Feeling the financial squeeze of Valentine's Day? - InfoNews

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Feeling the financial squeeze of Valentine's Day?

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February 09, 2017 - 2:30 PM

KELOWNA - Thanks to an age-old economic principle, being in love at this time of the year is hard on the pocketbook, according to an assistant professor of economics at UBC Okanagan.

Ross Hickey says supply and demand is behind soaring prices on classic Valentine's Day gifts. Retailers can charge more for flowers and chocolates because the consumer demand is so high.

Beyond the gestures and the sweet nothings, Valentine's Day has a huge economic impact on Canadians and that is the focus of Hickey's research, outlined in a UBCO media release.

Flowers, jewellery, gifts and outings add up fast. According to the release, shoppers will spend $190 on jewellery, $76 on event tickets, $61 on lingerie, $40 on flowers and $18 on chocolate or candy.

A survey by RetailMeNot.ca says the average Canadian is planning on spending $164 on Valentine's Day this year.

Hickey says the holiday comes along with plenty of gift-giving pressure, especially for new couples. Expectations can be hard to predict and not meeting them can have disastrous results for the relationship.

Amidst the pressure and expectations, Hickey says couples should invest in something that their significant other really enjoys. Those items or services may not increase in price because of the holiday.

"People are looking for gestures of affection. It’s the time of year when you signal to your partner that you know what his or her preferences are," Hickey says. "Most importantly, don’t overthink it. In my experience, matters of the heart are best evaluated without an economists’ lens."

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