As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s time for men and women alike to begin thinking about gifts for their significant others. And in a world of red roses and cheesy gift cards, it’s easy to become cliché. Unfortunately, when we try to be “different” or unique, we often end up spending a lot of money (think Caribbean cruises or dinners that cost over $100). At Clearpoint, we want to help you make this Valentine’s Day truly unique and one that will provide financial benefit. So this year, be bold, be original, and give one of these five unique Valentine’s Day gifts that will actually provide a financial return.
Make a Student Loan Payment
We’ve talked a great deal lately about student loans and the problems they are causing for borrowers around the country. If your significant other has student loan debt, use Valentine’s Day as a chance to help pay down the balance. Even a small amount can help minimize interest growth, which will save money over time.
Help with Car Maintenance
Let’s face it, everyone needs to keep their vehicles in working order. After all, for most of us our cars are how we get to work and make our money. But maintenance is something that often gets overlooked, and it isn’t fun to pay for. After all, a “dirty air filter” doesn’t sound like something that really needs to be replaced, and “$400 for tires?” you gotta be kidding me! In reality, these are important costs, and we need to stay on top of them. Take this burden off of your Valentine treating them to a timely tune up. Offer to pay for an inspection, oil change, or whatever else is needed. You could also wash their vehicle for them (especially if you live in an area that’s been hit with snow and other yucky weather lately that can damage paint on vehicles) or put your own mechanical knowledge to use.
Give Tools or Equipment for a Business or Hobby
Do you have a Valentine who makes crafts and sells them at shows or on Etsy? Or, maybe your partner works on cars or mows grass as a side job. Whatever the case may be, there might be an opportunity for you to give your loved on something that would serve as a piece of “capital.” In other words, this would be some sort of tool or resource that could help them make more money down the road. In our examples, this could be a paintbrush, a wrench set, or a shovel. But they don’t have to be physical tools. Books in their field of work, tickets to an important lecture, etc. can provide opportunities to help expand your loved one’s skill-set, while also providing a unique Valentine’s Day gift.
Help with a Credit Card Balance
We mentioned student loans already, but one type of debt that’s usually worse is credit card debt. If your Valentine is carrying high-interest credit debt, consider a gift to lower or get rid of the balance. This will help your partner in the short-term, but it won’t immediately solve their spending problem. Be sure to talk about healthy credit use and communicate about your finances, especially if you choose this alternative Valentine’s Day Gift.
Start a “Spontaneous Fun” Fund
This is a great Valentine’s Day gift for couples who have differing opinions about money. Maybe one is the spender and one is the saver. Usually what happens in these situations is that one partner is happy-go-lucky and open to spending money on spontaneous activities, while the other is a little more reserved (some would call it “uptight, although they might be the better budgeter. A spontaneous fun fund can solve this problem, and it can come from either partner (the spender or the saver). It’s simple. Just take an envelope (you can decorate it for even more fun) and put money inside. Agree on a place in your house or apartment to keep the envelope, and add more money periodically (as your budget allows). On weekends or at other times when you want to do something fun or random but are worried about the costs, you’ll remember your fun fund and at least some of your financial anxiety will be lifted.
Enjoy this Valentine’s Day
We hope these tips are helpful and that you can put at least one of them to use this Valentine’s Day. Doing so will show that you are thoughtful, unique, and budget-conscious. Any Valentine can appreciate that, right? And speaking of budgets, be sure to check out our free credit counseling service where you can get your credit score and professional advice about how to better manage your money–all for free!