How to relieve stress and bond more this Valentine’s Day

a woman giving a man a gift
Photo by Anna Tarazevich on

About 52% of Americans say they plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day this year. 

For many, commemorating this day of love and romance comes at a significant financial cost. In 2022, more than $4 billion dollars was spent on a romantic evening out, with candy and flowers also being popular gifts.

Spending to celebrate Valentine’s Day is expected to reach 26 billion dollars this year. That figure is up 2 billion dollars from last year.

Expectations can run high on February 14, as people tend to see expensive gifts as a symbol that their love is true. Those expectations can lead to pressure to spend more. And with inflation hikes of over 6% in the last 12 months, spending may be the last thing some people want to do.

“Inflation is adding stress to everyone, requiring people to make hard choices as to how they’re going to cut down on spending. This makes us feel deprived. Valentine’s Day exacerbates this pressure because people are afraid that if they don’t give their partner an expensive gift or take them to an expensive restaurant, [then] they will lose their love,” explains Carole Lieberman, MD, an author and psychiatrist in Beverly Hills.

Instead of allowing that stress to negatively impact your mental health, you might consider getting creative this Valentine’s Day. Plus, it’s like the Beatles said: “Cause I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love”.

A less expensive, more personal, gift will certainly help your wallet. But it will also help create a more intimate bond between you and your partner. We take a look at the impact financial stress can have on relationships, and share ideas for more cost-effective but no less romantic Valentine’s Day gift ideas.

Financial Stress, Mental Health, and Relationships

Research shows that there is a link between dealing with financial stress and mental health issues. In fact, 46% of people who are struggling with debt also have mental health challenges. Of those who have mental health issues, almost 90% say stress about finances makes things worse. Depression, anxiety, inability to sleep, and fatigue can all be a result of financial stress.

The stress not only impacts you; it takes its toll on your relationship.

“Financial problems are the third leading cause of stress in relationships. Financial stress generally creates overall dissatisfaction as we become increasingly more sensitive to the cost of things (needs or wants) and the awareness of how we are not able to meet those needs. This fear-based thinking for many feels like the only reality at the moment and can prevent them from seeing alternative solutions,” notes Kiana Shelton, Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Mindpath Health.

Financial problems are the third leading cause of stress in relationships.


Open communication about finances, realistic expectations, and creating a budget that you can stick to are great ways to combat financial stress in a relationship. Those actions can be implemented on a regular basis, and particularly when it comes to Valentine’s Day.

“Consider finding more personalized or individualized ways to show your love for your partner, things that would not be as quantifiable in monetary terms but rather would be emotionally impactful and resonant with your partner or date,” advises JD Friedman, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist, Baker Street Behavioral Health.