Valentine's on a budget

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By Gaurav Ghose, Financial Features Editor  www.gulfnews.com

It may be true that money can’t buy you love, but that doesn’t stop love-birds feeling the need to splurge every year on February 14.

Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News
Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

In the US this year, consumers on average will be spending $196 (Dh720) on their beloveds — eight per cent higher than last year — according to an American Express survey. Flowers remain the most popular gift, followed by chocolates, jewellery and electronics. Half of those surveyed said they intend to celebrate the day at a favourite restaurant, which is again seven per cent more than last year.

And there is more good news, ladies: men will be out-spending women.

In Dubai you generally don’t need an excuse to spend, especially when malls, hotels, restaurants and spas run various promotions and packages, but some of these can be very expensive and are not necessarily good value for money. Before you realise, you are lavishing hundreds, if not thousands, of dirhams on expensive gifts for your significant other. Among the spenders will be those who are still paying the bills from their holiday spending and already facing money woes.

As with any spending, you should decide a budget that you can afford and stick to it.

“That means if you have to treat your wife to a super bouquet of flowers rather than a day at a 5-star spa, then that is what you should do,” said Sarah Lord, wealth planning director at Killik and Co’s Dubai office.

And those in debt, or those considering getting into debt in order to indulge those closest to them should think again, said Richard Taylor, chartered financial planner at Acuma Wealth Management, Dubai.

“Forget going out, go back to basics and make the effort to do a ‘homemade’ Valentines.”

Experts agree you don’t need to break the bank to celebrate love. There are ways to be frugal and yet make it a memorable day for both of you. More info