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What to buy on Valentine's Day? Depends on where you live

Not everybody celebrates Valentine's Day equally. Residents in some cities really go all out, but some places have barely any spirit. Portland, Oregon, for example, spends a mere 15 percent more around Valentine's Day than in a normal week during the first quarter.

The data come from Cardlytics, a credit-card linked marketing firm that has access to spending in 70 percent of American households. The cities with the larger, redder circles represent those that spend more for Valentine's Day. The cities with smaller, bluer circles don't spend as much. The spending ratio is calculated by looking at spending during the two-week period Feb. 6-19, compared to the rest of the first quarter.

Tucson, Arizona, leads the way as the top spending city, while Portland, Oregon, barely spends anything more than normal during this time. The circles for Portland and Salt Lake City are indeed there: You just have to look hard to find them because they are so small.

Different regions of the country, however, focus on a different type of present for the holiday. The Midwest focuses on flowers, and the Northeast wins on gifts like jewelry and sweets. In the West, it's about going to the movies. In the South, clothing is key. So as a nation divided, we can't agree on how to do Valentine's Day right.

One thing we can agree on, however, is timeliness. If your special somebody is still looking to buy you a gift, you're probably not getting something good. According to marketing technology firm Criteo, peak spending for jewelry purchases happens Feb. 2 and lingerie is Feb. 6. Those last minute shoppers don't get the best stuff, with flowers and "gifts" like plush toys and heart-themed stationery peaking Feb. 11. The gift givers who spend the most tend to have their act together and get it done early.

Read MoreThe top cities, and most stereotypical Valentines Day gifts.