Sweethearts Spend More Than $160

Find out how your Valentine’s Day spending plans stack up against the growing average.

valentine's day spending

How much are you spending on your Valentine this year? The 2019 average is a record-breaking $161.96, according to the National Retail Federation’s yearly consumer spending expectations survey for Valentine’s Day.

This number is especially surprising considering that fewer people are celebrating Valentine’s Day at all. Only 51% of Americans want to celebrate this commercialized “Hallmark Holiday,” the lowest percentage since the NRF started conducting the survey in 2009.

Where the money goes

This is the romantic holiday of love, but your significant other might not be the only one you’re spending on this year – your other Valentine’s crush may actually have fur. One in five (20%) said they purchase V-Day gifts for their pets. Many also buy things for friends, coworkers, and their children’s classmates and teachers.

Men spend more than women on Valentine’s Day by a large margin. While women spend an average of $97.77, men spend $229.54. If you want spending to be more even, have a conversation with your S.O. before you shop so you can set a limit. For example, agree to spend $50 or less on gifts for each other and split the bill for the date night.

As far as shopping destinations go, department stores are the most popular, followed very closely by discount stores. Lovebirds also shop online, but relatively few shop at local businesses and specialty stores.

Categories of Valentine’s Day Spending:

  • 18% give jewelry – overall $3.9 billion spent
  • 34% spend on a date night out – overall $3.5 billion spent
  • 18% give clothing – overall $2.1 billion spent
  • 35% buy flowers – $1.9 billion spent
  • 52% gift candy – $1.8 billion spent
  • 15% get gift cards – overall $1.3 billion spent
  • 44% give greeting cards – overall $933 million spent

It’s All About the Experience

When it comes to buying experiences, there’s a little bit of a mismatch between those planning an experience and those wanting one. The survey found that though 40% would love to be gifted an experience, only 25% plan to give one! Sometimes, community organizations offer free events for Valentine’s Day. You could give the gift of an experience for less than you think.

Still, when it comes down to it, moments are usually the thing that we remember about special occasions. Your Valentine probably won’t remember that you bought a particular ring design that year because it symbolized that they’re your true love and their best friend (because saying, “I love you” with one diamond is so last year). On the other hand, write them a song that expresses the same thing and they’ll remember it forever – whether you can sing on-key or not.

So, if you’ve not finished nailing down your Valentine’s Day date plans for this weekend, take note. Going out to grab that planned-out, 3-course meal for two might be romantic – assuming you don’t get seated next to a screaming toddler. On the other hand, spending Sunday cooking a 3-course meal together that has meaning for you as a couple is cheaper and more noteworthy for making memories. You’ll have a day of shared experiences to look back on plus the cash that you saved in your pocket.

Worried about where your budget fits into these numbers? Use our free Valentine’s Day Spending Planner to find the amount that works for you. Your wallet will thank you – and so will your sweetheart.

Annual Income

Percentage of Use

Categorize your Spendings

Build a Budget


What is your gross annual Income?

A good rule of thumb for setting a practical spending plan is to see how much you should spend based on what you make. Enter your total gross annual income below. That’s your income before taxes This will give you a good starting point to determine how much you want to spend this year.

This value must be a number greater than 0.

Pick a percentage that fits your goals

In general, most people spend about 0.2% of their gross annual income on Valentine’s Day. However, if you’re on a tight budget or you have few people to buy for, then you may want to spend less. On the other hand, if you have a big big plans, such as an engagement, then you may want to spend more. But you still want to plan based on your income to help ensure you don’t go overboard. Select the percentage of your income that you want to spend on Valentine’s Day this year.

Decide what your budget needs to cover

There are five basic types of expenses that you may need to cover on Valentine’s Day. However, most budgets only need to cover two – gifts and date night. So, the next step in setting your Valentine’s Day spending plan is to select the expenses you need to cover.

To add an expense, you must first decrease percentage on one of the two default expenses. Your total budget remaining can never exceed the total amount you set as your spending target.




Date Night


Total Budget Remaining: $0

Total Valentine’s Day Budget: $0

Divide your Budget through all the Categories

Now that you've set a spending limit for each category, it's time to get specific about what you need to buy. Fill in notes for each type of expense with the estimated cost of the items you need to purchase. This will help you stay on budget and make sure that you can pay for all the expenses you need to cover this year. If you realize that you forgot something, hit the Previous button to go back and adjust your spending.

Divide your budget through all the categories

Decorating can bring you immense joy around a holiday, but it’s also really easy to go overboard and over budget. Select all the items that you need to buy to breakdown your decorating budget. If you plan on making decorations this year, you’ll also need to allocate money for craft supplies.

Decorations Money Remove

Decorations available budget: $0

Decorations total budget: $0

Set your travel budget

If you travel for Valentine’s Day, it can be one of your biggest expenses, along with gifts. Airline tickets and hotel reservations can quickly eat-up your budget. Make sure to look for ways to cut travel costs, such as booking early and finding discount airfare.

Travel Expenses Money Remove

Travel available budget: $0

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Plan your party schedule

Whether you plan on hosting or simply attending parties, there are expenses that go along with holiday parties. Select the types of expenses you think you’ll have for any Valentine’s Day celebrations and set a budget for how much you think each event will cost.

Party Expenses Money Remove

Party available budget: $0

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Make a plan for date night on Valentine’s Day

Date night is usually one of people’s biggest expenses for Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re just going out to dinner, cooking at home or giving a whole experience, detail what you plan to do and how much each part of the date will cost.

Title Cost Remove

Date Night available budget: $0

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Now it’s time to set your gift list

You’re almost done! You just need to set up your gift list and your budget planner will be complete. For most people, gifts will be your biggest expense during the Valentine’s Day. We recommend only giving unique gifts to immediate family and your significant other and setting a price limit. For anyone else, consider universal presents, Valentine’s Day cards, or buy bulk items to make gift baskets.

Name Gift Price Remove

Gifts available budget: $0

Gifts total budget: $0

Remaining Total: $0

Total it up to tweak your budget

Here’s a snapshot of everything you plan to buy and spend money on for Valentine’s Day. Seeing everything laid out, you may want or need to go back and make some changes to balance things out and hit the spending target you want. Hit the edit buttons on each category below to go back and change what you initially wrote down. Once you’re satisfied. You can save your Valentine’s Day spending planner as a PDF or download it to print it out.

Your Income: $0

Selected budget based on your Income: $0

Distribution of Expenses by Activity


Decorations Cost

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Travel Expenses Price

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Parties Cost

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Date Night

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Name Gift Label Price

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Real money you will spend: $0

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April Lewis-Parks
Director of Education and Public Relations

[email protected]
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