The average American household is estimated to spend $192 on Valentine’s Day 2023. It’s the second-highest Valentine’s Day spending on record since the National Retail Federation began tracking this in 2007. Collectively, it’s estimated that shoppers will spend $25.9 billion on the romantic holiday.
This number is shocking. Not because both individual household and collective spending are on the rise for the third year in a row (or six years if we exclude the record-shattering spike in Valentine’s Day spending in 2020) — which is significant all its own — but because only 52% of Americans will be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, a historically low percentage of participation (that has been on a steady downward trend for over a decade).
Record-high Valentine’s Day spending paired with record-low participation indicates that those who are celebrating and spending more and more each year.
Most partners are STILL on board with saving
While increased spending is due at least in part to regaining a sense of normalcy from the COVID-19 shutdowns, the concept of saving is still on the tip of people’s minds. In a survey conducted by Debt.com, 88% of people would not expect their partner to spend any money on them if they were having financial difficulties.
That’s a statistic that Consolidated Credit’s financial education director thinks more people should pay attention to.
“Too often, we feel obligated to do grand gestures and gifts to show our love to our spouse or partner,” says April Lewis-Parks. “You may be scared to broach the subject with your significant other. But this survey shows that they might be more receptive to the idea than you think.”
Lewis-Parks encourages couples to talk about their plans.
- See how both of you are feeling about your finances.
- If one or both of you has financial concerns, talk about setting limits on gifts.
- For spouses or couples that are cohabitating, consider pooling money to get something that you need for the house instead
If you are planning to spend, avoid credit card debt
“With the economy still unstable and a slow pandemic recovery, it’s important to avoid credit card debt whenever possible,” Lewis-Parks says. “If you can’t get a gift for your significant other without taking on credit card debt, be honest. Share your financial situation and discuss the idea of scaling back.
She also says hiding your financial situation from your partner is more damaging than you might think.
“People consider financial infidelity as bad as physically cheating,” she explains. “If your spouse finds out that you’re not being transparent about your finances, particularly when it comes to debt and hiding spending, your relationship may be short-lived.”
In fact, a survey by the American Institute of CPAs found that 41% of cohabitating people say they might consider ending the relationship over financial infidelity. Researchers from the University of Southern Mississippi revealed that 53% of 414 people polled, had lied about their spending, but only 27% admitted to committing financial infidelity.
“While you might think that your partner would appreciate the quiet sacrifice that you’re making to get them a gift on credit and then hide the debt, what you’re really doing is hurting your relationship.”
Come up with a practical Valentine’s Day spending plan
Even if you plan on limiting gift expenses or eating in this year, it’s important to plan how much you will spend. Use this free Valentine’s Day spending planner to set a realistic budget. If you’re married or cohabitating, share the love and set the budget together.
Spent too much on the holidays and Valentine’s Day? We can help. Talk to a certified credit counselor to understand your options for paying off your debt.