7 unbreakable Valentine’s Day rules

Look, we’re money experts, and that’s why we’re the only people you should trust for solid advice about planning the perfect Valentine’s Day. Well, maybe actuaries, as well.

It’s all about risk analysis, isn’t it? Capital outlay versus projected return on investment; overheads and turnover; interest and appreciation…

It’s a basic condition of the market that you and your beloved observe this special day, so it’s best to accept that from the start. Even if you both whole-heartedly reject all excuses for consumerism: by 13 February, you’d better be crafting a romantic marula-twigs-and-berries hat or something, if you know what’s good for you.

And so, having appointed ourselves romance experts who take love seriously, as much as we encourage you to take your money seriously, we present to you Nedbank’s 7 unbreakable Valentine’s Day rules that will help you make better money choices, and make the day a stress-free success. Cross our hearts…


1. Book a romantic restaurant – weeks later, for your birthday

Any seasoned waiter will tell you (you have only to ask, although he’ll probably tell you to stop seasoning him first, but we digress) that there are 2 days of the year on which you shouldn’t take a loved one out for a special meal: your mother on Mother’s Day, and your significant other on Valentine’s Day.

They are usually the industry’s 2 busiest days, so restaurants will cram in as many tables and sittings as possible, leading to rushed meals, rushed cooking, rushed service, and a much higher chance of disaster striking and ruining your night out. So it’s not the best way to spend your time, or your money.


Your ‘eternal gratitude and devotion’ are nice, but they’re hard to show off to friends 


But food is famously the music of love – or at least, the overture – so a romantic meal is still on the cards. Just cook it together, in your love-nest. Find a lovers’ menu online that matches your skills as a kitchen team, and you don’t even have to schlep to the shops to buy the ingredients. You can order them all in the online stores on the Avo super app by Nedbank, pay via your preferred method, and have them delivered to your door.


2. ‘Don’t get me anything’ is a trap!

You will exchange gifts. We don’t make the rules; we’re just laying them out for you. Accept the rule that gifts are expected, whatever anyone says when they’re being all cool beforehand. Don’t fall for that. There will be tears before bedtime.

It doesn’t matter whether you buy something inexpensive with sentimental value, an extravagant statement about the size of your love, or hand-make a gift because you’re a marula-twigs-and-berries kinda couple. What matters is that the gift is real and visible. Your ‘eternal gratitude and devotion’ are nice, but they’re hard to show off to friends.

The gifts you exchange should reflect how you relate as a couple, but also depend on the depth of your relationship. Is it new, just getting serious, well established and comfortable, or at the lifelong soulmates stage?


3. Don’t jump the gun

New love is wild and exciting, making you want to show it to the world with big extravagant gestures when you buy a Valentine’s Day gift.

Don’t.

If Valentine’s Day is your first date (no pressure) or even your fourth or fifth, a beautiful flower arrangement (from a florist on Avo, not the garage), exotic drinks or luxury nibbles are all acceptable.


Save the serious relationship discussions for a time when there’s no social pressure 


St Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time of year you’ll exchange gifts if this turns out to be the start of a life-long love. So, relax – you’ll have the time, and the opportunities, to get each other more meaningful gifts as your relationship grows more intimate.


4. Dispose of the proposal

Valentine’s Day is different after you’ve been together long enough to be considered a couple. It may even be the date you discuss going to the next level and making a long-term commitment, however you define that.

But it’s still not the time to pull out a ring and make a grand public proposal, especially if you’ve ignored our advice on making better money choices and gone out to dinner. There are too many downsides for the potential upside to be worth the risk.

If the object of your affection is pressured into saying ‘Yes’ when they actually mean ‘No’ through fear of public embarrassment, you’re looking at trouble down the line. If you’re turned down flat, everyone else in the restaurant has to live through the cringe fest, and both of you will have a phobia about Valentine’s Day for the rest of your life.

Save the serious relationship discussions for a time when there’s no social pressure, and you can be utterly honest with each other. (That said, if you do need to buy jewellery, you can find it on Avo too …)


5. Don’t let familiarity breed contempt

When you’ve been married or living together for a while, it’s easy to get cynical about Valentine’s Day. How does buying someone a very expensive gift just because of a random social tradition prove that you love them?

That’s when you need to stop listening to the music of bitter divorcees and remember that it’s the thought that counts. Receiving a gift makes you feel loved, but the effort you put into finding the perfect gift – not necessarily the most expensive or desired gift, but the one that your partner will receive with surprise and joy – is one way to remind yourself why you love them.


All love begins with the self, after all

A tailored gift like this demonstrates how well you know your partner, and the search doesn’t need to be physical legwork, either. If your circumstances don’t allow you time to spend at the mall, shopping apps like Avo give you the chance to browse gifts in any category, according to unique preferences, and have them delivered.


6. Experiences and memories last longer than stuff

Once you’ve been together long enough to know that you’re soulmates, your Valentine’s Day priorities will probably change again. When a relationship hits the 30-, 40- or 50-year mark, it’s the anniversary presents that get expensive. Valentine’s Day gifts can be more about spending quality time together and enjoying different experiences.

Your perfect adventure might be a couple’s day at a spa, a course in scuba diving, a sunrise hot-air balloon ascent, a mountain-bike trail ride, a winelands tour … whatever you would both enjoy as a couple. Travel, trips and unique experiences are also on the Avo menu, so planning a Valentine’s Day surprise is a digital cakewalk.


7. Love yourself

If you’re single and you’ve read this far, gosh, you’re a glutton for punishment, aren’t you?

Kidding! Singletons deserve a lot of recognition on Valentine’s Day, as you bravely press on with your lives through a blizzard of happy-couple propaganda on every single media channel. We’re frankly surprised that more of you don’t snap and start ‘accidentally’ knocking over the luxury choccie displays in the supermarket with your trolleys, so well done, you!

But since you have no-one policing your behaviour, on Valentine’s Day feel free to spoil yourself – all love begins with the self, after all. Whatever you consider self-pampering, whether it’s aromatherapy, a massage, indulgent eats and drinks or a solo adventure of your own, you’ll find all those offers, vouchers, discounts and more on Avo.

And you won’t have to share.