Today is Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine. The day was first associated with love and all things romantic in the Middle Ages. It eventually evolved into an occasion where lovers expressed their love for each other by giving flowers, sweets or a small personal note expressing affection. Which leads us to today.
What started as an innocent day to do something special for the one you love has turned into a moneymaking event, by retailers and the government alike. The National Retail Federation estimates that consumer spending on Valentine’s Day this year will hit $17.3 billion. Although, that was before the massive snowstorm hit the east coast and cancelled many flower deliveries and dinner reservations.
One might think wine, chocolates, and dining out have always been expensive things, but a silent third party – the government, continuously drives up the price. Take a look at this breakdown of the main purchases made during the Valentine’s holiday from Americans for Tax Reform.
Roses & a Valentine: A must have. An estimated 233 million roses are grown for Valentine’s Day, and consumers will spend $1.9 billion on flowers. Cards will accompany the flowers: 145 million Valentine’s cards will be purchased for the occasion. The government will cash in $1.1 billion off the flowers and cards
Dinner: For three? $3.5 billion is spent dining out on Valentine’s Day, but 31% of the cost of the bill comes from government taxes.
Wine: If you’ve been saving a nice bottle of wine for the occasion, be sure to savor it- – 33% of this purchase is due to government costs.
Chocolate: Consumers will spend nearly $1.3 billion on chocolate. Of this, 31% will be paid to the government. Your dessert just got a little less sweet.
Jewelry: In 2013,6 million people expected or planned a marriage proposal on Valentine’s Day. This year, it is projected that $3.9 billion will be spent on diamonds, gold, and silver. The government drives of the price of your most important purchase, making up 36% of the cost, so choose wisely.
Cell Phones: If you’re in a long-distance relationship and can’t travel to see your sweetheart, hopefully you’ll still be able to give them a call. You might want to keep it short and sweet: Uncle Sam will be on the line as well, and he’ll be responsible for 40% of the cost of your bill.
Long Distance: Making a surprise visit to your long-distance loved one? Whether you’re driving or flying, you won’t be alone. 45% of the cost of gasoline is the result of government taxation, while other taxes and fees account for 44% of the cost of airfare.