A New Valentine’s Day Tradition?

Financial Planning /
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Today is Valentine’s Day, and later this week is Chinese New Year’s Day.  I didn’t know a thing about Chinese New Year, so I did a little reading and found they have an awesome tradition that is perfect for Valentine’s Day.

In China and other Asian societies, when special occasions arise – weddings, new babies, New Year celebrations – people give one another red envelopes.  Think about it!  Valentine’s Day is about love and showing our love through gifts (at least that is what advertisers would have you think).  And Valentine’s Day is all about pink and red!

Try combining these traditions this year.  Instead of buying expensive cards, candy we don’t need, and other useless Valentine’s Day trinkets, give your loved ones – and yourself! — a red envelope.

The envelope can stand in for the money you might spend on Valentine’s Day trinkets and can instead represent a simpler, thriftier alternative.  Use an actual red envelope, or just a metaphorical one – you choose.  Decide how much you would typically spend on Valentine’s Day on purchases that, quite frankly, aren’t needed.  Then put that money in a red envelope addressed to yourself, your family, or other loved ones.

I know this is a pragmatic approach but imagine you and your partner are trying desperately to dig out of a credit card debt hole.  Instead of spending $50 on flowers and a card, apply that $50 to your balance today online.  It may not be the most romantic gesture but think about how good you will both feel when you are a little closer to paying off that debt.

Create a red-themed envelope and include a note about how much you love your partner.  Let your spouse or partner know you appreciate working together to have a better financial foundation.  If a red envelope isn’t romantic enough to keep the peace, find alternate free ways to show your love and appreciation.

Of course, Chinese New Year only falls in the same week as Valentine’s Day every few years.  But you can still make the red envelope a tradition that expresses your love for someone.  Find creative and inexpensive ways to show your Valentine how much you care.  And, if in the process, you can move toward a mutual financial goal, then even better.

What ideas do you have to show appreciation and love on Valentine’s Day that can also help you achieve financial goals?

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