12-Feb-2021 • Personal Finance

ME’s annual Love and Money survey has shown that not even COVID-19 can cancel Valentine’s Day.

When loved-up Australians were asked if they would be adjusting their spending on this romantic day this year, 67% said they ‘would be spending the same’ as last year’s celebrations.

Only 27% of lovebirds are planning to spend less due to the impacts of COVID-19 while a few (6%) are planning to splurge more.

ME also asked Australians in a relationship if Valentine’s Day should be permanently cancelled because it could be a waste of money. Showing that love is still in the air, 65% of respondents said ‘no’ to culling the celebration of love.

“Despite many Australians being generally more cautious with their spending due to the impacts of COVID-19, it’s clear many loved-up Australians still value spending a little to celebrate all things love,” said ME’s Money Expert, Matthew Read.

Around half (52%) of Australians in a relationship are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year (up 2 percentage points from 49% in 2020).

Lovebirds estimate they’ll spend an average of $140 on their partner (down $10 from $150 in 2020).

Across generations, Gen X romantics are planning to pull out all the stops with the highest average spend of $208 compared to Baby Boomers who intend to spend an average of $92. Furthermore, non-heterosexuals plan to spend more ($196) compared to heterosexuals ($134).

Of those choosing not to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the top reasons were ‘it’s not a priority for us’, ‘it’s a commercial event’, and ‘anniversaries and/or birthday are more important days’.

ME also asked couples who thought Valentine’s Day was a waste of money, what they would rather do with their cash. The top responses were:

  • Saving for a holiday, car or other large expense other than a home (45%);
  • Building up ‘rainy day’ savings (40%);
  • Dining out / socialising with friends (32%);
  • Getting personal debts under control (29%).

An overwhelming 84% of lovebirds agreed that ‘Valentine’s Day is about showing love in any possible form versus buying things’.

“It’s good to remember the saying ‘it’s the thought that counts’. Celebrations don’t have to break the bank and it’s important to remember there may be other financial priorities,” added Read.

“Communicating with your partner about expectations for spending can help avoid disappointment and ensure you’re both on the same page when it comes to gifting − and one of you isn’t caught empty-handed.”


Editor notes: ME’s Love and Money Survey is based on national survey of 1,000 Australian adults in a romantic relationship. The survey was conducted in January 2021 with fieldwork by Pure Profile.

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