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Valentines: memory-to-cost

It’s easy to frantically search for the perfect gift on Valentines, but that rush is exactly why you may not be properly evaluating the best gift to give. The most important factor in a gift isn’t the cost, but how well it will be remembered positively. Here are some ways to think about the memory-to-cost ratio of your gift choices.

To maximize memory, consider how many times your significant other will either use the gift or think about the gift. To figure this out, think about the problems he/she encounters regularly or think about what regular new routines he/she would likely incorporate into a day or week. If you’re buying an experience, what will he/she tell friends about, take lots of pictures of, or remember for a long time?

Cost doesn’t have to correlate to value. A fancy dinner could be memorable, but a home cooked meal might be even more fun. A trip might be really fun, but what’s more important is how the day is structured to maximize events and memories, so you can either have one big trip or multiple fun activities throughout the neighborhood and home. He/She won’t remember the cost, but you might, so it’s best to choose a price point that’s comfortable.

Now the trick is to figure out which combination creates the most value at the least cost. This does not mean to minimize cost. It might be that an expensive gift, like a house, has the longest useful memories if lived in together for the rest of your life. Or a simple low cost hand written card will be discarded or lost accidentally, thus has very limited memory.

Don’t forget that you are the most important part of the day for your significant other, just as they are to you, and your companies are both free, so try to maximize time together to really boost the memory-to-cost ratio of your gift.

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