Personal finance

How Much Americans Are Planning to Spend on Valentine's Day

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While you can't put a price on true love, you still can wonder what everyone else is planning to spend on Valentine's Day.

It turns out that Americans who are planning to celebrate the holiday will spend an average range of roughly $175 to $210 this year, according to a couple of recent surveys. A Lending Tree survey has the average spend pegged at $208, while a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey suggests the number will be closer to $175.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, spending peaks at $247 for couples that have been together for less than two years. For couples that have been together longer than two years, spending drops back down closer to $175, according to LendingTree.

"People tend to go big when they're in the early stages of a relationship," says Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree. 

But that doesn't necessarily mean that people who spend less later on are taking their partner for granted: "Some may get a little more practical, choosing to spend their money on things that serve them better as a couple, such as saving for a home or a vacation," says Schulz.

This would also explain why couples that are engaged plan to spend $322 this year — $100 more than what married couples plan to spend.

Here's how the spending breaks down by generation, according to LendingTree:

  • Gen Z (ages 18 to 25): $164
  • Millennials (ages 26 to 41): $294
  • Gen X (ages 42 to 56): $182
  • Baby boomers (ages 57 to 76): $122

What people are buying for Valentine's Day

Of those that plan to celebrate Valentine's Day, their spending plans most commonly include buying candy (56%), greeting cards (40%), flowers (37%) and jewelry (22%), the NRF survey says.

If you're planning to go out for Valentine's Day, you might want to make dinner or theater reservations now. Nearly a third of respondents say they were planning an "evening out," which is near pre-pandemic levels, according to the NRF. 

This jibes with 41% of respondents saying they would like "gifts of experience" this year, for things like concerts or sporting events, which again, matches pre-pandemic demand, as measured in previous versions of the NRF survey. 

Nearly a third of participating respondents also say they're somewhat likely to incur credit card debt due to Valentine's Day spending. Perhaps suggesting that love is blind in more ways than one, 43% of those respondents say they'll hide the debt from their partner.

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