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Money Minute: A day for romance ... and spending [Video]

February 14, 2012|By David Lazarus

Happy Valentine's Day. It's an occasion for romance and love, right?

Yeah. But it's also an occasion for big business.

The average American will pony up about $126.04 to mark the day, according to the National Retail Federation. That's up more than 8.5% from the $116.21 spent in 2011 (with guys shelling out about twice what ladies will pay).

With that in mind, is anyone surprised that retailers routinely jack up prices for the spending spree? Have you checked out the prices at flower and chocolate stores? Shopped for jewelry lately?

Things have gotten so commercial out there that an estimated $367 million will be spent this Valentine's Day on people pets (which, to be sure, are more than worthy of our love and affection).

Not to be a downer, but maybe it's time for us to remember what this is all really about. You can spend about $80 on a dozen roses at 1-800flowers. Or you can put your thoughts onto a card -- or better still, make a card -- and follow up with a long kiss (or whatever).

Nothing wrong with commerce. But when it comes to spending overshadowing other considerations, another holiday comes to mind. It features a jolly old fat guy in a red suit. And a whole lot of money.

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