It is Valentine’s Day on Sunday! ‘Tis the season of love 🙂 . In 2015, US$18.9 billion (yes, with a “B”) was spent on Valentine’s Day related gifts and activities in the United States of America. I do not have the stats for Nigeria or the rest of the world, but I can imagine the numbers are just as mind-boggling. So, we can safely conclude that love can get very expensive!
I will not go into the technicalities of what makes an appropriate Valentine’s Day gesture and what is not, how much should be spent, or whether to celebrate at all. What I WILL state is that: “Don’t let love break the bank!” Wondering what I mean? Let’s take a walk with Gbenga.
Gbenga is a 25-year-old man who is a junior analyst at a bank. He has finally gotten Yemisi, a 23-year-old intern, to agree to be his girlfriend. It is 5 days to Valentine’s Day, and he is thinking of what to do to wow her on that day. He has come up with the following plan to impress his girl:
- Buy her a really nice piece of jewellery (cost: N25,000)
- Take her out to dinner at a fancy restaurant (cost: N20,000)
- Take her to see a movie she’s been wanting to see and grab a snack while at it (N5,000)
Total bill: N50,000
N50,000 may be a drop in the ocean for some, but not so for Gbenga. His monthly take-home salary is N100,000 per month and his regular monthly expenses are as follows:
Description Amount (N)
Rent (he shares an apartment with friends) 35,000
Feeding & Transportation 25,000
School Loan Repayment 20,000
Contribution to Mama* 5,000
As we can see, Gbenga has only N5,000 of “free” money left after he takes care of his needs and obligations – and he has not yet put anything aside for savings 😐 . His Valentine’s Day plan would surely break the bank!
We would not want Gbenga to get into financial trouble over love now would we? So let us give him some precious advice. Gbenga has two options:
- Cut his coat according to his cloth: Gbenga’s true discretionary income this month is N5,000, so he can stick to the item on the plan that fits within his budget, i.e. take Yemisi to see a movie she’s been wanting to see and grab a snack while at it. This way, he is spending within his means, having fun while at it, and not taking on useless debt.
- Save his money: This is even better; who says one has to spend money to have fun? Gbenga has a television in his room with a basic cable subscription. He can invite Yemisi and another of their couple friends over to a potluck dinner and in-house movie viewing :-). The benefits of this option are: (1) Gbenga and Yemisi get some quality get-to-know-each-other-better time between themselves, as well as with the other couple; (2) Gbenga gets to add to his savings; and (3) Gbenga has enough food (food never finishes at a potluck, he he) for the next few days, meaning he can save some of the amount he has budgeted for food.
If you were Gbenga, or Gbenga’s big sister, which option would you pick?
Happy Valentine’s Day in advance dear readers! And remember that true love has no price.
* featured image courtesy valentinedate2016.com