NEW YORK (MainStreet) A dozen long-stemmed roses delivered costs $129.07 these days compared to $65 in 1990, according to the annual Cost of Loving Index. Expect to pay $100 for a heart-shaped box of Godiva chocolates and $325 for the highest priced item on the index, which is one ounce of Chanel No. 5 perfume.
"You may want to stay home and pop the cork of a bottle of Simi Chardonnay for $23.12 and exchange Valentine greeting cards that remain fixed at $4.75," said Bob Frater, a certified financial planner and CEO with Houston Asset Management, which compiles the index.
But when given the choice of sex or a gift, 70% of women in a relationship prefer to receive a gift compared to 66% of men who chose sex, according to RetailMeNot.
Maybe that's why more than 32% of men in relationships prefer to stay at home this year.
"You can't go wrong with flowers or candy on Valentine's Day," said Offers.com savings expert Howard Schaffer. "But if you still haven't gotten around to doing your Valentine's Day shopping, you aren't alone. The majority of online Valentine's Day purchases happen the day before."
More than 80% of dating couples and close to 85% of married couples said their expectations for a Valentine's Day gift had decreased over the course of their relationship, according to new data from SmartAsset.
Yet and still 36% of women still prefer to receive jewelry and about 55% will spend $50 or more to mark the day, according to a survey by Toluna QuickSurveys.
"Money is too often the central cause of break-ups and friction within a relationship," says Eleanor Blayney, a certified financial planner. "It's time to rethink the roles of money and love and consider how the two can be partners rather than perpetual antagonists."
If love can wait, save money by hitting the jewelry sales that happen after Valentine's Day. Last year, the biggest day for in-store purchases was two days after Valentine's Day.
"Finding the perfect gift for Valentine's Day can sometimes be close-to-impossible," said Trae Bodge, senior editor of The Real Deal by RetailMeNot. "This year we're diving into what's an acceptable gift, etiquette for new and old relationships and how to celebrate."
As for singles, 29% of women said they expect a date on Valentine's after dating for one month but only 9% expect a date for the holiday after dating just one week, according to a survey by the dating service It's Just Lunch. When asked if they'd accept a first date on Valentine's Day, 62% of women said yes. Romance addicts seeking happiness may want to move down South.
About 59% of those who live in the South feel happy on Valentine's Day. That may be because 23% are more likely to indulge in romantic gestures such as buying jewelry and 10% are more likely to book a hotel room for the night.
"In addition to candy and flowers, put your money where your heart is. It can be one of the best ways to say I Love You," Blayney said.
Having children greatly increases a person's expectations of romance on Valentine's Day with 63% of parents wanting some or a lot of romance compared to only 39% of single adults.
Although 54% think the traditionally romantic day is corny or stupid, 46% men felt pressured to buy a gift compared to only 27% of women.
"Valentine's Day is more than a great money spinner. It's a chance for couples to connect," said Phil Ahad, vice president of Toluna QuickSurveys. "Despite the fact it's corny, our research shows American men really rise to the occasion."
Men are most likely to spend between $100 to $499 while women are most likely to spend between $50 to $74 on Valentine's Day, indicating that men spend at least twice as much as women.
--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet