Why you should skip valentine's day
The average male spends about $160 on candy and gifts alone on Valentine’s Day. Let’s add in the fancy restaurant reservation and maybe a hotel room downtown for a romantic getaway and that could easily tally up to a thousand dollars. This holiday is mainly a gimmick created by advertisers.

After spending over 15 years between accounting and financial planning, and helping advise nearly 2,000 families, I’m convicted that it’s the small things that contribute so much to meeting long term financial goals. Saving $100 on one meal, or one holiday like Valentine’s Day, starts to add up over a 20 year plus time frame.Then you factor in investing that money saved, and you start to see momentum, which leads to increased confidence and excitement towards seeing the ability to reach you goals. Here are a few thoughts as to how this upcoming Valentine’s Day could be the start towards reaching your financial freedom:

1. Marketers know that as females you are expecting a gift, prove them wrong. Valentine’s Day this year hit the aisles the day before Christmas Eve to let their gimmick begin. (I know, I saw the Walmart employee set out Valentine’s Day candy on the seasonal aisle with my own eyes in disbelief.) Every time you walk in the grocery store you see the cute pink and red packages and are expected to want the heart shaped candy or teddy bear. Guess what? The candy and the roses will be there February 15, half off. Tell your boyfriend or husband that you either don’t want anything that is targeted to benefit a company’s pockets or you don’t mind having a few treats for half the price the next day.

2. Money can’t buy love, but handmade gifts can. I get it, everyone is doing it and you want to participate in the day of love. So, why not try alternative gifts, rather than spending money? Drop hints that you would rather give each other massages, stay in and cook a nice meal or would like a photo album of you and your significant other. Isn’t it more romantic to receive something unique than the same Pandora bead your best friend just put all over Facebook?

3. Instead of spending money, discuss money. Did you know that money arguments lead to more divorces than anything? Not romantic is it? Yes, everyone likes to be “spoiled” once in awhile, but ladies if this man is going to be the ‘one’ Valentine’s Day may be the day to discuss finances. Before you are married is the best time to discuss and be open about any debt (good or bad), discuss credit scores and how you can live within your means. The same applies if you are married. Make a habit out of making a finance date once a month and discuss your goals and progress in the finance areas.

My dad always said the way you spell love is T-I-M-E, and my parents have been 41 years- such a refreshing thing to witness, such true love and friendship. So, simply consider this Valentine’s Day showing your love with time, and pocket that extra grand. I can assure you that with a little bit of thought, you can blow away your loved one without having to order the $80 filet.

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