The Price of Love: Just How Much Should You Splurge on V-Day?
American humourist Mark Twain said, “there are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate—when he can’t afford it and when he can.” The shopaholics version goes like this: “I shop, therefore I am.” Case closed and does this also come in amaranth pink?
Valentine’s Day is the perfect cover for showering the people we love—including ourselves—with more love. As we turn the corner into February, limited-time discount codes land in our emails and in-store promotions dangle in our faces. And eventually, like Eve and the apple, we’re going to take a bite.
So splurge if the mood takes you. But keep these key concepts in mind and make your Valentine’s Day shopping savvy, not sinful. (Well, a little bit sinful…)
La Bella Figura
The Italian concept of the “beautiful figure”, everything in proportion, applies to Valentine’s Day gift-giving too. If you’re tempted to take out a second mortgage in order to purchase the Rolex Submariner for Cartier ($100,000) for your gentleman friend, are you also prepared to unwrap a box of Loblaws macarons and a gift certificate for a mani/pedi in return? (Awkward silence ensues.)
Private equity is all the rage. Savvy investors know that the real skill is not getting into an investment, it’s getting out. If you’re going to blow your budget on a luxury gift, do some research:
There’s aspirational luxury and then there’s high luxury. Not only will a trinket from a high-luxury brand like Hermes generate a bigger “wow” during the reveal—there’s just something about that orange paper bag—but should your inamorata ever tire of said item, there’s a robust secondary market that allows for a profitable re-sale. With mid-tier brands, it’s sunk money.
Studies have shown experiences, not things, give people the most lasting pleasure. Hence the African safari over the resort collection from Gucci. (Do I detect a whiff of moral superiority?) Before you make your lover chomp the anti-malaria pills, be honest: is the gift for her or for you? Her version of a wildlife sighting could just be the embroidered appliqué tiger on the back of a Gucci bomber. If you’re going to break the bank on a Valentine’s Day gift, make sure it will be appreciated by the actual recipient. Vive la différence.
Latin for “make haste slowly.” Fashion trends flip faster than Vancouver condos. Before you “one-click” your way to a hot designer look for your beloved, take pause. You may be jumping onto a trend that’s already in its late innings. Mind those sartorial expiry dates!
This is where a gift card comes in. Or, you can make like Warren Buffett, who would set a timer and then invite his loved ones to run amok in a luxury department store and grab whatever they could before said timer hit 00:00. Not a billionaire? Depending on your budget, you could do this at Canadian Tire instead of Holt Renfrew. Just be prepared for the backlash either way.
Your Favourite Mistake
Finally, if Valentine’s Day splurges have made your credit card debt a bit “toppy”, sit yourself down with a Kir Royale and a post-spree budgeting session to regain your balance—so that you can re-splurge next Valentine’s.