Does your partner expect you to spend less on a gift this year? You may be surprised.

3 minute read

If you plan to honor you and your sweetheart’s love this Valentine’s Day, you may have already inventoried your bank accounts and credit card balances to see how much you can afford to spend. After all, there’s a lot of pressure on this highly commercialized holiday to prove your love with expensive dinners, travel getaways, jewelry and other costly gifts.

But Valentine’s Day spending could take a pandemic-related hit this year, according to a recent survey from personal finance site WalletHub. And plenty of potential recipients of Valentine’s Day gifts may give their significant other an “expectations” break this year, too.

Around 70 million Americans expect their romantic partner to spend less on Valentine’s Day in 2022, according to the WalletHub survey.

Here are some of the survey’s key findings to chew on while eating your hundredth bowl of pandemic takeout and making big (or not-so-big) plans for this heart-shaped holiday.

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Men more likely than women to take on Valentine’s Day debt

According to the WalletHub survey, men are nearly 30 percent (29 percent) more likely than women to dive into credit card debt by purchasing an expensive Valentine’s Day gift. Around 16 percent of men were willing to whip out the credit card compared to only 12 percent of women.

“As holidays have become more and more commoditized, we all feel the pressure to give the best and most expensive gifts we can. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, for men, this pressure becomes really strong,” says Ayalla A. Ruvio, associate professor, department of marketing, Broad College of Business at Michigan State University.

“Some men have a hard time choosing what they consider the perfect gift,” says Ruvio. “They are also very well aware of the fact that women tend to talk about their Valentine’s gifts with their friends, and no man wants his gift to be less than the other guys’ gifts. So, spending more on gifts seems like the right way to go.”

Find out: 10 Ways to Save Money on Valentine’s Day Gifts

Fewer people willing to go into Valentine’s Day debt this year

The number of people who say buying a Valentine’s Day gift that put them into credit card debt dropped by 17 percent compared to last year, according to the WalletHub survey.

Find out: Money Can’t Buy You Love – But It Can Ruin It

Valentine’s Day spending plans range from nothing to $100+

When those surveyed were asked how much they plan to spend on Valentine’s Day this year, 31 percent told WalletHub they didn’t plan to spend a dime on the romantic holiday. But not everyone holds such a tight grip on their money when true love is at stake.

Here’s what other survey respondents said:

  • 33 percent plan to spend up to $50 on Valentine’s Day
  • 29 percent will spend between $50 to $100
  • Seven percent plan to spend more than $100 on Valentine’s Day gifts

So what kinds of Valentine’s Day gifts do people plan to buy, along with old usuals such as candy (56 percent) and greeting cards (40 percent)? Here’s what America’s heart-thumping sweethearts had to say:

  • Flowers: 37 percent
  • Evening out: 31 percent
  • Jewelry: 22 percent
  • Clothing: 22 percent
  • Gift card: 21 percent

Bad credit could spoil your marriage chances

Planning to propose on Valentine’s Day? How romantic — unless you’re still working on improving your bad credit. If that’s the case, you may want to consider holding off on that marriage proposal until things are looking up. More than a third (37 percent) of those surveyed said they wouldn’t marry someone with bad credit.

“When you consider building a future with someone, you want to be sure that you will be able to do so,” says Ruvio. “Life goals such as getting a mortgage, buying a car, living comfortably, raising kids and retiring well are all directly related to a person’s financial situation. Another important factor is that your own credit score will be associated with your partner. If you worked hard to establish a good credit score, the last thing you would want is to lose it.”

If poor credit is holding you back, don’t be discouraged. Your credit history doesn’t have to relegate you to a lifetime of bachelorette or bachelorhood. That’s because you can fix bad credit over time. The passage of time even works in your favor, since negative account history automatically drops off your credit report after seven years.

Start paying all bills on time, and you’ll soon be well on your way to becoming marriage material eventually (at least financially).

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

Published by Debt.com, LLC