Valentine’s Day…How Much Do You Spend?

valentine's dayHow much will showing your love on Valentine’s Day cost you? According to the National Retail Federation’s January 2014 spending survey, the average man plans to spend $108.38 on his significant other while the average woman plans to spend $49.41 on hers. The average person expects to spend a total of $133.91 on Valentine’s related items this year on family members, friends, teachers, colleagues and pets. (20% buy their pets something for Valentine’s Day.) According to, 61.8% of consumers celebrate Valentine’s Day and the percentage of women who would end their relationship if they didn’t get something for Valentine’s Day is 53%. I read that and thought, “really?”

I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m getting “older” but Valentine’s Day isn’t that big of a deal to me anymore, not like it was when I was younger. There was a time I wanted flowers or chocolates or a piece of jewelry, not only to “prove” our love, but so I could tell or show others. It was like proof. That may sound cynical but that’s where my head was back in my 20’s.

There’s quite a few different legends out there as to how and why Valentine’s Day started. My personal favorite version is…

Roman Emperor, Claudius II was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. (His nickname was “Claudius The Cruel.) He was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues and believed it was because the Roman men didn’t want to leave their families or loves. So he cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. Saint Valentine, who was a priest in Rome in 269 A.D., along with his friend Saint Marius, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. Valentine’s actions were discovered and he was sentenced to have his head cut off. It’s believed that while in prison, Valentine fell in love with a young girl, who many believe was his jailor’s daughter. She visited him daily during his confinement. Before his death on the 14th of February, it’s alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed…”From Your Valentine.” In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius I set aside February 14th to honor Saint Valentine.

That’s just one of the may legends but I do like it.

These days, it seems as if love has a price tag on it, and the more expensive the gift, the deeper the love. Or at least that’s what retailers seem to convey. I know the one poll showed that 53% of women would leave their mate if they didn’t get a gift but I just find that hard to believe. (And if that’s accurate, I don’t think many of the women polled would be the type of women I’d want as a fried, just saying.) I didn’t ready anywhere where Saint Valentine ordered flowers or bought a box of chocolates. Instead, he wrote a letter, where I’m thinking he professed his undying love for her.

I have to say, my husband is a fabulous gift-giver, and always finds just the right thing for me, including lots of nice jewelry over the years. I also know that my budget-mindedness has rubbed off on him and he’s always on the lookout for a good sale. But over the past couple of years we’ve agreed (based more on what I wanted than him) that we’ll celebrate with a card, (sometimes bought and sometimes homemade) and a nice dinner that we cook at home. We do dress up, set a beautiful table and cook up something special, which is usually just as good if not better than something we’d get at a restaurant, enjoy a good bottle (or two) of wine and light candles. There’s many a year we don’t even celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 14th because of his work schedule, and we end up having our celebration a day or two later or earlier. My husband and I have certain dates through the year that hold more meaning for us personally, that we celebrate and give a gift, like on the anniversary of our first date and our anniversary. Maybe if we didn’t celebrate those days so much, we’d do more on Valentine’s. *My husband does break our “rule” sometimes and gifts me with something fabulous he found so when we were recently in Hawaii and he bought me a beautiful pearl necklace, I actually said, “thank you, love it, and this can be my Valentine gift.”…and I’ll wear it while we eat dinner that night and reminisce about our trip.

Of course if you do love to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a more lavish way, that’s great too. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong in giving and receiving gifts on Valentine’s Day. Some celebrations and holidays mean more to some than others. I have a friend whose favorite holiday is Easter and she goes all out for it, decorating and spending more for that than she does for Christmas. If a fine piece of jewelry or dinner at a four-diamond restaurant is in your budget, then I say celebrate and enjoy! But if money’s tight, you shouldn’t feel bad about not buying something just to buy something for a day we’re kind of told we should be romancing our loved one. When my son was young and I was a working mom, with money being tight, I was more appreciative of my husband making breakfast or doing the laundry as my “gift” than a bouquet of flowers.

I also have single friends not in a relationship who either dread the day or celebrate it with someone they love, like a friend or family member. One friend, who loves being single and busy with her career, babysits for another friend so she and her husband can go out. I love that! For those friends who dread the day, like I always tell you, it’s just a day…no one’s passing “judgment” because you don’t have a date.  I read that Valentine’s Day is also a day that a lot of couples fight. Maybe it’s because we see so many ads where the evening is perfect…perfect looking couple dressed fabulously, gazing into each other’s eyes while that magical music plays in the background. There’s candles glowing, while the woman’s hair is gently blowing for some reason, and whatever room or location they are in, looks perfect. The man pulls out a diamond something, they kiss and oh, it’s all so perfect. Then in reality, the kids are fighting, hot dogs are in the budget, your partner gives you a wilting arrangement they  picked up at the last-minute, and falls asleep early with nothing more than a peck on the cheek and perhaps a sleepy, “I love you.” Wow, a lot different than what you might have been hoping for. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in that image of perfection that “all those other couples” have (supposedly.)

Whatever you do or however you spend Valentine’s Day, enjoy the day. And if you’re one of those 53% of women who would leave your partner, if you didn’t receive a gift, I’m thinking there’s something bigger going on in your relationship that no gift is going to fix!

The most popular gifts for Valentine’s Day…(Just FYI)

  • Cards – 51.2%
  • Candy – 48.7%
  • Flowers – 37.3%
  • Dining Out – 37%
  • Jewelry – 19%
  • Clothing – 15.8%
  • Gift Cards – 14%



  1. Wow! You’re a gal after my own heart. Those are my sentiments exactly!!!


  2. Wow, what can I say……. You worded that so well. I feel the same way you do even though today( Valentines Day) is my Anniversary.
    I don’t understand how some people can spend so much on someone and think that’s the way you show them love, it’s not. Telling the person you love each day is love…. But you know how to make crowd smile with all your stories.

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