When I was a kid, Valentine's Day meant picking out hip Scooby Doo/Jem/Power Rangers Valentine's day cards for your class (or, if you had cool parents, some D.I.Y. sparkles and construction paper). As an adult, it can mean candlelit dinners and flowers delivered to the office -- or ordering Chinese takeout while watching Revolutionary Road. However you feel about it, Valentine's Day is big business. A 2011 survey by the market research firm BIGresearch sponsored by the National Retail Federation projected that Americans would spend a total of $3.4 billion dollars on Valentine's Day dinner last year, with the average Joe (or Jane) planning on dropping $116.21 on a romantic meal.
Coupon Cabin created this Valentine's Day infographic showing that dinner wasn't the only thing Americans were planning on paying for last year to celebrate the occasion. National Retail Federation survey estimates indicated that we would spend 3.5 billion on jewelry, 1.1. billion on greeting cards and 1.7 billion on flowers. Mint.com tracked actual Valentine's 2011 spending and found that, individually, their users spent an average of around $73 dollars on flowers and anywhere from $220 to just over $500 on jewelry. (They also found that love is really expensive in Phoenix.)
Source: Mint.com Personal Finances
That's not to say that Americans think money can buy love. As the Coupon Cabin infographic shows, we spend money on a day dedicated to love even if we don't necessarily believe in the concept (or, at least, marriage -- according to the 2010 PEW Study the infographic cites, 4 in 10 Americans believe marriage is becoming obsolete).
With the big day less than a week away, we are curious to know how you're planning to spend (and how much you're planning to spend) on February 14. Have you been saving up in order to lavish wine, roses and chocolate on your partner? Will you be buying yourself a little something, or will you be avoiding Hallmark stores like the plague? Let us know your Valentine's Day plans by tweeting @HuffPost Women with hashtag #VDayPlans
Follow Jessica Pearce Rotondi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lanewyorkaise