Valentine's Day rip-offs
You can't buy love, as the saying goes - but showing your love can cost money all the same. Indeed, according to Worldpay, the average Brit spends a little over £45 on Valentine's Day.
What with flowers, a card, a romantic meal out or gift, it can add up to a really expensive day. And the worst thing about it is that you're probably paying much more than you should.
Shops, restaurants and hotels all bump up their prices for Valentine's Day: here are some of the biggest rip-offs.
All cards are a bit of a rip-off, and Valentine's Day cards are no exception. While high-quality paper is expensive, it's nowhere near enough to explain the £2-£5 price of most cards. But manufacturers expect to make a profit of around 500%, and retailers another 200% on top of that, meaning that the buyer can end up spending ten times what the card cost to produce.
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More than 50 million roses are given in the UK every Valentine's Day, with a dozen blooms costing anywhere from a fiver to £50 - substantially more than at other times of the year. Here, though, there is a good excuse, as the enormous demand on Valentine's Day bumps costs up right through the supply chain, from the grower to the delivery company. And this year, thanks to the decline in the pound caused by the Brexit vote, imported flowers will cost even more.
According to Nuts magazine, restaurants typically bump prices up by 10% on Valentine's Day through the use of special 'romantic' menus - which also mean you'll tend to get less choice. Not only that, staff are likely to be rushed off their feet, so you'll almost certainly be getting worse service for your money.
The tricks restaurants use to make you spend more
The same applies to romantic getaways, with Valentine's Day and the nearest weekend generally costing at least 10% more than during the rest of February. And with romantic getaways generally including dinner as well, they're getting the mark-up there too - not to mention sales of high-priced fizz.
The good news is that it's perfectly possible to give your loved one a special day without breaking the bank. In past years, Aldi has offered an astonishing 100 roses for just £25, for example.
Would you shop at Aldi for Valentine's Day?
Cards can be home-made, and deals on hotels and restaurants can be found through sites such as Groupon or Wowcher; alternatively you could cook a special meal at home.
"Many people told us they view Valentine's Day as a commercial, money-making gimmick. Or they might choose to celebrate their love throughout the year, rather than focusing on one day," says Florence Buswell of the Money Advice Service.
"Of those that do celebrate it, most would prefer to do it without spending a fortune. Many chose a special home cooked meal over going out, or staying in and watching a film."