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Save Money: Break Up Before Valentine’s Day

This article was written by in People. 16 comments.


This is a guest article by Jennifer Calonia, Junior Editor at GoBankingRates. In the article, the author encourages couples in failing relationships to break-up before holidays and their obligatory expenses are imminent.

While it may sound like the antithesis of romance, calling it quits with your other half before the Valentine’s Day can be advantageous to your heart and your checkbook. Gift-giving and travel (if your significant other is across country) on Valentine’s Day is poised to destroy the savings of those who are too apprehensive to raise the white flag of surrender when it comes to their dead-end relationship.

According to a 2010 report by graphic designers Lee Byron and David McCandless, more couples break up toward the end of the calendar year–peaking two weeks before Christmas and the month after Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's DayThe data were gathered by conducting a year-long search on Facebook statuses which included the words “break up” or “broken up.”

Many argue that data used by Byron and McCandless is drawn from a highly defined sample pool, noting that most Facebook users are younger in their years. Despite that limitation, this study raises significant questions for those in the midst of a turbulent or stagnant relationship.

Break up to save money on gifts and travel

As the saying goes, “breaking up is hard to do,” but it could be a wise financial decision to opt out of your relationship if it’s already hit a brick wall. Instead of waiting for the report’s break-up peak after Valentine’s Day, why not face reality before February lands on your doorstep?

Observances like Valentine’s Day are among the highest-rated gift-giving holidays among couples next to birthdays. According to the National Retail Federation, in 2011, the average expense on Valentine’s Day gifts to a significant other was $68.98 — a figure that is on the rise.

Further, all of the subsequent holidays in the year (i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and a sprinkled birthday) present an open door for extra out-of-pocket travel expenses when planning to attend your partner’s family gathering or scheming a romantic getaway.

At the risk of being denounced as cold-hearted or even cheap, severing strained relationships before Valentine’s Day is at minimum, a savvy move for your wallet.

Broken heart: better investment

Seeking out and fostering a relationship with a partner is at its root an effort in finding a spouse. Stringing your significant other along when you don’t see a future ahead is not only by many people’s standards cruel, it’s a fruitless investment. Whether you’re dealing with emotions or finances, keeping long-term goals in sight are an important aspect of achieving success and happiness, overall.

Struggling relationships may not see another opportunity to break up until March, and time is money. There is never a “good time” to break-up, so biding one’s time after the holiday season and into Valentine’s Day is not the most effective approach in the long haul.

Break up with civility before February 14 comes around and open yourself up to a well-rounded year of improvements in 2012.

Editor’s note: I can’t say I’m a fan of making relationship or romantic decisions with finances as a trigger. Personal finance experts tend to see the world in terms of money; if you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail, or so the saying goes. Obviously finances must be a consideration in major decision-making, and ending a bad relationship earlier rather than later is a better choice than lingering. The worst case scenario is losing a quality relationship over the cost of a bouquet of flowers or a meaningful gift.

Published or updated January 15, 2012. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jessica @Everything Finance

Well that’s certainly one way to save some money. Probably better to just end it once you decide it’s not going to work out, regardless of the day. Relationships and money are both slippery slopes, it’s been my experience that both succeed when you are open, honest and on the same page.

Of course, I’m a single divorcee’.

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avatar shellye ♦107 (Cent)

Well…this is certainly an unexpected twist on a topic. I guess if the relationship really isn’t working, or isn’t worth saving, might as well cut all your losses now, rather than invest any more time and money into it.

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avatar Jamie

If you’re in a bad relationship, break up now – regardless of what holidays are on the horizon. It’s not about saving money on the gift. It’s because life is short.

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avatar KC @ PsychoMoney

Priceless. I had a friend that used to always tell me to stop wasting money on other guys wives. Goes hand in hand with what you are saying.

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avatar Olivia

Agree – they are going to hate you for breaking up with them anyway. 2 weeks before Christmas, Xmas day, Feb 13, Feb 14, who cares, when you know it’s time, it’s time, just get it done and move on with your life!

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avatar I Need Money

I wish I’d read this article before breaking up with my last girlfriend. I knew the relationship was doomed, but still went on an (awkward, expensive) holiday with her first. Thanks for telling it like it is (should be!)

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avatar Robert @ The College Investor

Kind of sad, yet true.

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avatar Maggie@SquarePennies

I know someone who broke up with his girlfriend every year in early November because his girlfriend’s birthday was toward the end of November. He would get back with her just after Valentine’s Day. That way he avoided having to give gifts for her birthday, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. This went on for 3 or 4 years in the same pattern. Now that’s just cheap, and not very nice either. They eventually got married and have stayed married almost 40 years, so I guess the end result was still fine. Her mother was the one who noticed the pattern first!

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avatar Jeff Crews

I do not know if I should even comment on this specific blog post. My relationship is amazing, but I wouldn’t want the girlfriend wondering why I commented on a blog with this title. I have heard of some people breaking up before Christmas and saving tons of money. Either way, you will not hear of me doing these things.

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avatar MoneyforCollegePro

Ha! Definitely a good way to save money. However, I am married, so breaking up is not an option. On the lookout for other great money saving idea for Valentines Day!

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avatar qixx ♦1,890 (Half-Dollar)

Still an option. But not one that will save you money. Plus harder to do than as a single person. An option. Just not a good one.

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avatar Ceecee ♦53 (Newbie)

This is kinda funny. My boyfriend and I just agree to keep it simple and not fall in to the marketers’s traps. A small box of chocolates is fine. It’s what he does day in and day out the rest of the year that matters.

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avatar Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

So practical and so funny as well. I never understood why people stayed together just to have a date on Valentine’s Day.

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avatar TakeitEZ ♦549 (Dime)

I agree with CeeCee. My wife and I both don’t really care for the expensive material things and do our best to keep it simple but thoughtful. If your significant other demands an expensive gift as mandatory to express your or their love then maybe that in itself should cause you to take a closer look at the relationship and its potential.

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avatar lynn ♦155 (Cent)

This article is hilarious! And right on the money. (excuse the intended pun, please) My DH is from a family of 8 children. If we were ‘together’ (in HS) at Christmas or any holiday that required gift giving, he would break up with me because he couldn’t afford a gift. He confessed this after we were married 25 years! Thanks for the good memories, Flexo.

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avatar csdx

Hah, relationships, causing us to ignore the sunk costs fallacy since before history

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