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Valentine's Day, love and money: Average man to spend $169

February 14, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu
  • On Valentine's Day, men will spend nearly $170, 150 million cards will be spent and even pets will be getting gifts, according to various measures.
On Valentine's Day, men will spend nearly $170, 150 million cards… (Stephanie Pilick / EPA )

They say Valentine’s Day is all about the love -- but it's also about the numbers.

Take greeting cards: Folks will send about 150 million of them for V-Day this year, not including the packs of notes that children hand out at school, according to the Greeting Card Assn. The holiday is the second-biggest day for cards, topped only by Christmas.

Valentine’s Day is also one of the five most popular calling days of the year, at least for expats. International calls on Feb. 14 from Swiss-born U.S. residents, for example, are typically more than triple the volume on a normal day, according to calling services provider VIP Communications Inc. The only bigger calling days are Christmas, New Year’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

As for other ways to show you care, men will shell out an average of $168.74 on clothing, jewelry and other gifts this Valentine's Day, a survey by the National Retail Federation indicates. That's nearly double the amount that women will spend. It works out to a gender-neutral average of $126.03 per person – up 8.5% from last year and the highest amount in the 10 years of the survey. That includes $4.52 per person on presents for pets.

Overall, V-Day celebrants are expected to spend $17.6 billion.

“As one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, it’s encouraging that consumers are still exhibiting the desire to spend on discretionary gift items, a strong indication our economy continues to move in the right direction,” said Matthew Shay, president of the federation.

But all that men really want for Valentine’s Day is a restaurant gift card or gift certificate – at least according to the National Restaurant Assn. The trade group says 46% of male consumers it surveyed chose a comped meal as their most-desired present.

Only 13% of women, however, pine for a restaurant freebie, the survey found. The dames prefer jewelry (37%) or flowers (23%).

Interestingly, more men than women – 12% compared with 11% -- said they’d like a chocolate delivery. Dudes also were more inclined than ladies to want a cologne or perfume gift.

One-quarter of Americans said they would celebrate the holiday with a special meal. But half of adults intend to ignore Valentine’s Day entirely. 

In other love and money matters, real estate search engine Trulia says that housing status seems to play a significant role in relationships. Of more than 2,000 survey respondents, only 5% said they’d prefer to date someone who lives with his or her parents. Nearly three-quarters of renters said they’d be willing to live with their lover to save money.

Most people say it doesn’t matter whether the person they're dating is a homeowner or a renter – though more women express a preference for the former.

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