Dinner. Movie. Designer Aftershave. A heart-shaped blimp that launches a gaggle of white doves into the sky upon landing. When it comes to showing your affection on Valentine’s Day it’s easy to go completely overboard. However, if you think women are more prone to overspending on February 14th, you might want to reconsider. According to a survey by shopping app Shopkick, men plan to go all out this Valentine’s Day, spending more than twice as much as women.
Men plan to spend an average of $207.60 on their significant other, while women plan to spend $89.54 on their sweeties. Depending on your financial situation, that’s a lot of money regardless of your gender. With the push to impress on Valentine’s Day ever present, how do you know how much is too much? Are you even required to give your date anything at all?
If you’re looking to make a great impression, you might want to consider giving your date a token of your affection — even if it’s something small. According to the survey, 40 percent of men and 31 percent of women believe it’s “very important” to GIVE a Valentine’s Day gift. When it comes to “giving” on Valentine’s Day, men are in the lead, however, they’re also the least likely to want anything in return. Fifty-five percent of men don’t find it at all important to receive a gift, and not many of either gender find it very important; only 17 percent of women and 11 percent of men.
The most popular gifts to give on Valentine’s Day are the traditional dinner out (27 percent) or flowers and chocolate (21 percent), but that doesn’t mean these are necessarily great options for everyone. Whether you decide to go all out with a fancy dinner or stick to something small and simple, depends on how long you’ve known the person and the nature of your relationship.
If you have no clue where to start, here’s a breakdown of some awesome potential gift ideas.
You just swiped right yesterday and you’re on your first date.
If you’ve just met online and you’ve decided to brave Valentine’s Day as your first official date, you are not required to buy your date a present (in fact, showing up to the date with a gift in tow might actually be kind of creepy.) However, treating them to a drink or dinner is totally acceptable. If they insist on paying the tab on dinner, offer to buy them a drink afterward. Even if they refuse, they’ll appreciate the gesture.
You’ve been on a few dates, but haven’t had the “determine the relationship” talk.
In this case, it’s totally acceptable to spring for dinner and/or drinks with your new love interest. However, if you want to do something more, stick to consumable gifts — flowers, a bottle of bubbly, chocolate — that can easily be enjoyed. This relationship is super fresh, so you don’t want to give any gifts that outlast the level of commitment. Jewelry or an expensive accessory (like a watch) would definitely be too much in this case.
You’ve had the talk and you’re going steady.
If you’ve been dating exclusively for a while, you have permission to go a little extra on your date. Whether you decide to go full-out on a night of classic romance (candle-lit dinner, roses, wine, chocolate), keep things small and intimate (a sweet handmade card and a gift that reflects one of your inside jokes) or something in between, how much you spend really depends on your personal style and how long you’ve been together. In this case, it’s best to talk to your new love about what you’re each comfortable spending so that you have the same expectations.
Remember, it’s the thought that counts.
Doing something nice for the person you’re dating doesn’t need to cost $80-$200. Small, sweet gestures can be just (if not more) meaningful. While women are more likely than men to make a gift (15 percent vs. 7 percent) or give experiences (16 percent vs. 10 percent), guys don’t shy away from the less traditional Valentine’s Day gifts. If your date is extremely busy with school, work, family or all of the above, the offer to make them a home cooked meal is golden. Alternatively, shun material gifts. Whether it’s a cooking class or a session of couple’s yoga, creating an opportunity where you can both experience something together is a great way to create lasting memories.