The Cost of Valentine’s Date the Year You Were Born

February 12, 2019 by Sam Stebbins

Source: recep-bg / Getty Images
For the first time ever, total Valentine’s Day spending is projected to top $20 billion in the United States — despite falling participation. Just 51% of American adults plan to celebrate the holiday, the smallest share in at least a decade and down from 55% last year.

In a statement from Matthew Shay, CEO of industry advocacy group National Retail Federation, greater spending among those participating in the holiday is likely driven by the strong economy. While some of that spending will go towards friends, coworkers, and family, the vast majority of Valentine’s Day spending will be between spouses and significant others.

Specific Valentine’s Day plans vary by couple, but many will be sticking to tried and true traditions. According to an NRF survey, 15% of American adults plan on buying a gift certificate, 18% plan to buy clothing and jewelry, more than a third plan on an evening out, 35% plan on buying flowers, 44% will buy a greeting card, and more than half plan on buying candy.

Based on the popularity of those gifts and average anticipated spending on them, 24/7 Wall St. created a weighted average to determine how much a couple is likely to spend on the holiday this year. We adjusted that figure for inflation to determine how much the holiday would cost every year going back to 1948. Because going to the movies is also a popular way to celebrate Valentine’s, we also included the average cost of a movie ticket each year from the National Association of Theatre Owners.

With costs rising every year, it may be no coincidence that Valentine’s Day spending is projected to hit a record high in 2019 — even as participation is expected to hit a decade low.

Click here to see the cost of Valentine’s date the year you were born.

Source: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

2018
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $70.32 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2018: $9.11

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Source: dapuglet / Flickr

2017
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $70.32 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2017: $8.97

Source: Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images

2016
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $69.15 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2016: $8.65

Source: Ian Gavan / Getty Images

2015
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $68.34 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2015: $8.43

Source: Brendon Thorne / Getty Images

2014
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $68.14 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2014: $8.17

Source: Handout / Getty Images

2013
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $67.12 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2013: $8.13

Source: Feng Li / Getty Images

2012
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $66.24 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2012: $7.96

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Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

2011
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $65.01 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2011: $7.93

Source: Thos Robinson / Getty Images

2010
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $63.45 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2010: $7.89

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

2009
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $62.42 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2009: $7.50

Source: Chris Jackson / Getty Images

2008
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $62.46 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2008: $7.18

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Source: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

2007
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $60.61 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2007: $6.88

Source: China Photos / Getty Images

2006
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $59.13 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2006: $6.55

Source: Tim Boyle / Getty Images

2005
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $57.59 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2005: $6.41

Source: Jessica Rinaldi / Getty Images

2004
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $55.99 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2004: $6.21

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

2003
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $54.66 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2003: $6.03

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

2002
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $53.60 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2002: $5.80

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Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

2001
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $52.89 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2001: $5.65

Source: Scott Gries / Getty Images

2000
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $51.89 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 2000: $5.39

Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Pictures

1999
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $50.63 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1999: $5.06

Source: Brian Bahr / Getty Images

1998
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $49.90 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1998: $4.69

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

1997
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $49.52 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1997: $4.59

Source: eli_asenova / Getty Images

1996
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $48.68 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1996: $4.42

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

1995
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $47.66 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1995: $4.35

Source: Freddycat1 / Flickr

1994
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $46.69 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1994: $4.08

Source: George Rose / Getty Images

1993
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $45.74 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1993: $4.14

Source: Ruby ran from California / Wikimedia Commons

1992
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $44.63 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1992: $4.15

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Source: Graham Racher / Wikimedia Commons

1991
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $43.48 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1991: $4.21

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

1990
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $42.10 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1990: $4.22

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

1989
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $40.35 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1989: $4.17

Source: Courtesy of Orion Pictures

1988
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $38.68 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1988: $4.11

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Source: Courtesy of Vestron Pictures

1987
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $37.23 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1987: $3.91

Source: RFStock / Getty Images

1986
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $36.13 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1986: $3.71

Source: Antiv3D / Getty Images

1985
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $35.37 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1985: $3.55

Source: Courtesy of MCA

1984
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $34.16 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1984: $3.36

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

1983
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $32.91 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1983: $3.15

Source: 51764518@N02 / Flickr

1982
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $31.56 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1982: $2.94

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Source: Graham Turner / Getty Images

1981
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $29.90 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1981: $2.78

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

1980
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $27.45 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1980: $2.69

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

1979
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $24.79 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1979: $2.47

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

1978
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $22.77 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1978: $2.34

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Source: 51764518@N02 / Flickr

1977
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $21.28 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1977: $2.23

Source: Courtesy of ITC Entertainment

1976
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $19.98 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1976: $2.13

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

1975
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $18.94 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1975: $2.03

Source: AVRO / Wikimedia Commons

1974
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $17.48 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1974: $1.89

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

1973
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $15.83 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1973: $1.81

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

1972
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $15.02 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1972: $1.73

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures Corporation

1971
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $14.53 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1971: $1.65

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1970
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $13.94 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1970: $1.54

Source: Dennis Oulds / Central Press / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

1969
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $13.31 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1969: $1.44

Source: Courtesy of Embassy Pictures

1968
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $12.73 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1968: $1.33

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Source: 58follow / Wikimedia Commons

1967
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $12.26 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1967: $1.22

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1966
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $11.96 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1966: $1.13

Source: Bsheridan1959 / Getty Images

1965
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $11.66 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1965: $1.04

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

1964
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $11.49 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1964: 95 cents

Source: Joe Haupt / Flickr

1963
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $11.33 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1963: 86 cents

Source: Photo By Getty Images

1962
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $11.20 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1962: 82 cents

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Source: ABC Television / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1961
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $11.07 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1961: 78 cents

Source: New York Public Library / Wikimedia Commons

1960
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $10.95 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1960: 75 cents

Source: seb_ra / Getty Images

1959
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $10.77 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1959: 71 cents

Source: Chris Ware / Getty Images

1958
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $10.62 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1958: 68 cents

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Source: Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images

1957
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $10.37 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1957: 63 cents

Source: The Library of Virginia from USA / Wikimedia Commons

1956
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $10.07 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1956: 58 cents

Source: Amanda / Wikimedia Commons

1955
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $9.87 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1955: 53 cents

Source: MonicaNinker / Getty Images

1954
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $9.83 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1954: 49 cents

Source: juliannafunk / Getty Images

1953
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $9.75 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1953: 46 cents

Source: neirfy / Getty Images

1952
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $9.62 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1952: 44 cents

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Source: pictore / Getty Images

1951
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $9.42 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1951: 42 cents

Source: Al Barry / Getty Images

1950
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $8.82 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1950: 40 cents

Source: Photo by Chris Ware / Keystone Features / Getty Images

1949
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $8.72 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1949: 38 cents

Source: Internet Archive Book Images / Flickr

1948
> Avg. cost of Valentine’s Day: $8.79 per couple
> Avg. cost of a movie ticket in 1948: 36 cents