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You don’t need to resort to payday loans this Valentine’s Day

Last year we saw more than double the normal page referrals from payday loan companies over Valentine’s, suggesting people were borrowing to fund a night of romance.

By law, payday lenders have to link through to pages here on the Money Advice website and we noticed a spike in traffic on the 14th and 15th February. The 113% increase in referrals to our payday loans pages was more than double the average daily traffic.

Though payday loans are not as expensive a debt as they used to be thanks to increased regulation and caps on interest, they can still quickly turn into much larger debts than you expect.

So even a smallish amount taken out to buy dinner and flowers for your date can become a burden.

But don't rush out and slap your spending on plastic, or dip into your overdraft instead. They will still cost you money in fees or charges. Indeed, even though there are far cheaper options for borrowing money than payday loans, the first rule of borrowing is to only do it to pay for essentials. And as important as Valentine’s Day might be to you or your partner, it’s certainly not essential spending.

Avoid overspending at Valentine’s

Despite this, there's still a huge amount of pressure in shops and restaurants essentially saying the more you spend, the more you love someone. Which we all know really is nonsense. So if you’re thinking of showing your love for your partner this week with a night out or gift, but don’t have much cash to spare, here are a few alternatives to consider.

DIY Valentine’s

New research by price comparison site has revealed 47% of UK adults have received a gift for Valentine’s which they didn’t like. That’s a huge waste of cash.

So instead of spending money on something that could end up never used, put a bit of thought into something more personal. Perhaps it’s cooking a meal from scratch, or even a simple homemade card.

Stick to a budget

Try to avoid splashing out on anything you can’t afford. It’s better to be upfront about what you can afford and working within it.

That might mean hunting out some vouchers and deals for flowers, fizz or meals out. Or if you’re not fussed about doing something on the 14th itself going out on a day when it’s less busy should be cheaper.

Money worries

If the reason you’re stumped for cash at Valentine’s is down to bigger money issues, then further borrowing – not just payday loans - can make the situation worse.

It’s important to get control of existing debts, and if that doesn’t seem achievable then it’s important to acknowledge the situation and seek help. You can find free and independent help near you using our Debt Advice Locator tool.

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