gift with confetti

Love May Be Blind, But Valentine’s Day Isn’t Cheap

Paying Up for Dinner, Flowers, and Jewelry

Complaining about the increased cost of Valentine’s Day probably won’t cut you any slack with your significant other, but you’re not imagining things. A sampling of items associated with a Valentine’s Day date highlights why. Personal finance site The Balance notes the cost of a good steak is up 154% and a dozen roses are up on average by 22%.

The pandemic-battered restaurant industry faces continued staffing issues and higher wholesale prices. Valentine’s Day and couples eating out represents a chance at business, and eateries have raised prices in many cases. For example, imported champagne is up 18%, although a more modest diner will find table wine is up only 2.5%. Then again, skipping dinner and buying some jewelry could be the counterintuitive way to go — gold prices have stayed largely steady recently.

Candy Shortage Not So Sweet

As if the added costs associated with going out and buying flowers weren’t bad enough, candy prices are up 9% and candy sales are spiking overall. Hershey (HSY) has been cutting advertising and raising prices as everything from packaging to ingredients is costing them more, but neither has caused a dip in demand according to executives. The chocolate maker is also reporting supply shortages amid staffing issues and diminished factory output.

Shoppers may face difficulty finding candy at their local store. The IRI CPG Supply Index says close to 20% of most candy aisles are out of stock. That’s up from typical pre-pandemic levels of 7%. Some stores report they’re already putting in orders for Halloween.

Valentine’s Day by the Numbers

According to a recent study from LendingTree (TREE), Americans are expecting to spend $208 for Valentine’s Day this year, which is up 44% from 2021. Similarly, the National Retail Federation is expecting $23.9 billion in total spending for the holiday, which would be the second highest on record. Candy, cards, flowers and other gifts are pegged right near $175 on average.

LendingTree’s study shows 37% of couples are likely to go out this Valentine’s Day, which is up 11 percentage points from last year. The same survey finds couples spend the most on Valentine’s Day during the first couple of years together before that number starts to tick down. Perhaps the savings will make it easier not to have a date this time around. For everyone going out on Valentine’s Day, a strict budget may be in order.

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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