Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. We all want to splash out on wonderful gifts for the special person in our life. Sometimes, though, we might let our desire to please overtake sensibility. It’s important to really consider what we’re spending our money on. Justifying big purchases on feelings alone could end up hurting us in the long run. Considering the big pull marketing has on our heart, we should take stock of what really matters and where our money should go.
One of the biggest examples must be expensive diamond engagement rings. For many, the idea of a diamond ring is simply part of being in a relationship: an expensive item you save up for, give to your loved one, as part of the process for marriage.
Yet, as many have written about and discussed, the “tradition” of buying a diamond ring is merely the outcome of a successful marketing campaign. The Atlantic famously covered this back in 1982. After the First World War, De Beers hired a marketing agency in America that:
suggested that through a well-orchestrated advertising and public-relations campaign it could have a significant impact on the “social attitudes of the public at large” and thereby channel American spending toward larger and more expensive diamonds instead of “competitive luxuries.”
The idea was to associate diamonds with romance. The rest, as they say, is history. The association between romance and diamonds wasn’t some organic, societal norm. It was entirely the product of marketing. This realisation does not have to mean cynicism. It can be an opportunity to rethink our reasoning for buying a very expensive item.
For example, instead of investing in a glorified rock, why not put that money toward your own house. It can be an opportunity to look at home loans and begin building a new life with your partner. This seems a far better investment than a very expensive piece of jewellery. Both a home and a diamond ring are testament to your affection for the other person and a reflection of your commitment. However, only one of those puts a roof over your head.
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to expenses. There’s always somewhere better our money can go. Yet, when we assess our reasons for spending – especially when the expenses are large – we should at least be more reflective with our reasoning. While it may be charming to let our hearts sometimes rule our wallets, we should be wary about letting our hearts dig too deep.