February can be an expensive month.
According to a recent Bankrate study, the “traditional Valentine’s Day” — including “a dozen red roses, chocolates, a nice dinner for two, jewelry, and champagne” — costs an average of $512.
That seems steep, but even if you don’t partake in the classic date night, Valentine’s Day shoppers shell out an average of $147 for flowers, trinkets, candy, romantic dinners, and tickets to movies and shows, according to the National Retail Federation.
How much should you spend on a Valentine’s Day gift?
The short answer: It depends.
“What you spend on a Valentine’s Day gift is really determined by your budget, and that is an entirely personal decision,” says etiquette expert Lizzie Post fromThe Emily Post Institute. “Some people love making sure they have a large budget for gifts for loved ones. For other people, it’s candy hearts. It truly depends on your own personal choice about how you choose to manage your finances.”
There’s no universal dollar figure you should aim for, she emphasizes, nor should the length of your relationship affect how much money you spend.
“You might start out a relationship with a very lucrative career,” she explains. “And three years in, something might change — you might be unemployed and unable to do something at the same level you were able to do it at before. It’s always whatever fits your budget that dictates what your gift should be.”
While the length of your relationship shouldn’t affect how much you spend, it tends to affectwhat you spend on, Post says. More established couples are more likely to give sentimental gifts, whereas a couple that’s just been together for a few weeks or months might stick with something more consumable and not as long lasting.
Before you try to keep up with the “traditional Valentine’s Day” couples, review your budget and determine an amount of money you’re comfortable spending. If that number happens to be $50 or less, there are plenty of great Valentine’s Day gift options for that budget.
And remember — there’s nothing wrong with a homemade card or hug coupons. With the right delivery, they can go just as far as chocolates, roses, and jewelry.