Between flowers, candy, jewelry, and a night out on the town, Valentine's Day can be nearly as expensive as Christmas for some couples. There are a lot of myths about Valentine's Day gifts, and we're here to debunk them.
If you've ever wondered whether you're getting the best deals possible on chocolates, diamonds, or a romantic night out, read on to learn the truth about some common Valentine's Day misconceptions.
Myth 1: You Can Extend the Life of Cut Flowers with Bleach or Aspirin
Actually, Reader's Digest confirms that aspirin, bleach, soda, and even pennies can help keep blooms fresh longer, but there are longevity solutions that are specific to the blooms in your bouquet that can work far better. And if you're shelling out $50 for a bouquet of long-stemmed roses this Valentine's Day, it's only fair to try and maximize their life as much as possible, not just a little bit.
Apartment Therapy notes that some types of flowers respond much better to a more personalized touch. They write that "hydrangeas last longer if you gently smash the end of each stem and immerse them in ice water before arranging. Hollow-stemmed flowers like delphiniums do well if you turn the flowers upside down, fill the stems with water, and seal them with a wet cotton ball before arranging. Poppies, and other flowers that ooze sap, last longer if you first immerse the bottom 2" of their stems in boiling water for 10 seconds."
So if you're buying something other than roses, ask your florist what longevity trick they recommend for the flowers in your bouquet. Chances are, they'll recommend the commercial product that comes with your arrangement — not aspirin or bleach.
Myth 2: Chocolate Will Get Your Partner in the Mood
There's a reason women often get a box of chocolates on Valentine's Day. It's commonly believed that eating chocolate alters a woman's brain in the same way that falling in love does. In other words, eating chocolate is a great way to get your wife or girlfriend in the mood for lovemaking.
This is one of those myths that is sort of true, but also sort of false. According to Fox News, chocolate does have an impact on brain chemistry. When you eat chocolate, it increases the production of serotonin, aka the "feel good" chemical.
However, women who are experiencing low levels of serotonin are actually more likely to demonstrate "increased aggressive sexual tendencies" and "increased promiscuity." So if you're hoping that Whitman's Sampler might help you get lucky, you might be better off skipping the chocolate gift box this year.
Myth 3: Your Girlfriend is Hoping You'll Propose
There's no night of the year that's as romantic as Valentine's Day, so of course it's the best possible night to pop the question. Or is it?
According to a 2014 article from the Daily Mail, 70% of women don't want to get a proposal on Valentine's Day, arguing that a V-Day proposal is "too gimmicky" and too predictable. Almost 50% of women surveyed stated they'd rather have their proposal come as a complete surprise. So if you're planning to drop a few grand on a ring for a big Valentine's Day proposal, you might be wasting your money. You can still buy that ring, but consider holding off on the big proposal.
Myth 4: When it Comes to Gemstones, Bigger is Always Better
Alright, so we've tried to dissuade you from making a Valentine's Day proposal, but that doesn't mean you need to skip jewelry altogether. Just don't focus too much on the size of the stone. When it comes to many gems — especially diamonds — clarity, color, and cut are just as important as the carat weight.
There's another reason not to go for jewelry or engagement rings with big stones (and big price tags). According to one Emory University study, there's some evidence that big stones mean shorter marriages.
When it comes to diamond rings, men who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on a ring were more likely get a divorce than those who spent under $2,000. (That being said, guys who spent under $500 also had high divorce rates.) So there you go, men: scientific proof that you shouldn't spend too much money on a diamond ring. It's for the good of your relationship.
Myth 5: Restaurants on Valentine's Day Charge the Same as Any Other Night
A dinner out is a dinner out, right? In fact, with so many restaurants running prix-fixe menus, you might think you're going to spend less on a Valentine's dinner than you'd normally cough up for a nice meal. But both Birchbox and Yahoo, agree that these prix-fixe Valentine's Day menus are likely to be overpriced.
Plus, let's be honest: you and your date are far more likely to order lavish, "romantic" things like lobster or a bottle of Champagne for a special occasion like Valentine's Day, and that's going to push your bill through the roof. We're not saying it's impossible to find a reasonably priced, fancy dinner on Valentine's Day, but it will require a little foresight and a lot of restraint. Keep your eyes peeled for local Groupon or LivingSocial deals, or check out the Facebook page for your favorite restaurant to get notified about their Valentine's Day specials and promotions. If you have any restaurant gift cards for Christmas, this might be the time to use them.
Myth 6: You Have to Celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14
This year, we're lucky enough to have Valentine's Day fall on a Saturday, so it's easy to make plans that work around your work. However, not everyone loves the idea of sitting in a crowded restaurant or movie theater with a bunch of other couples on Valentine's Day. In recent years, there's been a trend where couples do a pre-Valentine's Day date instead. If your significant other's biggest pet peeves are crowds and waiting in line, agreeing to have "Valentine's Day" on a day other than the 14th is probably a smart idea.
Readers, how are you planning to save money on Valentine's Day this year? Share your tips in the comments below!