Why must Valentine's Day fall just two months after the season of buying presents, taking trips, and general nonstop spending? Well, because February 14th may have started as a Roman feast called Lupercalia that fell between February 13th and 15th, which eventually was combined with the Catholic Church's "Saint Valentine's Day." Alas, it's not just brands out to get our money. History is to blame, too. Even if your pockets are lined post-holidays, it's difficult to know how much to spend on Valentine's Day. It all depends on how long you've been dating.
If you've only gone out with someone once or twice, it's safe to say that you can spend exactly zero dollars on them this Valentine's Day, and that a tongue-in-cheek "HVD!" text will suffice. Beyond two dates, there's got to be some acknowledgement of the cheesy-but-unavoidable lover's holiday. You don't need to buy your date a $300 face cream (hello, La Mer!) but you will likely end up spending some money on them, even if it's just the money you spend taking them to dinner (hello, ladies of 2018!).
The best gifts are not always the most expensive ones, so you don't need to worry about dropping all of your savings on Hamilton tickets to impress your partner. Still, you don't want to overspend on someone who might dump you in a week, or underspend on someone who presents you with a beautiful succulent (always a winner over flowers, IMO). Elite Daily spoke to senior matchmaker and dating coach of SawYouAtSinai.com Lori Salkin about how much you should spend on Valentine's Day based on how long you have been dating. Here are the verdicts.
A Few Weeks
If you're in puppy love after a few dates, you're technically already gifting each other with your presences this Valentine's Day, right? Or maybe I'm just being cheap. "Unless it's a first or second date, a token gift acknowledging Valentine's Day is definitely appropriate even at an early stage in a relationship," says Salkin.
I guess it's nice to give a small gift, or pick up the tab at V-Day drinks with your unofficial partner. For example, my friend sells spices, and the bae I was seeing around Christmas loves cooking, so I bought a mini Garam Masala — a blended mix of Indian spices. The small gesture was appreciated. Little gestures really do go a long way. Overall, spending $0 to $50 seems about right.
A Few Months
OK, so sh*t's getting serious and you probably really like each other at this point. You might start feeling all of the "how serious is this going to be" fears, but if you are into your partner, I think you should take a stand and declare your feels by spending a solid amount on a gift for them. "If you've been dating for a month or more, a single rose at the beginning of the date is appropriate but skip the fancy dinner on Valentine's Day," says Salkin. "It will only make things feel forced and awkward, find an activity to do that night instead."
Maybe like concert tickets? Spending between $50 and $100 on an activity you can do together feels about right at this point in the relationship. (Remember, like Bitcoin, relationships this new can be hard to predict, so don't over-invest...)
Six Months And Up
You're probably very official by now (though I've been in longer unofficial relationships, but that's another story) and you're probably very comfortable with each other. I think this is a great time to drop a little dough. "If you're in a longer or very long and serious relationship, [you] can go for the Hollywood dinner if that's [your] style," Salkin adds. "But choosing a much more personal gift than the cliché fancy dinner and chocolates can be much more meaningful and memorable."
Like what? You might ask. "If you've been dating for four or five months, it's much more meaningful to get her something simple and inexpensive that [they've] either admired on a date or mentioned [they] like and want to buy for [themself]" says Salkin. I would add that you can splurge a little at this point, while still keeping it meaningful. Around $100 seems about right.
A Year And Up
You've celebrated at least one Valentine's Day by now. "If you've been dating for a very long time, a year or more, flowers, dinner and chocolates is impersonal and could be hurtful," says Salkin. "At a year plus, a piece of jewelry or some personal though still substantial gift — for one of my couples last year it was the Canada Goose coat she's been admiring but didn't want to spend money on to get herself — is much more appropriate."
I think buying your loved one something they would never buy themselves is always a great move, whether it's an expensive piece of clothing, a lavish dinner, or even paying for lattes at that overpriced coffee shop your partner tries not to spend too much at. At the end of the day, it really is the thought that counts, so why not pick something out that's thoughtful and personal, even if that ends up being a card. (Or, if you're brand new to dating, a really nice text.) HVD, lovers!
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