What Real Women Think You Should Spend On Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and many of us are musing over our budgets for the holiday. Whether you’re a die-hard Valentine or think the holiday is a capitalist scam, chances are you have some feelings about what is a reasonable amount of money to spend on your beau.

According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers spent an average of $143.56 on Valentine’s Day last year. Meanwhile, the number of adults celebrating the holiday is actually declining. In 2009, 72% of adults between 18 and 34 observed Valentine’s Day. As of 2017, a little more than half of those under 55 planned to celebrate. Many of these people felt that the holiday was overly commercialized.

According to statistics, young people today are participating a bit differently: Though fewer individuals are observing the holiday with the same excitement as before, those who are opting in are spending more than ever before.

Curious about how real women are approaching the holiday, we reached out to our community to find out. Ahead, 15 millennial women weigh in about how much they consider to be the right amount to spend, and also dish about how much they make and what they usually do to celebrate.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Age: 22

Salary: $15,000

Valentine’s Day maximum budget: No limit.

What do you usually do on Valentine’s Day, and why do you think this is a reasonable amount to spend?

“Some years I spend $20 on a hoodie he wants, some years I spend $200 on concert tickets. Valentine’s Day is about celebrating a loved one, so I don’t give myself a budget on it. I just keep myself responsible and save gradually if I know it’ll be a big year, cost-wise, for Valentine’s Day.”

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Age: 27

Salary: $55,000

Valentine’s Day maximum budget: $100

What do you usually do on Valentine’s Day, and why do you think this is a reasonable amount to spend?

“My husband and I take turns paying when we go out on a date, and Valentine’s Day is an occasion when we usually go out on a date. This is the maximum total we would spend all together for dinner and drinks.”

Location: Austin, TX

Age: 32

Salary: $64,000

Valentine’s Day maximum budget: $50

What do you usually do on Valentine’s Day, and why do you think this is a reasonable amount to spend?

“This is the typical amount my partner and I spend on each other around Valentine’s Day. We split most of our expenses and don’t splurge on holidays or birthdays, but enjoy having time together more. This year, we have plans to attend a free gallery opening that some friends invited us to, then get Thai food (we’ll split the bill) and watch a movie at home afterward. He also bought us tickets to a concert a few days before Valentine’s Day (his treat). I plan to take us to a local winery the weekend prior (my treat). I love Valentine’s Day, and since we missed it last year, I want to make the most of being together this year.”

Location: Saskatoon, Canada

Age: 30

Salary: $61,000

Valentine’s Day maximum budget: $50

What do you usually do on Valentine’s Day, and why do you think this is a reasonable amount to spend?

“It’s probably been eight years since we went out to dinner on Valentine’s Day — we don’t want to spend a lot of money or fight the crowds. Last year, we ordered pizza, ate an obscene amount of sweets, and watched a movie at home.”

Location: Chicago, IL

Age: 23

Salary: $40,000

Valentine’s Day maximum budget: $25

What do you usually do on Valentine’s Day, and why do you think this is a reasonable amount to spend?

“My partner of four years and I don’t usually get each other presents because gifts are at the bottom of our respective love languages. We also don’t make it a priority to celebrate, since we’ve lived in different cities since 2017. We won’t be in the same city this year, and I don’t think either of us is hurt about it. In fact, I’ll be flying to Dublin, Ireland, on the 14th to visit one of my close friends who recently moved there, so I’d say that’s a pretty good Valentine’s Day for me.”

Location: New York, NY

Age: 25

Salary: $41,000

Valentine’s Day maximum budget: $100

What do you usually do on Valentine’s Day, and why do you think this is a reasonable amount to spend?

“This is enough to split the bill for dinner and a small gift, like Godiva chocolates.”

Location: Akron, Ohio

Age: 27

Salary: $60,000

Valentine’s Day maximum budget: $25

What do you usually do on Valentine’s Day, and why do you think this is a reasonable amount to spend?

“Given our feelings toward the holiday, we normally make each other cute silly cards and get a bit of chocolate to share. This year we will make homemade Valentines, buy some chocolate, and probably rent and watch a movie at home.”

Location: Ottawa, Canada

Age: 25

Salary: $48,300

Valentine’s Day maximum budget: $50

What do you usually do on Valentine’s Day, and why do you think this is a reasonable amount to spend?

“Valentine’s Day can be fairly overhyped, with overpriced and busy activities. We prefer to stay in and buy small gifts, usually oriented around food. So $50 is enough to cover between $20 and $30 on a gift, plus $15 or so of ingredients to make a nice dinner.”

Location: San Antonio, TX

Age: 31

Salary: $36,000

Valentine’s Day maximum budget: $50

What do you usually do on Valentine’s Day, and why do you think this is a reasonable amount to spend?

“It should be just enough money to have a meal with your significant other. Nothing flashy — just spending time with them should be enough. We still have not made plans, but most likely we’ll go out for dinner and come home to some Netflix.”

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Age: 29

Salary: $500,000

Valentine’s Day maximum budget: No limit

What do you usually do on Valentine’s Day, and why do you think this is a reasonable amount to spend?

“It is so rare that my husband and I have a chance to celebrate and spend time alone, so any expense is worth it. We have a young child and demanding careers. Since Valentine’s Day falls over a long weekend this year, we will probably take a weekend trip somewhere. These typically run a couple thousand.”

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