Cupid will likely try to convince shoppers to put their good financial judgment aside this Valentine’s Day, and instead don heart-shaped financial blinders when shopping for that special gift.
The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend $17.6 billion during this one holiday, or $126 per person, up 8.5 percent from 2011. “This spending will certainly be a nice boost to the economy,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). “However, consumers who are already in financial distress, or on the cusp, should not feel compelled to spend, putting their own economic well-being at further risk.”
Financial counselors at The Village Family Service Center, a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, suggest that consumers consider the following list of what love is not as they shop for their Valentine:
· Love is not spending more than you can afford on a gift. Regardless of the motive, being overly generously when money is tight is really no gift at all, to the recipient or the giver.
· Love is not being a pretender. Honesty, including financial honesty, is key to any relationship. Don’t pretend that you have money you don’t by playing the big-spender role.
· Love is not making financial decisions with the heart. Even though emotional spending can give a temporary high, it can also lead to guilt and buyer’s remorse.
· Love is not avoiding the financial realities. Burying your head in the financial sand and living as if there were no money problems only digs the financial hole deeper.
· Love is not giving a gift that will soon be forgotten. Most people cannot remember what they received last Valentine’s Day. Making a purchase simply to have a gift in hand will be equally forgettable and a waste of money.
“Spending irresponsibly is no way to say ‘I love you.’ However, showing that you are financially reliable is a tangible expression of that sentiment. It’s a gift that’s meaningful, always in style, won’t wilt or add pounds,” continued Cunningham.
If you need help finding extra money in your budget, contact The Village Family Service Center at 1-800-450-4019 or www.HelpWithMoney.org. The Village has offices throughout North Dakota and Minnesota and also provides phone and online financial counseling.