With typical expenditure projected to increase over 8 percent to almost $200, the Toronto Sun anticipates romantics will be spending more this year to purchase gift cards, flowers, and chocolates on Valentine’s Day. And together with these increasing costs, four million people in the US are likely to ask someone to marry them or be proposed to on 14 Feb. About half of the consumers that were surveyed plan to buy Valentine’s Day gifts this year, and 46 percent plan to eat at their favorite restaurant to commemorate the holiday.

Business Wire reports that Sonali Chakravorti, Vice President at American Express, said, “Whether people are planning to get engaged, or just celebrate the holiday with flowers and a night out, consumers are telling us they can open their wallets a little wider for Valentine’s Day.”

Consumer spending is positive, while foreclosures and job losses persist across the country. It raises conjecture about whether some people are recovering from the crash or they just don’t care any longer.

You can still be a savvy shopper and stick to your spending plan, in spite of the hype surrounding the holiday. Use your budget manager to help you plan, even as you comparison shop for the best deals or you use your mobile smartphone or other browsing devices to research products online before making a Valentine’s Day purchase.

If you’re using a budget planner, and it’s showing you that you have to keep spending down for Valentine’s Day, you can get creative and make a gift. For example, you can create a calendar with photos of the special times you’ve shared. If your significant other likes to read, why not present him or her with a used copy of one of the classics? On the inside cover, write a note explaining why you chose that particular book.

There are ways to go out without spending a small fortune if you believe that a romantic meal is an essential element of celebrating Valentine’s Day. See if there is a cheap deal to be had in your home district: search for coupons with special offers on meals. You may have felt a sense of shame only a few years ago presenting a coupon for a discount while having dinner with your sweetheart, but odds are you’ll both be happy to save some money in the present economic climate so he or she probably won’t mind.

Another way to keep your financial budgeting intact and save at restaurants this Valentine’s day is to forego the wine. Restaurant wines carry as much as 300 percent markup over its store-bought equivalent. Save yourself some money and drink water with your meal. You shouldn’t be drinking and driving anyway – so save the wine for when you get home.

Do you have any other ideas on how you can save money this Valentine’s Day? Be sure to leave a comment and share your ideas with us.