Valentine’s Day: Fair prices or romantic rip-off?

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Cupid’s arrow may pierce your heart on Valentine’s Day but it doesn’t have to strike straight through to your wallet, too. Despite the popular thinking that anything remotely romantic will cost more on Feb. 14, that’s just not true.

Still, there’s no question that people spend money and a lot of it on Valentine’s Day. In 2017, spending that day is expected to reach $18.2 billion, according to a National Retail Federation survey — down from last year’s $19.7 billion.

But purchases offer a mixed bag of pricing. It has to do with the supply of and demand for what you want to buy, where you live, the day of the week that Valentine’s falls on (it’s a Tuesday this year), and what retailers and restaurant owners must pay their suppliers.

Most people celebrate with a night out for dinner, flowers and chocolates, and are expected to spend an average $136.57 this year, the NRF says. Others may splurge on bigger-ticket items like diamonds. And uber-romantics might even opt for a Valentine’s wedding. Some of those will cost more, others may be surprisingly good deals.

Here’s a closer look at some examples.