Unlocking love and budgets this Valentine’s Day
AS Valentine’s Day approaches, one financial expert is advising couples to know their partners’ preferences so as to avoid unnecessary expenses. Michelle Sinclair Doyley, manager of client financial education at JMMB Group, emphasises the importance of understanding your partner’s love language, especially after the costly Christmas period.
“A person called me about a love interest buying her a Movado watch for her. The lady was most upset and gave back the watch; it was too much too soon,” said Sinclair Doyley in sharing anecdotes of grand gestures gone wrong.
“Another person was talking about getting two dozen roses and being upset; I’m like, ‘Why?’ She said she doesn’t like roses; she said the money could have been put to better use,” Sinclair Doyley shared with the Jamaica Observer, emphasising the importance of knowing your partner’s likes before diving into grand gestures.
She encourages a more thoughtful approach, suggesting creative expressions based on the concept of love languages — words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.
“For those who prefer words of affirmation, a card would be a more appreciated gift. Write a love letter or do a scrapbook or photo album. Yes, we are online but you can do something physical, talking about what was special in each photo,” she suggests. “[Try] sticky notes plastered over the house with kind words and in personal belongings as a surprise,” she continues, offering budget-friendly ideas for planning your Valentine’s Day celebration.
While gift-giving is a popular choice for February 14, Sinclair Doyley stresses the importance of budgeting in advance for such occasions. Depending on the stage of the relationship, she said couples must be able to sit with each other and have an open conversation about their budgetary constraints.
“If you are at the stage now where you guys want a house… and you guys said you won’t spend more than X amount because you want to put money towards a house — so normally if you’d spend $20,000, we’re not going to spend $20,000; we’re going to spend $5000 and save $15,000 — that can bring people together because it is a shared vision,” she told
She, however, warned against discussing budget constraints only when Valentine’s Day arrives as it may send the wrong message and trigger negative feelings.
“The person might feel like you don’t want to do anything and all of a sudden you don’t have any money,” she said jokingly.
She expressed that those actions could trigger thoughts of feeling less valued than others and instigate thoughts of infidelity.
“Discuss it before February, because from February rolls round you have to think about [your] valentine,” she suggested.
As a financial educator Sinclair Doyley did not shy away from telling
Sunday Finance that “broke together is not romantic” and suggested that couples should try to assess their financial situation and try to improve it, as money issues can create trouble in a relationship.
“It gets less and less attractive, unattractive, and breaks up relationships. Managing finances together is critical, as is understanding what money means to our partner,” she said.