Avoid These Valentine's Don'ts
As much as we love our Valentines, the stress of the occasion is inescapable. Given the retail push on overpriced candy, flowers and jewelry, it's impossible to avoid the pressure of finding the perfect gift. Of course, we strive to give from our hearts, and we understand that love is the most valuable part of the whole event. Still, our emotions can be quite tough to keep in check.

SEE: How To Spend Valentine's Day On A Budget

As compelled as you feel to give and shop, stay rational during the holiday. Here are seven don'ts that you should definitely avoid:

Racking up Credit Card Debt and Interest
At all costs, you should always stay away from debt. Of course, emergencies happen, and you'll find yourself in positions that need more money than you have. Valentine's Day is not one of those situations. No matter how much you love your spouse or significant other, the debt simply isn't worth it. In all likelihood, your day of joy will cause weeks or months of financial stress. If you're going to splurge on a fun night out, vacation or gift, make sure to pay cash.

Spending More Money Than You'd Like
Valentine's Day should be an occasion to celebrate love - not materialism. Keeping this fact in mind, focus on the non-monetary ways that you could make your loved ones happy. Cook a nice dinner. Spend an evening at home. Plan a romantic day trip to a museum or park. You shouldn't feel like you're being cheap or uncaring - you're just being rationale. As often as we hear the expression, it's true: it really is the thought that counts.

Expecting Too Much
If you find yourself hoping for an over-the-top expensive diamond ring, now is the time to stop. Without even realizing it, we sometimes hold our spouses to extraordinarily high standards. Are you accidentally or inadvertently setting the bar too high? If so, reevaluate those expectations rationally, and take it upon yourself to have a loving yet practical and open conversation about the day. Make your expectations clear by saying exactly what you want – and keeping dialog open.

Feeling Bad for Yourself If You're Single
While this tip isn't money related, it's definitely worth mentioning. More often than not, people who are single will feel sad on Valentine's Day. If you find yourself a little bummed out, stop immediately! Get some friends together, and treat yourselves to a night in or out. Instead of sulking, celebrate your independence. You don't even need to spend money. Treat yourself to a nice home cooked meal or bubble bath. (To learn more, read Be Mine, Frugal Valentine.)

Overthinking the Date
Instead of fretting over where the rose petals should go or what jewelry you should wear to complement your outfit, live in the moment. Of course, you should put some good effort into your date, but don't drive yourself crazy. Otherwise, you'll just waste the time and money that you've invested into the occasion. Relax, be yourself, embrace the bloopers, and treat yourself to well-deserved fun. Don't let Valentine's Day become an out-of-control stress fest.

Spending Money on Food or Perishables That Will Go Bad
Why buy a bunch of flowers and cookies that are going to rot in a few days? Themed goodies come at a significant premium, which we definitely see the day after Valentine's Day when prices immediately deflate. Instead of buying perishables, invest in something with stronger, longer lasting returns. As an alternative, don't buy it at all.

Putting all the Financial Responsibility on Yourself
The strongest relationships require compromise. Instead of feeling like you need to pay for an elaborate date, share the expense and plan something together. While it's wonderful to surprise one another, it's equally valuable to build something together. If you find yourself pressed for time and money, you can both take ownership over the effort and responsibility. After all, that is what true love and genuine friendship are all about.

The Bottom Line
Without a doubt, we're in Valentine's crunch time. Instead of instantly jumping into stress mode, embrace the countdown. Above all, the day should be about love - not stress or worry. No matter what you do, take your rationality to heart. (For more, see The Premium You Pay On A Valentine Gift.)

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