It's about love, but it's also about business: The average American will spend $146.84 on Valentine's Day flowers, jewels, candy and other wares — up from $142.31 last year, according to the National Retail Federation. That's $19.7 billion in V-day spending. And it doesn't include dinner. So what will you pay this year?
The most expensive Valentine's bouquet on Janousek Florist's website is the "Breathtaking Beauty" — three dozen roses starting at $259.99. That wasn't big enough for one lover this year, who went off-menu to order 100 roses, "which was crazy," shop owner Eric Janousek said. "It was hard to put it all in one vase." He said the arrangement was more than $400. A rose in any other quantity is still a rose. Pop one in a bud vase for 10 bucks, Janousek said. The price of indoor flowers and plants is up 1.7 percent this year versus last year, according to federal statistics.
How big is your heart? The biggest at Chocolaterie Stam in Papillion is $67.95, for about 2 pounds of your choice of candy wrapped in a hand-tied bow.
"It's a classic because of the shape, the heart and the love," shop owner Suzi Bonnett said.
See's Candy at Nebraska Furniture Mart has heart-shaped boxes from $7.75 to $26, or for those not so sweet on Valentine's Day, sacks of sour hearts and hot hearts for $6.75.
Nationally, the price of candy was up 2.9 percent in 2015 from the previous year, according to a candymakers association.
Lingerie is a tricky gift, so Karey Straube recommends a chemise (a flimsy nightie) or a robe. Givers don't have to know the recipient's exact size, and "If you just started a relationship, it's not too risque," said Straube, owner of west Omaha boutique Nearly Naked.
A silk robe can be pricey — $300 and up — so you could also go for an introductory "nice pair of underwear" starting around $15.
The hottest seller at Lindley Clothing is Saxx brand boxer briefs at $31.95 a pair. The brand boasts mesh panels and an "ergonomic front pouch." Lindley has them in Valentine's colors.
Kids cramping your style? Bargain child care options include the YMCA of Greater Omaha's Valentine's Night Out tonight at its Southwest location, at $15 per child for five hours. BounceU in Millard offers a similar event Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. for $22 for the first kid, $16 for a sibling.
Go with a sitter, and you may pay a higher holiday rate. SeekingSitters matching service will charge its holiday rate Sunday starting at $23.50 an hour. That could be worth it, if you want the little darlings all tucked in bed when you get home.
The Hilton Omaha has a deluxe 1,050-squarefoot, two-room suite listed for $435 on Valentine's night. There's a living room and a separate bedroom. Pay $455 and it includes breakfast. On a budget? The Econo Inn downtown had rooms listed late Friday for $59 a night on travel websites.
The Hotels.com Hotel Price Index showed average hotel prices across the U.S. rose by 2 percent compared to the previous year, in its most recent survey.
Sure, you could get a pair of diamond earrings for $20, but, "You're going to have to look awful hard to find the diamonds," west Omaha jeweler Bob Malashock said. Realistically, a pair starts at about $250, and goes up to about $10,000 at his shop, for "a carat in each ear."
Why do diamond earrings endure? They never go out of fashion and are a cinch to buy. "A fella can come in ... and not worry about, gee, is she going to like it or not," Malashock said.
The price of jewelry is down about 1 percent from last year, according to Bankrate, because of the falling price of raw silver and gold.
It will cost less to imbibe this year. The cost of wine consumed at home fell about 1 percent from last year, according to federal statistics. A bottle of champers will set you back $51.54, on average, according to Bankrate's compilation of U.S. prices. Phil's Foodway on 31st and Ames is offering five bottles of Boone's Farm for $10, according to its weekly circular. Gerry Bowman, who oversees grocery, wine and spirits at Omaha World Market, recommends a Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages, a French red blend his store sells for $11.99. On the higher end, a Belle Glos from Clark & Telephone for $59.99.
If you don't already have reservations, it might be hard to get into your favorite restaurant, so it's smart to call ahead. If you're on a budget, pizza parlors around town are making heartshaped pizzas. One at Godfather's is $10.99. Want to go high end? Crave, at Midtown Crossing, has a Valentine's special running all weekend, an $89 prix fixe dinner for two that includes two appetizers, two entrees and a dessert to share. The average cost of dinner out is up 2.3 percent this year, according to research from NPD group.
On the most romantic of days, one hopes you won't need it, but if so, a budget divorce package on Legalzoom.com is $299 — plus any extra state fees. Before going that far, there's always marriage counseling; perhaps Valentine's Day will be just what's needed to spur a conversation. Many therapists have free consultations. Find extensive local listings at therapists.psychologytoday.com.