Millennials overspend on Valentine’s Day compared to Gen X, Baby Boomers

Newer and younger relationships tend to cause higher spending for the holiday

Millennials between the ages of 24 and 39 are most likely to overspend on Valentine’s Day than those who are from older generations, according to research from personal finance resource Bankrate.

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This young adult group spends $208 on average for holiday romance, including gifts, dining and entertainment. Gen X, on the other hand, between the ages of 40 and 55 spend $160 on average while Baby Boomers between the ages of 56 and 74 spend $101.

These varying amounts bring up the average cost to $152, which is said to represent Valentine’s Day spending for a “typical adult” in a relationship.

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Seventy-five percent of Millennials plan on participating in Valentine’s Day festivities. Sixty-seven percent of Gen X reported the same, though, Baby Boomers have them beat by a slight margin at 68 percent. Overall, 70 percent of U.S. adults will celebrate the day of love with a significant other.

“Millennials are likely to be in newer relationships and may feel the need to impress their partner,” said Bankrate analyst Sarah Foster about the findings. “Social media also has a prominent presence in this age group's life, meaning they could feel pressure to keep up with the latest fads or impress their following.”

“However, you should never bust your budget for any single holiday or Instagram post,” Foster added. “Your spouse or partner will likely be more impressed with the sentiment behind the gift or experience, rather than how much it costs.”

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Millennials aren’t just more likely to spend large sums on their sweetheart, it’s also expected from their partner. In fact, a whopping 64 percent told Bankrate that they expect their spouse or partner to spend money on Valentine’s Day.

Fifty-two percent of Gen X echoed the same response as did 54 percent of Baby Boomers. Across the three combined generations, 57 percent of respondents said they expect their Valentine’s Day date to spend money.

When it comes down to how much they expect their significant other to spend, Millennials said they anticipate around $153 while Gen X anticipates around $93 and Baby Boomers anticipate $55.

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Not so surprisingly, the study found that Valentine’s Day spending wanes for couples who have been in longer-lasting relationships.

Sixty-five percent of couples who have been together for 10 years or more expect to participate in Valentine’s Day festivities. However, 79 percent of couples who haven’t reached that 10-year mark expect to participate in the holiday – which may signal excitement or pressure to prove love.

Fifty-one percent of those 10-plus year couples expect their partner to spend money on Feb. 14 whereas around 66 percent of couples who have been together for a fraction of that time expect the same.

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Valentine’s Day gifts are a big part of the holiday and industry overall. For this reason, 56 percent of participants have no predetermined spending limits. Only 10 percent said they stick to an agreed-upon gift budget while another 19 percent agree to a gift budget but occasionally go over the predetermined amount.

The remaining 15 percent do not engage in gift-giving at all with their spouse or partner.

Bankrate’s study also looked into the satisfaction of gift recipients. It turns out that six percent have been disappointed about receiving a “cheap” gift while 15 percent have been disappointed about gifts that weren’t thoughtful enough. Another 16 percent cited disappointment for other unnamed reasons.

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Eight percent admitted they have gotten upset at their significant other over an expensive Valentine’s Day purchase.

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