Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Spending?

How much will you be spending? They say the average person will spend about $200 this Valentine’s day, according to a survey. Roses, chocolates, restaurant dinners, cards and gifts really add up. Is $200 too little or too much? Men will spend about twice as much as women, $169 vs. $86. Married spouses will spend less, about $74 per person. This all adds up to billions of dollars being contributed to the economy…around 17.6 billion to be exact. To break it down further, they spend a mere 1.5 billion on cards and candy, 1.8 billion on flowers, 3.5 billion on dinners, 4.1 billion in jewelry, 1.4 billion in practical gifts like clothing, 1.1 billion on gift cards. I guess the rest of the money goes to movies, which are not cheap either, my theater charges $11 or $12 per person.

So now that you have the statistics you can evaluate your significant other’s Valentine plans/gifts and see where you stand. I know where I stand. Neither my husband nor I are going to be represented in those statistics. I have never made too big a deal out of Valentine’s Day. Sure, when the girls were little, we decorated, made cards and I would get them little tokens and candy to celebrate the day. I bought those little cards for classmates and little valentine candy to go with it for them to give out. My husband and I sometimes exchange cards or boxes of candy, but it’s not really a big deal. That’s because throughout the year, when we want something we buy it. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to go out to dinner either. Besides, one year we planned on doing dinner and a movie, only to find the movie was sold out. So we had our dinner and then went to blockbuster and got a movie to watch at home.

As far as I am concerned, all the restaurants are busy and packed. They make holiday menus that are simpler and easier for them, but often the meals lack the variety and quality that you find on an average day. As for candy…you get half the amount because it’s in a heart box instead of a rectangular box and then the very next day the cut the prices of the hearts in half. I don’t know about you, but I can afford to wait till the next day or eat my chocolate out of a normal box. Cards? If you want to get the very best, it has to be Hallmark, right? Their average cards are running around $5 each last time I looked. I used to buy cards all the time for every occasion, but you won’t see me doing that these days. Besides, if I am desperate to look at cards, I have years worth of cards saved that I can reminisce about the good old days with. Jewelry? Gold has gone sky high in the economy. Used to be I could get a pair of gold earrings for under one hundred dollars. I went looking for earrings for the girls over a year ago planning to buy them each a pair only to find out how expensive they have gotten. The only affordable jewelry is sterling silver and I am not crazy about that. As for movies, I could buy a couple of the ones I haven’t seen and watch them on my big screen television for what it costs for two people to get into the theater. So all of this stuff is really a waste of time, money and energy. Maybe I am just getting old?

I think it would be much better to buy something expensive to cook at home for a fraction of what a dinner would cost, and cook it yourself. Jumbo shrimp come in 12 to 16 per pound for $20, they are easy to clean, and you can turn them into a gourmet meal with a little linguini and sauce. A bottle of wine runs around $10 and a couple of candles could be maybe $5. Make your own dessert like strawberry shortcake with a little pound cake, strawberries and homemade whipped cream, for under $10. Rent or buy a movie or just play some favorite cds. Really, what more can you want? I have some other ideas, not for this type of blog, but they don’t cost a dime. To each his or her own.

What will you be spending? Money on your loved ones or time with them? Whatever you do, I hope it’s a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

PS Valentine’s day is for all loved ones, so pick up the phone and make a couple of calls to family or friends and just tell them or show them you care…ok?

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