Personal Finance

While Valentine’s Day is getting more expensive, going into debt isn't sexy

Key Points
  • On Valentine’s Day, being in love will cost you but not overspending is sexier than ever.
  • As Americans recover from Covid's financial strain, more people want a romantic partner who is responsible with money, one report found.
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Even cupid is coming out of quarantine.

Valentine's Day spending is expected to reach $23.9 billion in 2022, the second-highest year on record, according to the National Retail Federation.

On average, Americans will spend $175.41 on candy, cards, flowers and other romantic gifts, up from $164.76 in 2021.

Those in a relationship will shell out even more — averaging $208 for their significant other, according to a separate LendingTree survey of nearly 2,100 adults.

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"Inflation is generally making everything more expensive, so I'm not surprised that spending is expected to be higher than previous years," said Matt Schulz, LendingTree's credit card expert.

A dozen roses, for example, which can cost around $100 on Valentine's Day could be even more expensive now, particularly if they are imported. The same goes for a heart-shaped box of chocolates and, of course, jewelry.

Couples are also more likely to opt for an evening out this year, compared to last year, when Covid-related restrictions made it harder to eat in a restaurant or see a show, Schulz added.  

And potential partners may be ready to meet in-person after two years of swiping left or right.

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Still, traditional gender roles remain even as technology continues to disrupt dating. Men are likely to spend significantly more than women on the Feb. 14 holiday, averaging $235 versus just $119.

Last year, almost 35% of men spent upwards of $500, compared to only 24% of women, according to another spending survey by banking app Monifi.

Monifi's financial expert Leigh Singleton recommends setting aside a separate account for such holidays, rather than lumping all long-term savings goals together.

"That gives you a much better picture of what you can spend," Singleton said.

Already, when it comes to spending, most people are being careful with their discretionary purchases and less inclined to rely on plastic — 17% fewer Americans think a Valentine's Day gift is worth going into credit card debt this year compared to last year, WalletHub found

People want to date people who are financially responsible.
Jill Gonzalez
WalletHub analyst

In fact, financial stability may be the sexiest gift of all.

"People want to date people who are financially responsible, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to put stress on many Americans' wallets," said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.

Almost a third of people say that money matters more to them in a relationship now than it did before, WalletHub found.

"Some of the biggest turnoffs when it comes to romantic partners are irresponsible spending and bad credit," Gonzalez said.

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