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Valentine’s Day: Canadians shell out to show love

Yasmin Jaswal
Pay Day

Canadians are willing to shell out big bucks to feel the love on Valentine’s Day, according to the results of a new survey from eBay Canada.

Engagement rings and loose diamonds were the most popular purchases across all provinces, with overall sales rising 21 per cent compared to last year, says the release, which analyzed the online and mobile purchases of thousands of Canadians leading up to Feb. 14.

“Some lucky person is getting two seven-karat loose cut diamonds for a total of $28,000,” says Andrea Stairs, country manager for eBay Canada.

Saskatchewan is the province that hopes to hear the most “I dos” this year, buying 55 per cent more engagement rings and diamonds than last year. Quebec’s engagement ring sales also increased by 49 per cent. Newfoundland residents shied away from commitment, purchasing 40 per cent fewer rings compared to last year.

Another popular choice for Valentine's Day: lingerie, although sales did decline 59 per cent compared to the previous year, the release showed.

“Ontario seems to be the bra capital of Canada, whereas Quebec seems to be responsible for all the panty sales,” says Stairs.

Ontario bought 36 per cent more bras than any other province, while Quebec bought twice as much underwear compared to other provinces.

Watches and jewellery; another popular go-to gift choice, especially in Ontario. Canada's largest province spent 26 per cent more than the rest of the country on these items.

Money talks ... especially in relationships

This year, the average Canadian household is expected to spend $37 on gifts for the special someone in their lives, according to a separate Valentine's Day release from the Retail Council of Canada. A far cry from what our neighbours to the south are shelling out. The average man will spend $160 on Valentine's Day gifts for his significant other in the U.S., according to Investopedia.

Of course, how much a person chooses to spend depends on a lot of different factors, and you could end up spending less, or much more. Eighty-six per cent of respondents said their significant other spent just the right amount on their gifts last year, says the Retail Council of Canada survey.

But you don’t have to purchase $28,000 worth of diamonds to show you care. Here are a few suggestions on how to create a romantic Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank:

Make your card
Thinking of picking up a greeting card for your loved one? Rather than spending $5 or more on a store-bought card, write your own. You can show off your creative side, save some money, and it will be more personal than what you’d find in a store.

Have a romantic dinner at home
If you were planning on taking your loved one out to eat, consider making your own romantic dinner at home. You’ll still be spending more than usual on a fancier meal, but it will no doubt be cheaper than a restaurant.

Put in extra work
Does your better half hate chores? Show them you love them by doing their share of housework for them. They’ll appreciate the extra time to relax, and you won’t have to spend any cash.

Make an photo album
A picture is worth a thousand words, meaning a photo album of your favourite memories together gives you a lot of chances to say “I love you.” It’s artsy, inexpensive and guaranteed to delight.

Celebrate on a different date
Why not try Feb. 15 when everything related to Valentine’s Day goes on sale? This year, Valentine’s falls on a Thursday. Shower your significant other with love on Friday, take advantage of the discounted chocolate and celebrate your love along with the end of the work week.