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Americans expected to spend big for Valentine’s Day

Posted at 8:26 PM, Feb 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-07 20:28:15-05

(CNN) – Love is not cheap. A new survey finds Americans will spend a whopping $18.6 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts this year, and men will spend twice as much as the ladies.

But if Cupid needs to cut some costs this year, there are ways.

Retailers anticipate Americans will spend more on their sweeties, but they’ll be cautious about it.

The National Retail Federation finds shoppers will spend about 131 dollars on Valentine’s Day gifts, up about 5 dollars from last year.

$1.6 billion will be spent on candy. $1.9 billion will be spent on flowers. And $4.4 billion will be spent on jewelry, but it’ll be more budget, than bling.

“They might buy silver instead of gold or gem stones instead of diamonds. Jewelry is actually still a very popular Valentine’s Day gift and I think we’ll see that this year too,” said National Retail Federation Spokesperson, Kathy Grannis.

The says spending time is more important than spending money.

“I think it’s really prudent in this economy to not spend a crazy amount of money on Valentine’s Day and to just focus on spending it together and having some quality time,” said Grannis.

One financially-savvy option for couples, forego pricey presents and put the money toward a shared goal like a new home or a dream vacation. Just acknowledge the day in a smaller way.

Thinking ahead can also save some cash. More time means more options than last-minute chocolates and flowers.