Guest Contribution by Dr. Joti Samra
5 steps to a financially-wise Valentine’s Day:
Identify your beliefs, assumptions and expectations around Valentine’s Day: then challenge them.
Start by articulating your beliefs and assumptions around Valentine’s Day. Be honest with yourself. Do you think you have to take your partner out for a fancy expensive dinner for them to know how much you love them? Do you worry your partner will be disappointed if he or she doesn’t “get” an expensive gift? Articulate the thoughts that compel you to overspend on Valentine’s, and then challenge those thoughts. Ask yourself, are those thoughts accurate? Are they valid? Check in with your partner and ask them if they feel or expect what you may be assuming they do.
Create a Valentine’s Day budget.
It is amazing how often people don’t do the obvious – speak openly about how much they are going to spend on Valentine’s Day. Often, we get caught up in assumptions or perceived expectations of what we think the other person wants or expects, and then end up overspending on unneeded and unnecessary items. So talk openly about this; speak to your partner about what you would each like to do, and set (and stick to) a Valentine’s Day budget. Be realistic in this and keep in mind, Valentine’s is ultimately just another day.
Be creative in planning Valentine’s Day activities.
Generate fun, low-cost activities you can do with your partner. The main overarching aim is to spend time together on this day. Make a special dinner at home; turn off all technology (cell phones, TVs, computers) and just focus on each other; go for a long walk; take a day off work and spend the day in bed cuddling and watching movies. Do something you might not do on another day. The day can be meaningful and highly memorable in the absence of fancy dinners or extravagant gifts.
Give low or no-cost gifts.
Make a pact to spend no or little money on gifts. If you have a talent, use it! Write a love letter (handwritten, not text or email). Write a poem or a song. Choreograph a sexy dance for your partner.
Remember: love is not defined or communicated by material goods.
In this day and age of consumerism, it is easy to get caught up and feel the pressure of having to “buy” something as a symbol of our love. Keep in mind that how much you love, care for and adore another is not related to what you buy them! Our love is communicated by making someone feel special and important to you: so do something this Valentine’s Day that communicates that to your partner.
Interested in learning more about how your extended health benefits can work to better your relationships? UBC Staff and Faculty have access to a number of health related prevention services through the Employee and Family Assistance Program. Staff and faculty who are enrolled in UBC’s extended benefits plan also have $1,200 coverage per year to see a Registered Psychologist.
Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych., is a clinical psychologist and organizational and media consultant. She is the host of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Million Dollar Neighbourhood” and was the psychological consultant to CITY-TV’s “The Bachelor Canada”. She has also served as a psychological consultant and expert to a number of other TV shows and news outlets. Dr. Samra maintains a clinical practice in Vancouver. Her website is www.drjotisamra.com and she can be followed @drjotisamra.