As February approaches, the general public's attention turns to the month's main event. And although you'd be forgiven for immediately thinking 'Pancake Day', for those in relationships, it should really be Valentine's - that one day each year that we set aside to make sure our partners feel appreciated.
It's unfortunate that the 14th February always seems to arrive so soon after Christmas, however - especially when the country's collective purse has taken a walloping thanks to the January sales splurge. Financial strain, combined with the pressure of finding the perfect gift for your partner, can often take some of the shine off Valentine's - but just how much of our hard-earned cash should we earmark for our V-Day budget?
According to a recent survey of UK-based men and women carried out by online retailer isme.com, your partner may actually be spending a lot more (or a lot less, if you're a man!) than you originally thought. Surprisingly, nearly half of the women questioned were looking to spend just £15 or less on a Valentine's Day gift, compared to around a quarter of men. Blokes were far more likely than women to pay up to £50 for a present, and nearly 1 in 10 were willing to splash out over £100.
Of course, a hefty present budget doesn't necessarily mean a good present, and a meaningful expression of love isn't limited to the big spenders. In fact, there are loads of great value Valentine's Day gift ideas out there for those who take the time to look. One money-saving idea may be to stick to one key present rather than spreading your budget across a number of items, like the traditional card, bouquet of flowers and box of chocolates. This advice may be especially useful for the men, given that almost half of women said they would prefer an item of jewellery over anything else!
And even if you do blow your budget on a present for your other half, this doesn't mean that you can't still have the perfect Valentine's Day date together. There's no need to stretch to paying for a meal at a swanky restaurant, as over a third of men and women surveyed said that a cosy homemade meal would be their perfect way to spend the evening.
Whatever your budget for Valentine's Day, perhaps it's best to remember the old Beatles lyric: 'money can't buy me love'. In the end, there's no better present than letting your loved one know exactly how much they mean to you.