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2019 Valentine's Day Prices: Not for the Faint of Heart

Chris Persaud
2019 Valentine's Day Prices: Not for the Faint of Heart

If you're not careful, Cupid's arrow will poke a big hole in your bank account.

We've tracked this year's prices for typical things people spend money on for Valentine's Day, including chocolates, diamond jewelry, roses, champagne and a fancy dinner out.

The second annual MoneyWise Cost of Love Index finds a V-Day filled with all of those traditional trappings would set lovebirds back more by more than $600. Our average total of $604.52 is up 1.3% from the $596.56 our study found last year.

Here’s a breakdown on the prices, plus our tips on ways to save.

1. Dozen red roses

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A dozen long-stem red roses cost more than $97 for Valentine's Day, about 30% higher than usual.
  • Average price: $97.22
  • Up from 94.83 last year

If it's just not Valentine's Day to you unless you're giving — or getting — a dozen long-stemmed red roses, understand that the tradition comes at a hefty markup.

The nationwide average price for that crimson bouquet this V-Day is around $97, a few dollars more than in 2018.

That's according to flower delivery service BloomNation, which works with more than 3,000 florists across the U.S.

Instead of red roses?

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Wildflowers are a less expensive Valentine's Day alternative than giving red roses.

BloomNation's data has indicated that the price at Valentine's Day can be 30% higher than what you'd pay for those same roses other times of the year.

Many roses for the U.S. market come from South America, and the lengthy government shutdown slowed inspections of flowers at the border — potentially hurting supplies and leading to even higher prices.

Our advice is that you pick up tulips, orchids, wildflowers or another less expensive (and less cliche) alternative to red roses.

2. Box of chocolates

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A typical heart-shaped box of chocolates costs about $16 this Valentine's Day.
  • Average price: $15.89
  • Down from $17.24 last year

Sweets for your sweetie? Prepare to spend around $16 for the customary box of chocolates, a little less than in 2018.

We averaged the prices of several name-brand, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates in the 8.13- to 9.5-ounce range.

We found you could pay anywhere from under $10 for Russell Stover on up to $29.99 for Godiva.

Instead of chocolates?

Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock
Skip the chocolates and bake a cake together.

As is usually the case, candy will be this year's most popular Valentine's Day gift.

Chocolates and other candy will be purchased by more than half of Americans who celebrate the holiday, and they'll spend $1.8 billion on sweet treats, the National Retail Federation says.

Looking for a less expensive and even more meaningful way to satisfy a loved one's sweet tooth? Consider baking a cake for your special someone instead.

3. Bottle of champagne

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Real French champagne for Valentine's Day costs close to $53, on average.
  • Average price: $52.61
  • Up from $51.85 last year

Be aware that good champagne is not cheap, if you're planning to pop open some bubbly to celebrate with your significant other on Valentine's Day.

The current average price of a 750ml bottle of French champagne is more than $52, says the big market research company Nielsen.

That's a little more expensive than in 2018.

Instead of champagne?

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Opt for lower-cost domestic sparkling wine, instead of champagne.

Note that if you really want to impress a date, you'll spring for the French stuff, from the Champagne region that gives the classic sparkling wine its name.

But really, you shouldn't have to try so hard. You can probably find a great bottle of domestic bubbles for around $10.

And if it absolutely has to be real champagne, shop around for the lowest prices. Check supermarkets, warehouse clubs and other big-box stores.

4. Fine dining for 2

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Valentine's Day dinner in a restaurant costs an average of more than $100 this year.
  • Average price: $101.00
  • Up from $99.84 last year

Fine dining restaurants typically offer "special" — that is, more expensive — menus for Valentine's Day, this year costing an average of just over $100 for a romantic dinner for two.

That's slightly more than last year's average check, excluding tax, according to the market research firm The NPD Group.

Remember, that's the average. Some restaurants charge considerably more. The special Valentine's Day menu at New York's iconic Tavern on the Green costs $350 per couple, or $530 with wine pairings included.

Instead of dinner out?

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock
Save the restaurant meal for the weekend and cook Valentine's Day dinner together at home.

Valentine's Day is huge for the restaurant business. The National Restaurant Association has said it's the second most popular holiday for dining out after Mother's Day.

Here's a tip: Avoid the crowd and cook together at home. Doesn't that sound romantic?

If you really need to look adoringly into each other's eyes across a restaurant table, wait for the return of more reasonable prices after Valentine's Day.

5. Diamond earrings

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Diamond solitaire stud earrings like these cost an average of about $338 this year.
  • Average price: $337.80
  • Up from $332.80 last year

By far, the most expensive gift commonly bought for Feb. 14 is diamond jewelry.

This year's average price for a pair of diamond solitaire stud earrings — with princess-cut diamonds totaling 1/4 carat in weight and set in 14K white gold — is about $338, slightly more than we found last year.

We gathered prices from leading retailers and found the typical earring set runs from the $200s to $400. A couple of examples: Blue Nile sells a pair for $250, while the price at Jared is just under $400.

Instead of diamonds?

Nina Buday / Shutterstock
Handmade jewelry might be even more special than diamonds.

About 1 in 5 Valentine's Day gift-givers will spring for jewelry in 2019 and will spend $3.9 billion to make the holiday shimmer, says the National Retail Federation.

But beautiful bling doesn't have to cost big bucks.

Look at alternatives beyond diamonds. Etsy and Amazon Handmade are great sources of unique, artisan jewelry that doesn't cost a ton.