Will you be my Valentine? I'm tickling my kid while trying to explain why stores are filled with hearts, candy, naked angles, and her favourite -- a giant pink plush bear. The darn thing is adorable.

For a five-year-old girl the explosion of every shade of pink is a pure delight. But for those looking to shower their sweetie without exploding their credit card into the red, February 14th can leave lovers feeling a little less than tickled pink.

A recent study by the National Retail Federation found only 55% of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day, but those who do spend an average of $147. In total, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to hit around $19-billion this year.

If you're lookin' for love with an eye on your finances, take a few of these tips down to Lover's Lane -- I won't tell how much you saved. Smooch.

1. Something Savoury

Restaurants are notorious for being packed and kinda costly on February 14th. Flexible friends with benefits can opt to dine with less hoopla and expense on February 13th or 15th. But those with a flair for fun and a love of cooking should go ahead the buy those special splurge-worthy ingredients (for me that's steak and seafood) and serve up a main dish worthy of your dish. Lighting a few gorgeous candles along with tasting a savoury home-cooked meal is a very romantic way to spend any evening.

2. Something Sweet

If eating chocolate was cardio I'd be the Olympic champion of Valentine's Day. Whether it's mint, milk, or dark, I'm all about heart-shaped boxes, candies, and confection. The frugal will use Flipp to shop the early sales. The sneaky will stock up on the sweet stuff on the 15th, when everything goes on sale for around 50% off. Just make sure your sweetie doesn't mind a little sugar a day late. Yum.

3. Something Naughty

I want to keep this PG so I'll just say that getting fit for a new bra is an awesome Valentine's gift to give yourself. Many lingerie boutiques and department stores offer custom fittings, and wearing a bra that fits to a T is the perfect lift every gal needs when wearing a tee. The truth is many women wear the wrong size bra. I was, and then I treated myself to a proper fitting. Phew.

4. Something Nice

Got a friend who needs a hug? I do. Gift cards, greeting cards, spa days, and coffee dates can be a thoughtful way to spend a few bucks with a gal-pal or good friend who needs to chat. Being there for a BFF is free, and lending an ear while picking up the tab is an easy way to show the love for someone important in your life.

5. Something for the Kids

Kindergarten kids give Valentine's Day cards? Yes! Sharing pocket-sized cards boasting Care Bears, My Little Pony, Paw Patrol, and even Star Wars is a fun and frugal way to get kids into sharing and exchanging. By buying a few fun themes for my daughter's class, I'm hoping to distract her from that giant pink plush bear. Hey, gotta keep the finances real!


Kerry K. Taylor is a consumer expert at Squawkfox.com.