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Peschke: Valentine’s Day gifts shouldn’t come with debt

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

One of the most common ways to ruin a relationship with your Valentine is to let money woes come between you.

Retailers are hoping for a windfall this year that will approach $18 billion during this single holiday. It may be difficult to separate your head from your heart when considering a gift for a special person, but in the long run, following a few simple principles will pay dividends and ensure lasting affection.

Consider that if special wants or needs have to be sacrificed in the future because of a hasty, expensive purchase, your loved one will experience a great deal of disappointment resulting from your over-spending in February. It’s likely that gift will be long-forgotten, but the consequences of your rash choice will linger and cause resentment.

Don’t pretend to be something you’re not by playing the big spender. Doing this will likely destroy whatever respect and trust existed between you when it turns out that you are living on a shoestring. Imagine the embarrassment when you have to admit the pretense.

Realize that when you spend impulsively, rather than sensibly, you will certainly experience buyers’ remorse and a feeling of guilt. Facing the fact that you did something truly foolish, instead of using the good judgment you pride yourself on, will damage your self-esteem.

Don’t fail to recognize your financial situation by going overboard on a single gift. This will result in digging a credit hole from which you may never recover. You and your loved one may pay the price for your indiscretion for some time to come. This financial stress will certainly drive a wedge between you in the future,

Avoid impetuous purchases, no matter how attractive the gift may be. Think about what is really important to you and the one you wish to please. Often the recipient experiences a short-lived happy response, but the gift may be soon forgotten.

Thoughtfulness is listed often by people as the most memorable quality they appreciate in others. Small actions that lighten another’s daily chores or concerns rank highest on the “Demonstration of Affection Scale.” Gifts of time and effort never fail to show not only that you care, but also that you care enough to analyze what the other person values.

Keep in mind that showing financial responsibility is a tangible expression of personal maturity and a great way to say “I care.”

Giving gifts of kindness to friends and loved ones is tangible proof of affection and usually doesn’t cost a dime. As an added bonus, thoughtful actions don’t wilt or add pounds.  

Happy Valentine’s Day.

• Virginia Peschke is executive director of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of McHenry County in Woodstock. 

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