Box of chocolates
Average price: $17.24
Want to put the sweet in sweetheart for Valentine's Day? Prepare to spend around $17 for the customary box of chocolates.
We averaged the prices of several name-brand, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates in the 8.13- to 9.5-ounce range. We found you could pay anywhere from $11.71, for a package of Lindt's, to $22.99, for Godiva.
Candy tends to be the No. 1 most popular Valentine's Day gift, the National Retail Federation says.
Looking for a cheaper and more meaningful way to satisfy a loved one's sweet tooth? Consider baking a cake for your special someone instead.
Average price: $332.80
By far, the most expensive gift commonly bought for Feb. 14 is diamond jewelry.
This year's average price for a pair of diamond solitaire stud earrings — with princess-cut diamonds totaling 1/4 carat in weight and set in 14K white gold — is about $333.
We gathered prices from leading retailers and found this typical earring set runs from the $200s to $400. To give a couple of examples: Blue Nile sells a pair for $235, while the price at Kay Jewelers is $389.
About 1 in 5 Valentine's Day gift-givers gives jewelry, retail industry surveys show. But beautiful bling doesn't have to cost big bucks, so shop around and look at alternatives beyond diamonds.
Dozen red roses
Average price: $94.83
If you're one of those people who think it's just not Valentine's Day unless you're giving — or getting — a dozen long-stemmed red roses, understand that the tradition comes at a hefty markup!
The nationwide average price for that crimson bouquet this V-Day is $94.83. That's according to flower delivery service BloomNation, which works with more than 3,000 florists across the U.S.
Note that the price at Valentine's Day is 30% more than what you'd pay for those same roses any other time of the year: $72.79.
Our advice is that you pick up tulips, orchids or another less expensive (and less cliche) alternative to red roses.
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Bottle of champagne
Average price: $51.85
Planning to pop open some bubbly to celebrate with your significant other? Good champagne ain't cheap.
The current average price of a 750ml bottle of French champagne is $51.85, says the big market research company Nielsen.
Note that if you really want to impress a date, you'll spring for the French stuff, from the Champagne region that gives the classic sparkling wine its name.
But really, you shouldn't have to try so hard. You can probably find a great bottle of domestic bubbles for around $10.
Fine dining for 2
Average price: $99.84
Fine dining restaurants typically offer special — that is, more expensive — menus for Valentine's Day, this year costing an average of pretty close to $100 for a romantic dinner for two.
That's up more than $5 from last year's average check (excluding tax) of $94.29, according to the market research firm NPD Group.
Valentine's Day is MASSIVE for the restaurant business. The National Restaurant Association says it's the second most popular holiday for dining out after Mother's Day.
Here's a tip: Avoid the crowd and cook something together at home. If you really need to gaze into each other's eyes across a restaurant table, wait until Friday Feb. 16 or Saturday the 17th, when prices will likely be lower.
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