There are some financial mistakes you only make once. Being sold an endowment mortgage, and forgetting to sell my Northern Rock shares, spring to mind. But they pale in comparison with telling a woman that Valentine’s Day is (and, to my shame, I quote): “…a wholly artificial construct, devised solely to give the retail and leisure sectors a much-needed boost in the traditionally quiet first quarter.”
This really is not advisable. Trust me. Not only does it quadruple the cost of what could have been a straightforward visit to KFC via Clinton Cards, but it also results in an annual reminder that sufficient cash needs to be parted with this year – and, indeed, on every subsequent February 14th.
However, it seems that going to the other extreme in the pursuit of true love can prove even more costly. A few days ago, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued a warning about “common internet dating scams that can leave you heart-broken and out of pocket.” Not a good combination. Trust me.
According to the Cupid Cops:
“The increased potential to meet new people online is being used by scammers to con people out of their money. Scammers target singles columns and dating websites to search for potential victims. They create fictitious online profiles or send out unsolicited emails or letters, often with fake photographs. Scammers use the trust gained to persuade victims to part with large sums, with some frauds going on for years.”
I know the feeling – every time I read the special St Valentine’s Day menu, for the 6.45-7.15pm sitting, at my fifth-choice restaurant.
So what’s the OFT’s advice? “If you receive any requests for money, be suspicious.”
More easily said than done. Trust me. Most men, when faced with requests for money from retailers and restaurateurs, end up spending up to five times as much as women on “romantics gifts and treats”, according to Tesco Bank. And 7 per cent of lovelorn fools lavish more than £200 on the objects of their affections.
It can’t buy you love – but it can buy you peace and quiet for another 12 months.