mood…but that’s about it.

Are we hurting for money? Thankfully, no. In fact, we are completely debt free. Has my income dropped? Nope. It’s up from last year. I’m grateful about that too. So what’s the problem? Have I lost that loving feeling?

Not at all. In fact, my relationship with my wife has never been better in the 23 years we’ve been together. I’m as crazy about her now as I was when I first met her. So am I a cheap SOB? You might say I am, but I don’t think so. I just like to spend money in a meaningful way. And I don’t like someone else defining “meaningful” for me – life the Retailers Association of America. I don’t need their Valentine’s Day gift ideas.

My wife knows I love her and she doesn’t need any material gift to prove it. But the flower and jewelry people work really hard to convince my wife that the exact opposite is true. I’ve got to “say it with flowers” or remind her that “diamonds are forever.” No thanks, guys.

Words and actions do the job much better than material gifts.

That’s why I’m so anti-Valentine’s Day. It’s my way of “sticking it to the man.” Of course, our culture has been carefully manipulated into thinking that spending is caring, but it’s just the opposite that is true.

And make no mistake…if you buy flowers for your sweetie, it doesn’t stop there…

Once we take the bait and start believing that we need to spend in order to prove how we feel about someone, out come the $100,000 weddings and $200,000 undergraduate education tabs. No thanks. Not for this Pilgrim…and not for you either, I hope.

So don’t kid yourself. When you go to spend $30 on a bunch of flowers on Sunday, realize that you’ve taken the bait. You drank the Kool-Aid. Before you know it, you’ll try to lease a car cheap but won’t be able to afford it. You’ll live in a home you can’t make payments on and take a mortgage out on your future to impress everyone around you.

That rose is the kiss of death. Pass it by. Instead, take that same $30 and donate it to the folks in Haiti. That’s love…isn’t it? That’s meaningful…right? That says something about who you are and how grateful you are to have what you have – including your love muffin…right?

Am I wrong on this one? Am I just rationalizing my cheapskateness?

What are you doing this Sunday? How are you celebrating your love relationship?

A few Pilgrim sightings this week…

Festival of Frugality – Sweating the Big Stuff

Carnival of Personal Finance



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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara April 26, 2010 at 10:46 AM

When we built our home 9 years ago, my husband and I decided not to exchange Vday gifts. Instead, we exchange love letters, a tradition we have continued. Some years have been great, while others have been challenging, but this practice allows us to reflect on the past year. When we re-read the letters, we are often reminded of events and activities we did together we would have otherwise forgotten. They are personal, and best of all, they don’t cost a thing. . .


Melanie February 14, 2010 at 3:29 PM

This is why I like experience gift ideas so much – instead of an obligatory shopping trip, I want to DO something to remember together forever. Helping someone with a project, visiting a museum, giving each other makeovers – these are so much more romantic than the diamonds and jewelry shown over and over on tv.


Kim Gerald February 14, 2010 at 2:40 AM

Hey! Happy Valentines Day everyone… Wish you all to have a very sweet moment with your loved ones.


Abigail February 13, 2010 at 2:46 PM

I can see the argument about Valentine’s Day being contrived. But I do like to do a little something for the day. That said, I am not into big displays/presents/etc.

I think what’s more important is finding something unique. Like some people point out, it means more coming on a non-obligation-filled holiday. But if you are going to do something for Vday, make it unique.

Most women I know appreciate gifts, but they really do appreciate the sentiment and thought that went into choosing it. That’s what makes a gift special.

I’ve always said I’d rather get a carnation than a rose on Valentine’s Day. (Though my husband knows i prefer star-gazer lilies.) It shows that you put some effort into things. Chocolates, flowers — they’re nice. But it means you went straight by the book. You didn’t think of me, you thought of obligation. Bah!

I was all for skipping Vday this year — my husband is flying up to Washington for a wedding, so that’s a hit we’re taking — but my husband wants to do something. My mom sent us a gift card she got through a rebate offer. So I’m taking him to TGI Friday’s. He never gets to go and, with a special they’re having, we can almost cover it with the gift card. Plus, no worries about last-minute reservations.

Like I said: unique.


SailboatFamily February 13, 2010 at 5:35 AM

This is our 19th married year celebrating Valentines day. I will do what I’ve done for many of those years …. give a few flowers, mini cupcakes, and hand make a card for my sweetie. Long ago we agreed to make the 14th of February our celebration of Romance day. It carries, for us, the same magnitude of meaning as birthdays and anniversarys. I refuse to let the aggressive retailers actions define my behavior either for or against this day, to buy or not buy. They have no control either directly or in-directly. Tomorrow is our Romance day, and the anticipation is building! Happy Romance Day everyone.


dp February 13, 2010 at 5:32 AM

I forwarded this post to my husband….. I’ve been telling him to stop the Valentine’s Day candy/flower/jewelry madness for years.


Sandy L February 12, 2010 at 1:01 PM

I personally don’t like when people/media dictate when a loved one should be nice to me.

I much prefer random acts of kindness.


Financial Samurai February 12, 2010 at 12:40 PM

I’m telling ya Neal, even though you’ve been married for 23 years, she will really really really really really appreciate flowers and/or a box of chocolates.

Just do it already.


Neal@Wealth Pilgrim February 12, 2010 at 2:29 PM

You crack me up Sam……


Shirley Docken February 12, 2010 at 10:48 AM

A favorite birthday card I received from my husband some years ago is recycled 2 – 3 times a year: Birthday is crossed out and Anniversary written in it’s place and revised again for Valentine’s Day. Maybe I should throw it away so he could get new cards for me…..but the sentiment was so wonderful that I keep it and he knows where to find it for the next time! After all shouldn’t most days demonstrate appreciation for each other?


karyn February 12, 2010 at 10:25 AM

I do like to receive flowers once in awhile – but on a random “I was thinking of you” day would be more meaningful. I told my husband not to get any gifts so he won’t feel pressured. We try to focus on the Valentine saints and we focus on our love for the kids and the family. Like everything else, the retailers have taken over legitimate holidays. I do think it’s nice to have a day when we focus on love – it’s easy to take one another for granted. And with that in mind, I think it’s nice to do something for your spouse, even writing a beautiful letter or taking over a chore you don’t usually do. And that goes for the ladies too.


Neal@Wealth Pilgrim February 12, 2010 at 9:27 AM

Rinati….ok…but your boy friend obviously doesn’t need a holiday to be reminded of you. Hence, no V-day required. Random flower purchases are fine for people overloaded with cash I suppose….

Gotcha! Sorry…the Rinati ship goes DOWN!


Rinat February 12, 2010 at 8:34 AM

Daddy, I think you’re being a LITTLE extreme.
On one hand I agree with you, “money can’t buy me love” and I don’t expect/want a shiny new present every week from my boy to display his love.
HOWEVER there is nothing wrong with spending a few shekels on flowers here and there, because at that point it’s not about the money that was spent on the flowers, but the thought that went into it. I know that when he saw those tulips, he thought of me and that’s why he bought them, and he wasn’t grabbing on to any “bait” as you say :)

Anyway, love you daddy! And I’ll be sure not to get you any flowers don’t worry 😉


Pam McCormick February 12, 2010 at 8:33 AM

I do resent the message retailers are sending it poisons our whole society making people feel bad.If money were no object well back to reality- what I get as a gift does not equal how much I am loved THANKFULLY….My husband,my daughter and my son-in-law convey their love and appreciation all year long and I am one happy women!I actually would love to get a note from family or a friend telling me something they love about me…not falling all over me just a moment they thought “that was nice” or I love when Pam does” something personal is a treasure.


Neal@Wealth Pilgrim February 12, 2010 at 8:03 AM

Right on.

You know what….I never thought about how this brainwashing impacts my wife. I wonder if women resent the message that the retailers are selling us?


2 Cents February 12, 2010 at 8:35 AM

This one does. I think that type of advertising belittles both men and women. If your wife requires expensive gifts to prove you care or your husband gives you expensive gifts rather than time and respect, what does that say about the true nature of your relationship?

Diamonds won’t be there for you when you’ve had a bad day or tell you that you look great when just woke up and you know that you look like something the cat dragged in. Those gifts mean a lot more than anything money can buy.


2 Cents February 12, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Way to stick it to the man. I’m also tired of being made to feel like love=money. I recently celebrated a birthday, and the flowers my husband bought me (daisies – cheaper than roses, but my favourites) are still beautiful. I told him that if he wanted to do anything for Valentine’s Day, he could replace them once they’re gone. I also asked him to just write a note rather than buying a card. That means more to me anyway.

Thanks for a great post!


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