Your sweetheart may give you something sweet this Valentine's Day, but here's the rub -- it's probably not what you want.
For guys showing up for a hot date with candy and flowers, Cupid's arrow may miss its mark. While flowers, candy and dinner are projected to be this year's top Valentine's Day gifts given by men, according to RetailMeNot.com's Shoppers Trend Report, it's not what women want.
There is a disconnect in nearly every category of gifts, with less women wanting the typical romantic runaround this Valentine's Day.
• 38 percent of men are planning a romantic night on the town and only 25 percent of women want that.
• 33 percent of men are buying their significant other candy, and only 20 percent of women want that.
• 32 percent of men intend to show up with flowers, while only 27 percent of women want that.
So what do women really want? It's an old cliché that still holds true: diamonds really are a girl's best friend.
Jewelry is the only category in which men fell short of women's expectations. About one in five women want jewelry for Valentine's Day and only one in six men are planning to purchase jewelry items.
Overall, about half of consumers are planning to spend $100 or less on their significant other. If you are indeed spending for a Valentine's Day date, here are three quick tips on how to spend smart while spoiling your sweetie:
1. Watch the credit card use. When you're out on the town, it's easy to get carried away spending on drinks and dining. Keep credit card spending under 30 percent of your credit limits and monitor your credit health afterwards by checking your credit score for free at CreditKarma.com.
2. Avoid scams and stress. On one of the biggest spending holidays of the year, scams and identity theft can run rampant. Protect your credit cards from fraud and billing errors with BillGuard, which scans your spending activity for red flags.
3. Do damage control. Check your credit card statements to assess how much you've spent. If you splurged on that diamond necklace, avoid debt and interest charges by paying off your credit card as soon as possible with a free debt repayment plan from ReadyForZero.com.
Perhaps the most startling part of the survey is the fact that consumers are far more frugal than extravagant, and it's perfectly fine among men and women alike.
In fact, one fourth of consumers plan to spend nothing at all this Valentine's Day. Also, 80 percent of survey respondents said they would be "happy" if their significant other used a coupon to save money this Valentine's Day.
The real lesson here is to be more savvy than sentimentally spend-happy.
The titillating threesome of flowers, candy and a romantic night out aren't necessarily what women want nowadays, so forget being a big spender and be a smart sweetheart and figure out what she really wants.
So good luck finding a coupon to Tiffany's.
Justine Rivero is the Credit Advisor for CreditKarma.com, a free credit management website that helps more than 4 million consumers access their truly free credit score and free credit monitoring.
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