4. Dining out

Price isn't the only problem in a restaurant on Valentine's Day, but it's a big one. The folks at restaurant ratings guide Zagat say spending on a dinner out jumps from $70 for a typical dinner for two to more than $146 on Valentine's Day. Overall, the NRF says Valentine's Day dinner spending will jump from $3.576 billion in 2012 to $3.976 billion this year. It's amateur hour, and all the rookies want to play at your favorite venue.

Not that they'll enjoy your favorite dishes, mind you. Most restaurants ditch the full menu and specials for a short list of easily prepared entrees that encourage diners to turn over their tables quickly. Think wedding dinners. Think dry chicken. Now you have the idea.

Those prix fixe banquet-hall offerings don't come at a discount either. Last year, restaurant reservation site OpenTable ( OPEN) found that 93% of the Valentine's Day reservation holders they surveyed plan to either match last year's dinner bill or increase it. Among all diners, 54% planned to shell out $101 to $200. Another 10% planned to clear that $200 bar easily.

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