You don’t need to break the budget to avoid breaking hearts on Valentine’s Day

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is almost here. Some might argue it’s a fictional holiday celebrating consumerism masqueraded as love, while others see it as a day to devote to their partner. Regardless of your philosophical stance – unless your partner shares your pessimism – it’s likely February 14 will include a visit to the florist, jeweller, chocolatier or chef (or some combination thereof).

Here at Pocketbook, we wanted to see how much the average Australian spends on Valentine’s Day, so we looked at anonymised historical spending data captured over the past five years. With a sample size of more 200,000 people, here’s what we found:

Don’t worry, you’re not being cheap – average Valentine’s Day spend is less than $70.

We looked at spending on the traditional hallmark holiday items (florists, restaurants, jewellers, chocolate shops and cinemas) from February 12-14 each year, and found the average Australian Valentine’s spend was $68.35.

Bosco Tan, Pocketbook co-founder, said the best way to save money during Valentine’s Day was to give a gift that came from the heart, not the wallet.

“A gift you’ve put a lot of thought into will be more memorable than one you’ve spent a lot of money on,” he said. “If your partner has been talking about growing their own herbs, starting a small herb garden on the balcony with a few plants is not only cheaper than roses, but it’s a gift that keeps on giving and shows you’ve been paying attention.”

Breaking down the most common Valentine’s Day presents, the average amount spent for each category between February 12 and 14 is as follows:

· Florists – $74.81

· Restaurants – $81.92

· Jewellers – $125.74

· Chocolatiers – $26.48

· Cinema – $32.78

Forget me not: Are the days after Valentine’s just as big for Florists?

We mapped out florist transactions across the month of February to see how Valentine’s Day spending compared to the rest of the month. What we found was that the number of people who shopped at a florist on February 15 and 16 (42 per cent) was almost the same as those who picked up flowers on either February 13 or 14 (47 per cent).

This could mean there’s a post-Valentine’s Day rush in which those who forgot to try to claw their way back into the good books. Keep in mind, this could be potentially skewed by 2015 and 2016 when Valentine’s Day fell on a weekend and so payment processing times may have been delayed.

Either way, Bosco said the best way to stick to a budget on days like Valentine’s Day was to plan ahead, and not get caught off-guard looking for last-minute gifts.

“Not only is a picnic in the park more romantic, it also won’t cost anywhere near as much as a restaurant dinner – assuming you can still find a reservation.”

If you’re still scratching your head over what to buy for Valentine’s Day, zipMoney has put together a handy Valentine’s Gift Guide to give you some ideas.

For tips on how to hack Valentine’s Day on a budget, check out our guide here.

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