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JUPITER, Florida, and TORONTO -- Feb. 1, 2018 -- Does your idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day include chocolates, red roses, the gift of diamond earrings, champagne and dinner out at a fine restaurant? Your budget may not love it, because in 2018 those items total about $600 on average, a MoneyWise.com report finds.

The full story can be found here: https://moneywise.com/a/cost-of-love-survey

For its first annual Cost of Love Index of Valentine’s Day prices, MoneyWise.com gathered price data from online retailers, market research firms and the online floral marketplace BloomNation. The research found these are this year’s average prices for the traditional Valentine’s Day trappings:

  • A heart-shaped box of chocolates: $17.24
  • ¼ carat diamond solitaire stud earrings in 14K white gold: $332.80
  • A dozen long-stemmed red roses: $94.83
  • A 750ml bottle of French champagne: $51.85
  • Dinner for two at a fine-dining restaurant: $99.84

The grand total: $596.56.

"There's a good deal of pressure to go all out on Valentine's Day, and it can be quite expensive," said Doug Whiteman, MoneyWise.com editor-in-chief and part-time penny-pincher. "But there are ways to search for bargains and find alternate gifts and activities without disappointing the object of your affection. As with other holidays, prices on traditional gifts are inflated in early to mid-February."

For example, MoneyWise.com found that prices for red roses tend to be 30% higher at Valentine’s Day than at other times.

The report suggests some less expensive and, perhaps, more heartfelt ways to show love to your Valentine. One might save the dinner out for the weekend -- after Feb. 14 -- or find a perfectly decent bottle of domestic champagne. Couples may even find it more romantic to bake a cake instead of opting for chocolates, or to prepare a romantic dinner together at home. Another recommendation is to buy roses at one of the big-box stores that offer better pricing.

"Romance and frugality do not have to be mutually exclusive," said Whiteman.

METHODOLOGY: MoneyWise.com averaged the online prices for similarly-sized heart-shaped boxes of chocolates from several name-brand chocolate companies, and averaged the online prices for similar pairs of diamond earrings sold by major jewelry retailers. The Valentine’s Day roses data came from BloomNation, the champagne price was supplied by Nielsen, and the 2018 average Valentine’s Day dinner check for two (excluding tax) at a fine-dining restaurant was provided by NPD Group.

About MoneyWise.com: MoneyWise.com was founded in 2017 to provide personal finance information, advice, news and tools in a way that is clear, trustworthy, valuable and cool. With editorial offices in South Florida and administrative offices in Toronto, we give tips on how to save money, how to find the best bank accounts, how to choose a credit card, how to get the best mortgage rates and how to navigate many other money matters. We like to make the topics fun, but we’re serious about our mission: to help consumers make smart financial decisions and get ahead.

Contact: Doug Whiteman Editor-in-chief, MoneyWise.com [email protected] 914-999-2766