Valentine’s Day: Is it worth the splurge?

Now is about the time that people’s minds turn away from Santa and snow and turn towards the most love-obsessed day of the year: Valentine’s Day. 

However true devotion isn’t necessarily the name of the game. Like many celebrated holidays, pressure to show off extravagant and expensive gifts given and received is high on February 14th.
In the UK, Valentine’s Day Facebook statuses generally include the words ‘chocolate’, ‘greeting cards’, ‘beauty’ and ‘present’ and there is a 20% increase in photo uploads compared to the week before the lovers’ day. 
It’s not just the fear of missing out on social media that puts pressure on people to spend more than they can afford. Advertisers can target people via their relationship status, (Facebook) target specific words, or age - apparently the over-25s are the demographic which discuss Valentine’s Day gifts the most. So if you get engaged, don’t be surprised if someone is selling you a wedding venue before you’ve even got the ring on. 
David Rodger, CEO of Debt Advice Foundation is warning couples about the danger of overspending;
“Whilst romance can only be a good thing, it’s never worth spending more than you can manage. Remember retailers don’t care about your love story, so don’t be tempted into an over-commercialised day.”
Below we’ve taken a look at the real cost of the feast of St Valentine, so you can see where you can save…or what you can miss out on entirely!
According to AOL Money, the average mark-up a shop puts on cards is between 200% and 250%. Pick up a bargain at 60p or get something unique for £17.99. Most cards average around £2.99. 
Outside of Valentine’s Day you'd pick up a bunch of red roses for £20, but on Valentine’s Day you will pay that for a single stem. A major flower retailer is selling bunches for anything from £27 up to £999…Unless you’re into flower pressing, that is one expensive memory!
However there are several supermarkets and online shops offering deals on roses from £21, so make sure you shop around. 
No one needs a special day to eat chocolate, though if you choose some in February in a pink box or formed into heart shapes, chances are they are going to cost you a bit more than usual; around £5-£30. A family bar of milk chocolate may not look as pretty, but it’ll taste exactly the same. 
Champagne prices drop considerably at Christmas and New Year, to increase the volume that’s sold. To retain its price point as a luxury item, champagne prices are then inflated throughout the rest of the year. 
These days nearly every supermarket aiming at the thrifty shopper has at least one champagne around the £10 mark. Whatever you do, don’t expect to walk in at 6pm on the day and grab one, chances are everyone else has gotten there before you. 
Dinner out
There’s nothing that says “we’re in love” quite like a budget-busting feast. Restaurants and hotels are fully aware of this, adding a bottle of fizz, some foiled treats and hefty mark-up to make it an irresistible ‘deal’. 
Enjoying a slightly uncomfortable set meal with 40 other couples and stressed-out staff can set you back around £60 to £100. 
Dining In
Generally as the cupids dust off their arrows, even the cost of eating in your own home increases. Supermarkets who provide wine and meal package deals generally double their prices to £20 for their Valentine’s versions. Budget supermarkets do their own offerings (some self-assembly may be required) for around £10 without wine. This is a great option, coming in at least six times less than a meal out, which won’t include wine either. 
CapitalOne reported that in 2015 the average cost of a Valentines gift was £32.27, though one report suggested women only spend around £10 on their other halves. Gifts can range from £6 to….well anything! Unless Valentine’s Day is your birthday or anniversary, it may be best to save gifts for other times of the year. 

If you’re worried that your debt has become unmanageable, speak to an adviser at Debt Advice Foundation, available 6 days a week on 0800 043 40 50