When I think about Valentine's Day, I think about love, flowers, and shopping on a budget. Unfortunately, because Valentine's Day is celebrated right after Christmas and my birthday my husband and I are usually short on funds. For most people that would force them to turn to traditional gifts like stuffed animals, but I steer clear of those. These are some traditional Valentine's Day gifts I refuse to waste money on.
In the weeks leading up to my first Valentine's Day with my husband, he asked what he should get me as a gift. I told him I didn't like flowers so he should avoid them. He didn't understand why I didn't like them, so I explained what I meant. In my experience a bouquet of flowers can cost as much as $30 for common arrangements and more than $100 for the more exotic ones, and I can't see spending that much money on something that will only live a week. He took my advice and skipped the bouquet, but still bought me a single silk rose, which I thought was perfect.
Every time I look at greeting cards I'm shocked by their prices. Cards at specialty stores or big box stores can cost as much as $5 to $10 each in my area. I know I could buy cheaper, less glitzy cards from the local dollar store, but I'd rather save my money to buy something a little higher end.
I should say I'm not entirely against buying stuffed animals on Valentine's Day, but I think they should be reserved for children. I also refuse to pay more than $5 on them, which in today's time is hard to do because most cost $10 or more. I recently saw a stuff animal at a big box store that retailed for $40, and I think that's too much money for something that will be stored away shortly after it's received.
These are three very traditional gifts that someone might give their spouse on Valentine's Day, and if you combine the total amount they each cost, you could easily spend $50 or more for all three. There are a lot of nice things you can buy for $50. For example, I was able to get my husband a gun vice that he wanted for his work bench for $30, and I know it's something he wanted and will love.
I think it's important to think about who you are buying for when you are planning to spend money on a gift. While I understand these gifts may be perfect for some people, I truly believe they are a big waste of money.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.More from this contributor: First Person: The 4 Items I Always Buy in Bulk First Person: Personal Spending Challenges for 2013 First Person: Celebrating Valentine's Day on Less Than $60