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It may really end up being the thought that counts this Valentine’s Day for many Americans.

According to a recent survey of 4,000 consumers by Retail Forward, 41% of women are planning not to buy a Valentine’s Day gift this year, and 31% of men say the same. Both of those numbers are up several percentage points from the previous year.

On top of that, the Chicago Tribune notes that nearly half of all consumers surveyed in another study intend to spend $50 or less this year on their significant others. “On average, couples plan to spend $63.34 on gifts for their significant other this Valentine's Day, down from $67.22 last year when the nation was in the grips of a deep recession,” the Tribune reports.

Americans may be cutting back, but at least they have their priorities in order. Consumers are expected to spend more this year on their pets than last year. Has the recession destroyed our ability to have sustainable relationships with people?

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