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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.

chocolate pralines in golden heart shape box over red silk background
LiliGraphie / Shutterstock
A typical heart-shaped box of chocolates costs a little over $17 this Valentine's Day.

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.

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Diamond earrings

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.

Pair of Diamond and white gold stud earrings on white background
Velveteye / Shutterstock
Diamond solitaire stud earrings like these cost an average of about $333 this year.

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.

Luxury bouquet made of red roses in flower shop Valentines Bouquet of red roses
Anett / Shutterstock
A dozen long-stem red roses costs about $95 for Valentine's Day, about 30% higher than usual.

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.

Bottle of champagne on isolated white background
Oleksandr Lysenko / Shutterstock
French champagne for Valentine's Day costs more than $51, on average.

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.

restaurant, couple and holiday concept - smiling couple with menus at restaurant
Syda Productions / Shutterstock
A Valentine's Day dinner for two costs close to $100, on average.

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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Chris Persaud Freelance Contributor

Chris Persaud was formerly a freelance contributor with Moneywise.

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