It's almost Valentine's Day - the day of love, romance and of course, consumerism.
So what is America consuming on this day of love?
- $448 Million on CANDY alone the week before Valentine's Day.
- 58 Million pounds of chocolate the week of Valentine's Day.
- 36 Million heart-shaped chocolate boxes sold for the holiday.
- $8.6 Million on sparking wine for the occasion.
How much does the average lover spend?
Men: $150 on their loved one.
Women: $74 on their loved one.
(All these figures I got off History.com)
Valentine's Day dates back to the early Romans. In fact, one of the early traditions was raucous annual Roman festivals where men stripped naked, grabbed goat- or dog-skin whips, and spanked young maidens in hopes of increasing their fertility. (I found that gem on National Geographic). How heart-shaped boxes of chocolate ever replaced this is beyond me.
For some reason, people stopped spanking others with goat skin and started to just exchange handwritten notes on this beloved day. The "rich" people would hire people to write poems for their loved ones. Chocolatier, Cadbury (best known for their beloved Mini and Creme Eggs) made up the first heart-shaped chocolate box in 1861. Hallmark joined the marketing frenzy of Valentine's Day cards in 1913.
But How Much Does It Really Have To Cost?
Obviously you want to shower the one you love on this beloved day. Do you need to do it with material possessions though? Do you two need to spend the $224 average on each other? Let's cut to the chase. Women, in case you haven't realized it yet - men can really care less about cards or flowers or candy - or ties, or golf clubs, or any other piece of crap. Just tell them with words that you love them and that they are sexy (Men dig that) - They just want one thing - and it's free. Save the $74 for yourself. Men, yes. Women want to be wooed. Buy them candy, flowers and sappy card. It guarantees your free gift. Hopefully your woman is down to Earth - a $20 bouquet of flowers should suffice (the flowers are just going to die after a week anyways!). Buy a small chocolate heart - $10 at most. Because let's be real - the more chocolate you buy her, the more it goes to her hips. Do you want that? Most men aren't resourceful enough to hit up the Dollar Tree for a card - so they will just stop at CVS and grab the same card for $3. So you're talking about $33 to have a stellar Valentine's Day. BANG! Just saved you $191!
Other Ways To Save Money on Valentine's Day
- So you want to go out for dinner? Yeah, yeah - most romantic couples want to go out to eat. It's what we do. I'm planning on it. We're going out on the 15th though. Why waste time waiting for a table or an engorged Valentine's Day menu on the actual day? It's a Thursday this year too. I already have my plans made - and they include a Restaurant.com gift certificate. Whatever. It will save us $19. Both the husband and I are cool with that.
- Wait until the 15th to buy Valentine's Day themed gifts. Everything goes on clearance the 15th. If you can stall your lover a day, pick up your heart-shaped chocolate box on the 15th. The chocolate tastes the same the next day. I know this from experience.
- Don't go out. Cook your lover a nice home-cooked meal. Maybe you like doing this (I don't). Order in. You save on drinks and tip this way.
- Take a walk. It's free! If you're in New England and walking through 2 feet of snow isn't your thing - walk around the mall! Instead of buying stuff, laugh at all the crazy people you see.
- Get a romantic comedy from your local library. Sure, the movie selection might not be very recent - but go for an oldie! Does it really matter? The point is to hang out with your lover.
- Get coffee! When was the last time you just grabbed a hot beverage with your loved one and sat and talked? Starbucks is pricey - but try a mom & pop owned coffee shop or Dunkin Donuts. Unless dropping $5 on a cup of coffee is your thing - then Starbucks it up!
- Park at Quincy Shore Drive or another beach parking lot and make out! Woohoo! Free Fun!
- Play a board or card game! I love Uno. I can play Uno all night long.
- Look at old photos! How much money did you spend on that wedding album? Yeah, I probably don't want to know. Look at it! If you're young and don't know what actual photographs are - look through your old Facebook photo albums.
The point is - make the day memorable. Material possessions fade and usually don't leave a lasting mark in us. Great memories do though.