Featured Image Red roses, a diamond necklace, a box of chocolates and an overly-priced card. Call me unromantic (it’s a word, I looked it up) but these things have never appealed to me, at least not on Valentine’s Day. This weekend I searched for a Valentine’s Day card for my husband. After finding the one I felt best matched our relationship, I flipped it over to see how much it was. $8.99! FOR A CARD, PEOPLE! Listen, I love my husband dearly, but I’m totally not willing to pay $8.99 for a card. He’d be happier if I spent that $8.99 on something meaningful and told him how much I loved him instead signing my name under someone else’s words. I’m also anti-clutter so, once cards have been read, we hang them on the fridge for a bit then they go in the recycling. And though I do love flowers, I prefer them in the ground as opposed to making a mess of pollen on my kitchen counter. (Side note: Pass the Allegra-D.) So maybe I’m not the one to ask about perfect Valentine’s gift, but I do think many people can overspend on Valentine’s Day. On that day, we want our loved ones to know they’re special to us and it can be a lot of pressure. And sometimes that pressure causes us to spend more than our budget allows. Occasionally buying gifts or spending money on your significant other is perfectly normal, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your financial health to show you truly care. Keep in mind that most people prefer a thoughtful gift to an expensive one. In fact, there are many ways to show your love and do something nice that doesn’t cost a dime, like pulling out old photos and reminiscing on the good times or planning a movie night at home. How about playing a special song and dancing in the living room? This Valentine’s Day my husband and I are challenging each other to be more thoughtful and intentional in our gift giving and setting a (small) budget. The goal is to emphasize the value of our time together and exchanging sentiments rather than extravagant gifts. You may find that doing the same can take the stress out of the holiday for you and your partner. February 14th is a day set aside to celebrate your love and happiness with one another after all. Remember, the worth of your relationship is not based in things but on your love for each other. Your partner may deserve the stars and the moon, but feeling secure in your finances is a gift you both deserve. Audra F. Hi, I’m Audra! I’m a marketing specialist here at VACU. I joined VACU right out of college at VCU 5 years ago. In that time, I got engaged, married my college sweetheart and had two babies; a girl and a boy. I’ve learned a lot about finances working at the credit union, but even more from navigating these life changes. So I’m excited to share my personal financial journey with you and what I’m learning along the way. Other stories by Audra F.