Dating and debt make for a complicated relationship, Achieve survey finds

Achieve's Valentine’s Day survey reveals consumers are spending less to show their love and talking about debt earlier and more often in their relationships

February 13, 2024

SAN MATEO, Calif., February 12, 2024 — While many consumers are spending less on gifts and experiences to show their Valentine’s Day love and affection, more are having the conversation about finances earlier in relationships, including talking about major purchases in advance, according to a Valentine’s Day survey by Achieve, the leader in digital personal finance.

Achieve’s survey found that a whopping 94% of respondents plan to spend less than $500 on Valentine’s Day gifts, with the majority (72%) purchasing gifts for significant others, 20% giving gifts to children, 20% purchasing gifts for friends and 19% buying gifts for themselves.

Achieve also asked consumers how they typically feel about their Valentine’s Day spending once the holiday is over and found nearly half of respondents are content with their purchases without getting carried away.


Chocolates or candies are still the gift of choice for Valentine’s Day, with 58% sharing their sweet tooth. Other popular gift categories include dining out (49%), flowers (37%) and jewelry (14%). The survey was conducted in late January 2024 by the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights, a think tank that publishes research and commentary from Achieve’s team of digital personal finance experts.

“Budgets are proving to be important for Valentine’s Day celebrations, with the majority of survey respondents looking to spend less than $500 for their gifts and experiences,” said Austin Kilgore, analyst for the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights. “Dining out or making a romantic dinner at home or giving gifts of candy, flowers or cards are great ways to show Valentine’s Day love without breaking the bank and we see most consumers selecting these options over pricier tokens like trips, experiences and jewelry.”

With 67% of consumers saying that they’re sticking to a tight budget for Valentine’s Day, it’s not surprising that 77% of respondents said they try to find deals and discounts on their Valentine’s Day purchases and 70% said they actively look for ways to save money on Valentine’s Day.


The survey from Achieve also looked at relationships and financial conversations and found that half of respondents (51%) think that people should discuss their debt and other aspects of their financial situation within the first year of a relationship.


While talking about debt is one side of the coin, hiding debt or spending is still part of many relationships. When it comes to hiding debt or spending from a significant other, 15% of respondents admit to having done this, while 20% said it has happened to them. Likewise, 38% said they would end a relationship if their partner hid debt or spending from them. More than a third (33%) of respondents say that debt wouldn’t stop them from being in a relationship, however 29% claim that $10,000 in debt is enough to make them consider ending the relationship. In addition, 11% have been in a romantic relationship that ended due to one person’s debt, spending or other financial challenges.


When it comes to debt and dating, there is often a disconnect between what respondents expect from a romantic partner and what they’re comfortable doing themselves. For example, 85% of respondents believe people should be upfront about debt and spending habits early in a relationship, but 65% also said that it’s ok not to reveal how much debt you have early in a relationship. Likewise, 83% said finding a compatible partner is more important than how much debt they have, but 64% said they wouldn’t want to date someone with a lot of debt. Debt is a barrier to marriage with 71% saying they would want a significant other to pay down debt before they got married.


“In addition to having conversations about individual finances and the amount of debt carried into a relationship, the importance of regular conversation about purchases, especially the big ones, is a must in any partnership,” Kilgore added. “Getting comfortable with financial dialogues is a critical element in a healthy relationship and can be a great foundation for starting a budget, planning toward the next financial goal or taking down debt in stride.”


The data and findings presented are based on an Achieve survey conducted in January 2024 consisting of 1,000 U.S. consumers ages 18 and older, and is representative of Census Bureau benchmarks of the U.S. population for age, gender, race and ethnicity.

About the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights

The Achieve Center for Consumer Insights is a think tank that leverages Achieve’s team of digital personal finance experts to provide a view into the state of consumer finances. In addition to sharing insights gleaned from Achieve’s proprietary data and analytics, the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights publishes in-depth research, bespoke data and thoughtful commentary in support of Achieve’s mission of helping everyday people get on the path to a better financial future.

About Achieve

Achieve, THE digital personal finance company, helps everyday people get on, and stay on, the path to a better financial future. Achieve pairs proprietary data and analytics with personalized support to offer personal loans, home equity loans and debt resolution, along with financial tips and education and a free mobile app, Achieve MoLO (Money Left Over). Achieve has 3,000 dedicated teammates across the country with hubs in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. Achieve is frequently recognized as a Best Place to Work.

Achieve refers to the global organization and may denote one or more affiliates of Achieve Company, including (NMLS ID #138464); Achieve Home Loans, Equal Housing Lender (NMLS ID #1810501); Achieve Personal Loans (NMLS ID #227977); Achieve Resolution (NMLS ID # 1248929) and Freedom Financial Asset Management (CRD #170229).


Erica Bigley

Vice President

Corporate Communications

[email protected]



Austin Kilgore


Corporate Communications

[email protected]


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