This short post is from personal finance writer Gwendolyn Pearce, who last wrote about no-money fun.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average person is planning to spend $130.97 this Valentine’s Day. If you’re a male in love, that number jumps to $175.61. Females, however, are only projected to spend $88.78. The NRF’s report forecasts that consumers are playing down Valentine’s Day this year by only spending $18.6 billion. (It made me curious what Valentine’s Day spending looked like since the recession. If you’re curious as well, check out this infographic.)

Really? I haven’t spent $130 on Valentine’s Day in 15 years combined! And no, I’m not one for hating on Valentine’s Day. Yes, it’s overtly commercial and sends the message that it’s definitely not the thought that counts, but I enjoy the reminder to check in with my spouse, and we strive to make each other feel appreciated and adored.  No gifts, no reservations – just quality time over a dinner at home.

But apparently, we are in the minority, though, I suspect not here at GRS.

The report continues to show that the amorous holiday isn’t just for couples. Over 60 percent of shoppers plan to buy for family members, 25 percent shop for friends, 13 percent show their appreciation for co-workers, and last but not least, 20 percent plan to do something special for their furry friends.

So, how, if at all, do you plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? What is the best low- or no-cost Valentine’s Day gift you’ve given or received?

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