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Spend Less, Love More This Valentine's Day


More Americans are apparently going to be saying amore for a-lesse this Valentine's Day.

According to a just-released survey by, Americans are saying they plan to scale back their Valentine's Day spending. While about half of those surveyed say they plan to spend about the same amount as last year, only 62 percent said they'll spend up to $100 this Valentine's Day, a decrease from 68 percent in 2012. And 55 percent said that the lackluster economy will indeed have an impact on their purchasing decisions when they go shopping for their sweethearts.

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I've always found it ironic that as spending on Valentine's Day has dramatically increased over the years (in inflation-adjusted dollars), so has the divorce rate. Who knows, maybe with spending now on a downward trajectory, the divorce rate will drop as well?

Of course I've always felt that Valentine's Day is truly a holiday where it's the thought - not the price tag - that counts. It's a holiday about love and emotion, not about stuff and spending. The tradition my beloved wife and I have always tried to honor throughout our 30-year marriage is to take a vacation day from our jobs on Valentine's Day so that we can simply spend the day together. That usually involves sleeping late, me cooking Denise breakfast in bed (including my famous fried eggs in the middle of a pieces of toast with a heart shape cut out of them), and then an entire day devoted to enjoying each other's company.

Sure, we exchange cards and sometimes a small gift, often something homemade. And together we'll cook a nicer than normal dinner to enjoy by candlelight in front of our fireplace. But we don't begin to spend $100 on Valentine's Day between the two of us, let alone apiece, and yet I swear I can remember each and every Valentine's Day we've spent together, even though these days I have a hard time remembering even my own age.

I hope you'll enjoy and cherish the company of your loved ones this Valentine's Day, regardless of how much you spend - or don't spend.  If nothing else, check out my special Valentine's Day episode of  "The Cheap Life" on YouTube for some free laughs and more ideas for saying amore for a-lesse.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Photo by phoung86_2004 via Flickr.

NEW: Watch the Valentine's Day episode of The Cheap Life.

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