Putting the Crunch on Romance

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Expect fewer chocolates and smaller bouquets from your partner this Valentine's Day - people are looking to save money by cutting down on romance, according to Scottish Widows.

Research by the pension and investments specialist reveals that nearly three quarters (73%) of people expect their finances to become more stretched due to the current economic situation. When asked what costs they may cut down on in order to save money, many people pointed towards areas traditionally associated with romance. 38% of people interviewed said they would be prepared to cut down on romantic weekends away, while 44% of people said they would consider ditching going for meals with their partner and 36% of people said they would be prepared to spend less money on flowers. People were keener to continue socialising with mates - just 32% said they would be prepared to drop "social events with friends and family".

Alison Morris, Scottish Widows financial expert, said: "You may not think it, but when times get tough, people arguably become less romantic. The problem is that many of the things associated with 'romance' - meals out, weekends away and the like - are the kind of luxuries which are dropped in difficult times, so people can concentrate on paying their mortgage, food bills, petrol bills etc.

Women are also more likely than men to do away with romance in order to save money. More women than men are prepared to cut down on romantic weekends away (42% of women compared to 35% of men), buying flowers (42% compared to 30%), going out for meals with their partner (48% compared to 41%), and buying presents for loved ones (29% compared to 25%).

Alison Morris added: Times are tougher than they were 12 months ago, but so long as people think creatively, Valentine's Day can still be romantic. People who are strapped for cash may want to consider shifting focus to the 'little things', in other words gestures which cost little but have meaning. This means making a telephone call at the right time, or spending time cooking a meal rather than spending money eating out.

If times are looking especially tight for you, it's always a good idea to talk to a financial adviser about how you can reorganise your finances to be best placed to ride out the economic difficulties. As we enter a tough financial time, and the crisis in the markets begins to affect everyone, it is more important than ever to be well prepared.

Visit Scottish Widows now to find out more about our pensions, life insurance, pension calculator, retirement accounts and Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs)

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Susan McDonald