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Valentine's Day: 9 places to save

Emotions can often cloud financial judgment on any day, particularly on Valentine's Day, when finding the "perfect gift" seems all that matters. "It's definitely easier to put aside financial woes and go overboard when love is in the air, especially with the constant reminders from advertisers," says Jeff Nobbs, co-founder of Extrabux, a comparison shopping Web site.

And this year is no exception: Valentine's Day spending is expected to hit a 10-year high, with most people planning to purchase candy and chocolates for their special someone, according to the National Retail Federation. Another 36% will buy flowers and dine out, while 19% will splurge on jewelry.

But before getting carried away, consider these savings tips. Now, admittedly, this is not the most romantic article, but if you're curious about how much to spend and how to save on popular Valentine's Day gifts, this one's for you:

How much to spend

"The extent to which Valentine's Day has been commercialized has no doubt given rise to higher expectations, but Valentine's Day gifts are still discretionary spending," says Nobbs. In fact, according to the NRF, the average person is expected to spend about $116 on Valentine's Day gifts this year. Men plan to spend double compared to women: $158.71 versus $75.79 on average.

Nobbs offers the following formula if you're wondering how to personally budget: Take your household income and divide it by the median U.S. household income. Then, multiply that figure by the average person's expected Valentine's Day expense, based on NRF results. That should be a manageable budget.

For example, if you're a man earning $75,000 a year, divide that figure by $49,445 and then, multiply that result by $158.71 for your approximate budget. That comes to roughly $241. If you're a woman with the same salary, your budget would be about $115.

Where to save

While it's a little strange to pursue a "deal" on chocolates for your sweetheart, the following retailers are offering specials on classic Valentine's Day goodies. And if these are items you were already thinking of buying, it can't hurt to save a little along the way, right?

-- Receive 15% off all orders. Use coupon code VAL15 when checking out.
-- Victoria's Secret: Get $75 off orders over $250. Use code: SPRING12
-- Ghiradelli Chocolate: Save 15% off all orders
-- My M&M's: Save 10% off all personalized M&Ms when you spend $30 or more
-- The Popcorn Factory: Get 15% off all orders. Use code: LS15
-- Receive 10% off all Valentine's Day gift baskets. Use code: VDAY10
-- My Jewelry Box: Receive 20% off all orders & free shipping on orders over $100. Use Code: VDAY20
-- Personal Creations: Save 25% off all orders. Use Code: NBS25
-- Omaha Steaks: Receive free shipping on select orders over $59.99

Photo courtesy: C.P. Storm's photostream on Flickr
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