Fun Financial Facts about Valentine’s Day Spending

Here at Clearpoint, we’ve been shocked by all the recent coverage of just how expensive Valentine’s Day will be for the average American in 2015. As a country, we’re going to spend an estimated $18 billion and $142 per person! Let’s take a look at some facts behind these numbers, including some ways you can spend that money more wisely. And don’t worry; we want you to have a great time with your special someone, just at a sweeter price point. So without further ado, here are six financial facts to keep in mind about Valentine’s Day this year.

It Might Precede a Breakup

Talk about a bad return on investment! According to a research study based on Facebook updates, the months after Valentine’s Day are peak breakup season. If that’s the case, your $142 might be better spent saving up to take out future dates to dinner!

breakups by month

It Presents a Significant Opportunity Cost

If you’re familiar with economics, then you know that “opportunity cost” refers to what you miss out on by making a decision. In this case, the decision to spend $142 now comes at a cost of $673 or more. That’s right, if you invested the $142 in a retirement plan that gained six percent interest over 30 years, that money would grow to $815.58

If you Dine Out, You Dish Out

When you eat out on V-Day you can expect to dish out some cash. The average Valentine’s dinner cost in Houston, Texas is about $62, and you can expect similar prices (if not higher) in other metropolitan areas.

Typically, a good way to save on a meal is to skip drinks, appetizers or dessert. But on Valentine’s Day these are often all bundled together, removing that option. So instead, consider ditching something else, like the card, candy, flowers or any unnecessary gift (sorry, Teddy Bear).

We Buy a Ton of Candy

That’s right, on the week leading up the big day, we spend $448 Million on candy alone. From boxed chocolates to Sweethearts to fancier candies, we satisfy every sweet tooth. Maybe you can live up to this Sweetheart to offset the cost?

Sweetheart candy cheap date

Be sure to check out out post on 5 cheap date ideas!

Four-Legged Friends are Expensive Enough

It’s estimated that we will spend $700 million on Valentine’s Day gifts for our pets. But is that really necessary? If you own a cat or dog, then chances are you are already spending between $600 and $1,000 annually per pet. Valentine’s Day treats would be a good thing to skip if you want to have the extra cash on hand.

The Conspiracies are True

Yep, if you are one of those people who criticizes the modern form of Valentine’s Day for being a profit-driven holiday, created to emphasize sales over steadfast love, you are right. And if anyone argues with you, just cite the History Channel as your evidence. As it turns out, the holiday as we know it today was catalyzed by Cadbury chocolates overseas and the creation of lace Valentine’s here in the US. They were mass-produced in assembly lines like the one below:

Esther Howland assembly line*Source: Robinson Library

Despite the “mass” nature of V-Day, you can still find ways to be original, and your partner will likely appreciate the extra thought and care. So try a handwritten card or homemade sweets instead of store-bought chocolates.

More Resources

As you can see, Valentine’s Day 2015 will be a costly one. Still, we hope you enjoy it, and if you want any budget help, try our new and improved budget calculator. If you want help with managing money in your relationship, specifically, then also check out our Complete Guide to Love and Money ebook.

Thomas Bright is a longstanding Clearpoint blogger and student loan repayment aficionado who hopes that his writing can simplify complex subjects. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him hiking, running or reading philosophy. You can follow him on Twitter.

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2 responses to “Fun Financial Facts about Valentine’s Day Spending”

  • Larissa

    I enrolled in a creidt counseling program with a 650 fico score (middle score). It went down to about 610, but after a year, went back up to 698. One step back, two steps forward!

    • Thomas Bright

      That’s great news. Glad to hear it is on the way up, and you are right that is how it typically goes with credit counseling. We wrote a very detailed article about how for many people, credit counseling leads to significant credit score improvement,