Sure you can’t put a price on love but let’s face it, treating your sweetie right on Valentine’s Day can come with a hefty price tag.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates spending on Valentine’s Day gifts will be up 11 percent from last year, bringing spending to an average of $116.21 per person, or a total of $15.7 billion dollars in holiday spending.
Not surprisingly men will be the big spenders, shelling out more than twice as much as women, the NRF said.
What’s the cost of true love for you? We’ve assembled some unique ideas for those who want to splurge on their beloved one, as well as some bargains that will keep the thrifty from looking cheap.
Click ahead to see some Valentine's Day ideas!
Special Report: Love & Money
By Christina Cheddar-Berk
Posted 7 Feb 2011
Spending on jewelry this Valentine’s Day is expected to rise to $3.5 billion, up from an estimated $3.0 billion last year.
Valentine’s Day is a popular time to pop the question and this sapphire and diamond would definitely make it hard to say “no.” It showcases a 20.30 carat oval sapphire and more than 140 pave set round diamonds, outdoing even the soon-to-be Princess Kate Middleton’s engagement ring.
According to the experts at Blue Nile, if you’re looking for a gift on a budget, invest in sentimentality. One example is a love knot pendant, which makes a simple statement about love.
This example has three freely moving entwined rings suspended from a sterling silver cable chain.
Spending on clothing, including lingerie, for Valentine’s Day is expected to rise to $1.6 billion from $1.5 billion last year.
If you don’t know what to buy, Nordstrom offers a fun quiz to “test” your lingerie style.
Pictured here is Oscar de la Renta’s “Sheer Illusions” Chemise for $74.00
Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday, which may make dining out a little tough. Still, a survey conducted by Citibank, found that dinner is by far the most likely Valentine’s Day gift, with 46 percent expecting to spend money on a meal.
To make it a cheap date, think lunch or consider going out just for drinks.
Flowers remain a popular gift option, with celebrants expected to spend $1.7 billion on them.
To really make a statement think exotic. Cymbidium and Phalaenopsis orchids are sure to leave a lasting memory.
But if you’re more traditional and want to send red roses, you may want to consider these roses that grow five to six feet in height. They are grown on an Ecuadorian farm located between two volcanoes. Days of prolonged sunlight and cool nights allow the flowers to grow tall, and the blooms should open to be between three to four inches in diameter.
Visit a local flower market or even a local grocery store. You’re sure to find some beautiful blooms, and deliver them yourself.
Because of the high demand, roses can be expensive so you may want to consider other types of flowers. Tulips are a good choice, they should be readily available and they conjure up thoughts of spring.
But if roses are a must, consider surprising your Valentine with a bouquet a week earlier. Roses will likely cost less ahead of the holiday. Just be sure to do something—dinner, chocolates—on the big day.
Sweets for your sweetie? About $1.5 billion is expected to be spent on candy this year.
What would Valentine’s Day be without chocolate? One trend this year is savory chocolates flavored with hints of salt or spices. Vosges makes a wide array of exotic flavors, including a bacon chocolate.
For Valentine’s Day, Vosges has a gift box containing two of their Mo’s Bacon Bars, a flying bacon and chocolate pig and a 22-ounce bottle of Rogue Shakespeare Stout. The company says the oatmeal stout has notes of chocolate and “just the right amount of hops to compliment the umami notes” in the bacon and chocolate line.
If that’s not your style, they also sell a line of aphrodisiac gift boxes which include chocolates laced with chillies, vanilla, walnuts, and even chocolate truffles touched with oysters.
Sure you can give your sweetheart a box of conversation heart candies, but these cookies put a new twist on the Valentine's Day tradition.
You could even bake up your own version using your favorite cookie recipe or find one online.
Most couples will buy cards on Valentine’s Day, with about $1.1 billion expected to be spent in this category, according to the NRF.
Moo Greeting Cards allows you to upload your favorite images and customize cards for all of your loved ones. Or use your own photos to make personalized notecards for a very personal gift that stands apart from generic Valentine cards. A pack of 25 greeting cards with envelopes costs $39.99.
Moo also sells sticker books that can be customized, and minicards that can be used as “love notes.” Not a fan of the holiday? Moo even sells anti-Valentine’s Day cards.
Tunes for Two Heart Splitter
Make a modern-day mix tape. To get the truly retro vibe, pick up the Mix-Tape USB Stick where you can store up to an hour’s worth of special love songs.
Or purchase an MP3 player and do the same. For an extra touch, add a pair of these heart-shaped headphones that allow you to snuggle close and turn up the music.
With much of the country in the gripes of winter’s worst, Cupid may want to consider whisking his beloved off to a warmer climate. IBISWorld estimates spending on travel for Valentine’s Day could rise 5.7 percent from last year.
This is in-line with the broader trend toward increased travel in 2011, according to Travelocity Senior Editor Genevieve Shaw Brown.
“Valentine’s Day is a popular time to get away, especially to warm-weather destinations, so flexibility is key to getting a great deal,” Shaw Brown said. She suggests booking a vacation package as a way to save money.
But if the budget isn’t big enough for a romantic escape, remember, getting away from it all doesn’t have to mean physically leaving the area. Make time to break out of the routine. Think about popular local attractions: a moonlit cruise, a trip to the local ice skating rink or ski lodge, or couples’ massage at nearby day spa.
Pamper your Valentine with a spa treatment.
For example, Equinox has a special Dark Chocolate Facial for Valentine’s Day, priced at $155. The chocolate facial caps an hour of Equinox’s signature spa treatment that begins with an analysis of the client’s skin condition, followed by a relaxing décolletage massage.
Equinox also offers a 24-karat gold collagen mask, which moisturizes, firms and brightens the skin’s appearance. Equinox said the gold powder blocks free radicals which helps the skin regenerate quicker and fuller. This facial costs $165.