Illustration by Derrick "DJ" Reed

Valentine’s Day has been an age-old tradition celebrating romance as we know it since the 14th century. Though you may feel pressured to go big this Valentine’s Day, money should not be the deciding factor in what makes the day special.

Four out of 10 people say irresponsible spending habits are a bigger turn off than bad breath. That’s a pretty bold statement, and it serves testament that money should not be the main concern for a modern couple when it comes to romance.

According to a survey on WalletHub, only 8% of those surveyed said they expected their partner to spend more than $100 on a Valentine’s Day gift. That leaves 92% of people surveyed who expected their partner to spend less than $100.

It is easy to get caught up in the Valentine’s Day media frenzy. We see big-box retailers hawking chocolates and enormous teddy bears. We get advertisements for jewelry in the mail. The pressure builds, and it is easy to cave and go all-in when it comes to spending.

Before you do though, stop and think about something meaningful and personal you could do for your significant other rather than giving in to the spending. If they don’t appreciate something heartfelt that you put time and effort into, then you’re probably better off with someone else.

Valentine’s Day was meant to be a time of year where lovers expressed their feelings for each other through small gifts and cards. Now in 2020, Valentine’s Day has become something else entirely.

Americans alone are expected to spend around $50 billion for Valentine’s Day this year. That astronomical number is made even more baffling by the fact that fewer people are celebrating Valentine’s Day than last year.

Why this is happening is because the people who are celebrating are spending more.

As cliche as it may sound, the true meaning of Valentine’s Day is being overshadowed by the over-commercialization of the holiday. Valentine’s Day ads encourage people to spend their money on material objects while they neglect the more meaningful aspects of the celebration.

Valentine’s Day should be about spending time with the people in your life that you love and care about; It doesn’t even have to be a significant other.

A good Valentine’s Day date does not require cash to be meaningful and special. A good Valentine’s Day date can be as simple as cooking a meal at home together, then having a movie night. 

This Valentine’s Day should not be a time for Americans to spend billions on material things, but a time for them to reflect on their relationships and the most important connections in their lives. Though there is nothing wrong with spending money on the person you love to show them how much you care, be sure not to lose sight of the fact that money is not what really matters on this holiday.