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We'll spend billions to say "I love you" this Valentine's Day

Alyssa Pry
Personal Finance Reporter

It’s Valentine’s Day—but is it a holiday to celebrate love, or just another excuse to spend major cash? Americans are expected to spend $19.6 billion on Valentine’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation. All those boxes of chocolate really add up!

Valentine’s Day spending tops Easter, where we spend $18.4 billion; and Halloween, where spending clocks in at $9.1 billion, according to the NRF. Fifty-four percent of us will shower our Valentine with “I love you’s” ….and gifts. Not so shocking: men will spend the most on the holiday, $190. Women spend around $96, according to a survey by WalletHub.  

The most popular gift is jewelry. Twenty percent of folks plan to buy their someone special something sparkly, and the collective price tag: $4.7 billion, according to the NRF.

Flowers and chocolates are another Valentine’s Day standard. According to the Society of American Florists, 250 million roses are produced for Valentine’s Day, and we’ll spend an average of $77 a person on flowers. Those chocolate-filled candy boxes will also set us back—consumers will spend $1.8 billion on candy.

No Valentine? No problem! The NRF says 27% are planning to treat themselves instead of a date, and around 10% make plans with friends and family.

Valentine’s is the second most popular day to get engaged, behind Christmas, with 9 million proposals expected, according to WalletHub. But for those not feeling as festive, calls to divorce lawyers spike 40% on Valentine’s Day.

Whether you have a Valentine or are waiting until tomorrow to snatch up that discounted candy, love doesn’t come cheap!

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