Thanks to Valentine's Day, small retailers can expect to score big sales this year. Americans are expected to spend a record  $19.7 billion on the holiday, according to the National Retail Federation.

Of note, as many as 15 percent of customers say they plan to shop at a local small business, as opposed to at a national outlet. 

Lovers and family members nationwide will shell out an average of $146 (per person) on items like candy, jewelry, apparel and greeting cards. In keeping with the trend of valuing experiences over physical things, the data predicts that $4.5 billion will be spent on shows and restaurants.

It's not too surprising that amorous spending is on the rise, especially as the national economy is making a sluggish yet steady recovery.

"Valentine's Day spending and the economy in the U.S. appear to move in the same direction," notes Shailendra P. Jain, a professor of marketing at the Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. "To that extent, the spending trend may be directly proportional to consumer confidence and the overall health of the economy." 

Still, there are certain cities where love can be bought at a much cheaper rate than the rest, as new data from WalletHub suggests. The personal finance website measured 100 major U.S. cities across 15 metrics--including the cost of gifts, or the number of jewelry stores per capita--weighed against the median household income of the city.

Source: WalletHub


From the tip of Silicon Valley down to Orlando, Fl., these are the best cities for celebrating your love without breaking the bank: 

1. San Francisco, Calif.

The California metropolis ranked high for "gift accessibility," which included factors such as jewelry stores and florists per capita. It's also one of the best cities for finding quality entertainment. Still, the San Francisco weather forecast is significantly gloomier than that of the No. 2 city, which is Scottsdale, Arizona -- so would-be picnickers, beware. 

2. Scottsdale, Ariz.

The sunny urban center also ranked high for gift accessibility. The overall budget required to shop in Scottsdale -- considering factors like the average price of a Valentine's Day party ticket, or the cost of dining out -- is among the cheapest in the nation.

3. Honolulu, Hawaii

The capital city of Hawaii, which is situated on the south shore of Oahu, is one of the best cities in the country for buying experiences-as-gifts. It has the fifth-lowest average price of a party ticket, for instance.

4.  Orlando, Fla.

This city is home to more than a dozen theme parks, including Walt Disney World and Epcot, so it's not surprising that it ranks No. 1 for activities. Orlando's comparatively high prices, however, drag it down to No. 4 on the list. 

5. Seattle, Wash.

The ever-rainy capital city of Washington has a pretty shoddy weather forecast, but it's a top location for finding gifts and activities, the study found.

6. Las Vegas, Nev.

The Northwestern resort town may be expensive, but it makes up for those price tags with a plethora of Valentine's Day activity options. 

7. Portland, Oreg.

The largest city in Oregon ranked No. 7 for Valentine's Day spending. Unsurprisingly, though, its weather forecast is just barely better than Seattle's. 

8. Irvine, Calif.

This Southern California city is a surprisingly cost-effective place to fall in love. It has the No. 1 cheapest budget for Valentine's Day, with the lowest restaurant costs of any city nationwide, according to WalletHub.

9. Chandler, Ariz.

It's slated to be a sunny day come Feb. 14 in Chandler, which ranks especially high for weather and overall budget. There are fewer attractions per capita, however, than in locations such as San Francisco, Calif. or Las Vegas, Nev., making it a less popular city to celebrate Valentine's Day.  

10. Pittsburgh, Pa.

The second-largest city in Pennsylvania, and the only east coast hub to make the WalletHub top 10, ranks considerably high for gifts and activities. Unfortunately, those goods generally come with a more expensive price tag; Pittsburgh has the second-worst budget rank of the top cities.

The fact that Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday this year may be a boon for business owners. 

"This may actually create revenue opportunities for retailers, florists, couriers, and restaurants in that there is usually less economic activity on Sundays compared to other days of the week," noted Mathew S. Isaac, an assistant professor of marketing at the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University, in the WalletHub report.

"Furthermore, given that consumers may choose to celebrate on Saturday or even on Friday, having the holiday fall on a Sunday essentially allows for the possibility of an entire Valentine's Weekend rather than just a single Valentine's Day," he added.

Published on: Feb 8, 2016