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You don't need to break the bank this Valentine's Day

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With Valentine's Day approaching, prices for typical holiday-themed items have predictably jumped.

Spending on V-Day is expected to reach $18.9 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation. With the average person spending $142.31 on candy, flowers, apparel and more, up from $133.91 last year. 

Men will spend nearly double what women plan to spend, according to the NRF. Men are expected to spend about $190.53 and women are expected to spend $96.58 on average. 

But turning your finances upside down may not be necessary, said James Michael Sama, writer, speaker, advocate of modern-day chivalry and creator of, a website dedicated to dating and relationships. 

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"Valentine's Day is the equivalent of Super Bowl Sunday for women; it's all about them," said Sama. 

But do you have to break the bank to make your loved-one feel special? Not necessarily, he said.

For one thing, time matters more than money. 

"Men with money, traditionally, are very busy due to work," said Sama. "This can easily translate into limited time left for putting real thought or effort into a gift, so they figure a reasonable trade-off is to just spend more in order to fill in the gaps."

No matter if you can afford to go big, or have to be more creative due to financial constraints, the amount of money spent doesn't matter if the gift is simply an afterthought. 

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"Focus on a shared experience, something thoughtful because it's related to her interest," he said.  

Another way to save money: Delay celebration.

Couples can save money by celebrating the holiday a few days later as prices typically fall to "normal" levels after the holiday has passed.

"The later you wait to plan your date, the more expensive it will be, especially with Valentine's Day being on a Saturday," said Fauna Solomon, dating coach and creator of an advice site for single professionals. 

"The best option may be to make plans the weekend after Valentine's Day," said Solomon.

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"It's great to see consumers coming out of their shell this year, looking to spend discretionary budgets on those they love once again, though I fully expect many to continue to look for ways to cut costs where they can," said Pam Goodfellow, principal analyst at Prosper Insights and Analytics.  

Another way (for men especially)? Leave the ego at home.

According to Georgetown University's 2015 Valentine's Day Consumer Intent Survey, men want to spend more money than their partners. Saying they would feel "much happier, prouder and more satisfied if they spent more than their partners on Valentine's Day. 

On the other hand they would feel "unhappy, dissatisfied and embarrassed" if their partner spent more. The study also found that women didn't care if they spent more or less than their partners. 

While there are a myriad of ways to save money during Valentine's day, the best way to make it to the next Valentine's Day is to take this sage advice from James Michael Sama.

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