Valentine’s Day: Proof that Men Will Pay Twice as Much For Something They Need

Valentine's Day Dinner

Valentine's Day Dinner (Photo credit: ilovebutter)

Men will pay twice as much for something they need and women will spend half as much for something they don’t need. It’s an old adage, but the way men budget for Valentine’s Day proves it.

According to the National Retail Foundation, men are budgeting $168.74 for their Valentine’s Day purchase. That’s up 6.32% from last year. It’s also little less than twice the average woman, $85.76. It’s now a proven fact, men spend twice as much.

Here’s what men are spending their budget on, plus some tips from me for keeping the budget in check in 2012.

Other highlights unrelated to men

  • Families will spend an average of $25.25 on their children
  • Average family will spend $126.03 for Valentine’s Day
  • That’s up 8.5% over last year
  • Average spending is at an all time high.

Men are Buying Jewelry

One in eight men are buying jewelry, which means that men are going to have to put some extra effort into avoiding the “men spend twice as much” saying. According to recently release CPI data, jewelry has climbed to new levels. Just last July, prices for jewelry were increasing at a rate of 11.9%, thanks to record costs for gold and diamonds.

However, 4 million men are planning on getting engaged this Valentine’s Day. In which case, a ring is a must. For the most part, it’s hard to get engagement rings for low cost without making a large sacrifice in quality. The one area where men can take advantage is purchasing a stone slightly less than a half-carat.

In general, men fixate on a certain size and don’t realize that you can get slightly smaller carat for a large discount. For example, I bought a .46 as opposed to a .5 carat diamond. The difference in size is only slight, but the difference in price can be substantial.

No, I didn’t go all cheapskate on Mrs. Smart Family Finance during her engagement. I used the savings from the smaller half-carat ring to get better clarity.

Dining Out is Second in Total Dollars Spent

While $4.1 billion will be spent on jewelry, dining out claims second place in most dollars spent. This year Americans will spend $3.5 billion. Men, just because you are heading out for a special night doesn’t mean that your date needs to cost twice as much.

My recommendation for 2012 is to find a good restaurant that will let you bring your own bottle of wine. It’s becoming trendy at many restaurants recently. You bring your own bottle of wine, they pour. It saves you on the drink tab and you still can have the romantic dinner your significant other deserves.

What’s Valentine’s Day Without Flowers

Third, in total dollars spent, were flowers with Americans shelling out $1.8 billion.

Sure. It’s easy to sit down at a computer and tell my fellow men to skip the roses to save money. Easier said than done right? However, I do have some rose suggestions.

Don’t wait until the last minute with your flower plans. Keep an eye out for deal and coupons. It’s usually better to buy from a grocery store, like Wegmans, than by flowers online. Avoid getting a “deal” from roadside vendors. The roses usually don’t last long.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day the Next Day

Mrs. Smart Family Finance and I have been celebrating Valentine’s Day on February 15th since we were dating in college. We realized early on that trying to plan a special date, when the rest of the nation was also looking for a date, was too cumbersome. Thanks to the big push from retailers, the restaurants are usually empty, the candy is 75% off and the roses are discounted.

It’s all still very special, just cheaper and less of a hassle.

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