Is It Cheaper to Celebrate Valentine's Day Early (or Late)?

Flowers and hotel stays can cost twice as much on Valentine's, so picking another day can be tempting.
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Couple Having Dinner

Even if you don't plan to go all out on Valentine's Day, the holiday could still pose financial challenges to you. After all, Americans were expected to spend an average of $136.57 (and $18.2 billion total) on the holiday last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

SEE ALSO: What to Expect From Valentine's Day Deals in 2018

So, what do you do if Valentine's Day seems outside your budget? Depending on the gal or guy, you might just kiss your relationship goodbye if you ignore the date. Instead, why not compromise by celebrating the day early or late?

Below, we talk about how much more you'll pay on Valentine's Day itself, and whether it's better to celebrate early or late.

How Much More Will You Pay on Valentine's Day?

Few would argue that staple Valentine's Day gifts like roses, chocolates, and jewelry are more expensive if you buy them on the day Cupid takes center stage. But which items see the biggest price changes?

netRivals, which offers price intelligence/monitoring services, did a comparative study of a wide range of products around Valentine's Day last year, and found that, while generally prices were fairly stable during the days before the holiday, there were price increases in some categories. According to netRivals content writer Florida Zebi, on electronics, only small increases were detected, but the beauty and food-and-drink categories were most susceptible to price fluctuations.

'The typical hotel rate on Valentine's Day is 25% more than it is on the same day just one week before.'

Food in particular can drain your wallet on Valentine's Day, with many restaurants offering an expensive prix fixe menu specific to the holiday. You may not be able to order off the regular menu, either. In New York City, "prices can range from a more 'affordable' $75-per-person menu to hundreds of dollars per guest — with a hefty cancellation fee," according to U.S. News.

Flowers can see a big price increase, too. If you're looking to buy red roses on Valentine's Day, you could pay 50% more for your flowers in Chicago, 60% more in New York, and a whopping 100% more in Los Angeles, compared to what you'd pay before the holiday.

And if you're a couple that likes to celebrate Valentine's with a hotel stay, you'll shell out more cash for your room. According to travel site Hipmunk, "the typical hotel rate on Valentine's Day is 25% more than it is on the same day just one week before." In some cities, the increase is even greater; Houston and New York see prices go up by 70%, and in Reno, NV, the price jumps by 114%.

Talk It Out Before Changing Days

These Valentine's price hikes may make an early (or late) celebration seem tempting, but be sure to talk about any date changes with your partner first. "How much can you save? This is a judgement call, really, but there is no doubt that you can save some money," says Nate Masterson, director of finance for Maple Holistics. "Although, if that is your only reason for doing it... well, just make sure your partner is on board. Don't sacrifice one thing for another."

The strongest relationships are built on honesty and shared goals. "Discussing money, budgets, and value shouldn't make you or your significant other feel like cheapskates; it should make you feel like equal partners building and maintaining a rewarding relationship," says Ian Atkins, chief finance analyst for FitSmallBusiness.com.

SEE ALSO: Valentine's Day Gifts for Every Type of Relationship

Should you decide to buck tradition to save money, do so delicately. "You can save a lot on flowers, chocolates, gifts, and dinner if you celebrate Valentine's Day a couple of days early or late, as the costs of these items are higher on Valentine's Day, compared to any other day," says Robin Williams, an executive at CashOne. "However, postponing or celebrating it in advance can be emotionally tragic and heartbreaking for your significant other.

"Bring up this idea early to show that you are planning for the Valentine's Day celebrations and you care about your partner," Williams adds. "Make the celebration bigger by planning it on a weekend so it can be made worth waiting for."

Kait Scalisi, an intimacy educator and founder of PassionbyKait.com, offers another idea: "If your significant other doesn't care about gifts, then the pressure is off. If, however your beau or gal does love gifts... plan to tie whatever you do into actual Valentine's Day. For example, give clues starting on Valentine's and let it lead up to their present. And don't not do something for Valentine's — it can be small, size is less important to many people than meaningfulness."

Is an Early or Late Valentine's Better?

If you decide to change up your Valentine's Day, do you celebrate early or late? "A couple of days later trumps a couple of days earlier, since prices tend to even out soon afterwards," Masterson says. "Who can forget the classic Simpsons episode in which Apu practically robs Homer for a dusty heart-shaped box of candy on Valentine's?"

To save some extra bucks, it's better to celebrate Valentine's Day later rather than earlier — that's when prices tend to even out.

You can reap the financial rewards as soon as February 15, when local florists, drugstores, and other retailers start discounting Valentine's items. "Giant teddy bears, roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, and romantic cards will all be on sale — even as high as 75% off (or more as the week goes on)," according to U.S. News.

Regardless of the day you choose, you still want the celebration to be special, and that doesn't have to cost a lot. Says Masterson, "Revisiting places which evoke happy romantic memories (the spot you had your first date, for instance) is always a popular option. It is not about how much you spend, but rather your intention and emotion. A small heartfelt gesture can be significantly more special than an over-the-top, ridiculously expensive gift.

"Restaurants still have good food, stand-up clubs still have funny people, and rom-coms are still playing at movie theatres after February 14th," he notes.

Readers, would you ever celebrate Valentine's Day early or late to save money? If you've done it before, how did your date go? Let us know in the comments below!


Contributing Writer

Sheryl Nance-Nash is a New York City-based freelance writer specializing in personal finance, small business, general business, and travel. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Money, DailyFinance.com, Forbes.com, and many more.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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4 comments
hypercore
You poor stupid people...
Alligator
It's cheaper to not celebrate period.
emmayche
Since Valentine's Day falls on Ash Wednesday this year (a day of fasting and abstinence from meat for Roman Catholics), be smart - celebrate your love for each other on Mardi Gras - the day before - this year! (It's also kind to your Protestant neighbors - they'll have an easier time getting dinner reservations.)
ski522
The dumbest @#$% holiday ever! If you need 1 day to show your SO how much you care for them, then you probably should even have an SO!