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Survey Says Men Expect Women to Spend Big Bucks on Valentine's Day

It’s even more than women expect men to shell out.

Valentine's Day is now only a week away, and if you haven't gotten your partner a great gift yet, you'd better do it soon. Consumer financial services company recently surveyed over 1,000 people and found that your S.O. might have higher expectations for the big day than you might think.

Women are only planning on spending around $50 on their partners, whereas men are setting over $300 aside for a night of romance. But what might surprise you is how big the gap is between what women and men are expecting their partners to spend. While women only expect their partners to spend $154 on them, men are expecting their partners to spend $211. (Note: The study did not specify what men want their partners to spend that money on.)

Some would say that represents a real cultural shift in the gender gap for V-Day, especially for heterosexual couples, given that men are traditionally expected to shower their S.O.'s with grand gestures and get nothing in return other than a kiss on the cheek and a promise not to file for divorce this year.

Granted, things haven't changed that much, given that men still seem to feel that the financial onus is largely on them.

"At the cultural level, we talk a lot about men being valued for their wallet and the size of their paycheck," Dr. Andrew Smiler, a psychologist who specializes in masculinity, told "So the idea that they express their love through their wallet and their purchasing power—it's kind of what we're told by society to do… Women [also] have additional expenses that men don't have. [Men] aren't expected to spend as much on a wardrobe or on cosmetics as a woman is. All of that eats into available income."

The study also found that the real big spenders, in terms of age group, are Younger Millennials (those aged 23-29), with 15 percent of them saying they plan to spend $500 or more (!!) on their S.O.

"They are the generation most likely to spend the most," Kelly Anne Smith, a personal finance reporter at, told CNBC. "It makes a lot of sense: That generation is tapped into social media, which influences consumer spending."

But Generation Xers aren't stiffing the bill either, as the survey found that they plan on spending an average of $268 on that special someone. Baby Boomers, however, are only planning on shelling out around $150, which is just slightly more than Older Millennials (those aged 30 to 38), who seem to be the stingiest of the age groups.

The survey corroborates with a recent report by The National Retail Federation, which found that while fewer and fewer people are actually celebrating Valentine's Day with every passing year, those that do are going pretty hard.

"The vast majority of Valentine's Day dollars are still spent on significant others, but there's a big increase this year in consumers spreading the love to children, parents, friends, and coworkers," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Those who are participating are spending more than ever and that could be the result of the strong economy. With employment and income growing, consumers appear to be expanding the scope of who qualifies for a card or a box of candy."

Regardless of how much you plan to shell out, it's helpful to be reminded that Valentine's Day is all about doing something thoughtful that shows the person you love how much they mean to you and how well you know them. So, if you've got the money and know your partner wants to do something Insta-worthy, then by all means, live it up! But he or she may just as well enjoy a quiet evening of Netflix and wine at home, with a few candles to set the mood. And to ensure you don't end up in the doghouse, stay clear of these 15 Valentine's Day Gifts That Are Guaranteed to Backfire.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more