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Valentine’s Day Costs the Average Consumer $200, Survey Says

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By Kristin McGrath
February 10, 2012


At my neighborhood grocery store, there is a table trimmed with pink and red gauze. Hard at work are several employees, dipping strawberries in chocolate. There are also shelves loaded with various heart-shaped gifts, conveniently located near the entrance for the last-minute shoppers who will be ducking in on the 14th. I call this the "Oh shoot, it’s Valentine’s Day!" section.
 
I admit, I actually am a fan of Valentine’s Day. It’s fun, sweet and a little silly. But I imagine I’ll spend less than $20 to celebrate it. That’s a far cry from the average, according to a recent American Express survey. The average consumer is expected to spend $196 for Feb. 14 this year. That’s up 8 percent from 2011.
 
More than half of consumers will be buying gifts (mostly flowers, gift cards, jewelry and electronics, according to the survey). And nearly half will spend the evening at their favorite restaurants.
 
As for me, my wallet is still recovering from the holidays. And I’m too much of a procrastinator to snag a reservation at a restaurant. My significant other and I will be making it a takeout-and-Netflix night — although I don’t think I’ll be able to resist buying a box of those chocolate-covered strawberries.
 
With Valentine’s Day spending — and saving — in mind, here are some of the top personal finance blog posts and articles of the week.
 
Mint suggests some sweet — and cheap — ideas for Valentine’s Day dates.
 
Time Moneyland describes how you can have a candle-lit dinner at White Castle and Waffle House.
 
Credit Sesame debunks three common myths about relationships and money.
 
Get Rich Slowly takes a DIY approach to Valentine’s Day.
 
Money Ning gives some advice about how to "take the bite" out of date night.
 
Making it a movie night? Bargaineering gives some tips on how to get the most out of Redbox.
 
"Cents"able Momma shares some Valentine’s Day freebies.