Valentine's Day pain in the pocketbook: 2017 vs. 1981

It's Valentine’s Day again: a truly horrible holiday to endure if you're single…but it's a lot easier on your pocketbook that way.
If you do have somebody in your life to impress, the flowers, the candy, the food, the drinks, the gifts – it’s all a pretty big deal.
"Controlled chaos today is what we're dealing with.  But we are very organized," said Cliff Martinez, co-owner of Ben White Florist.

Martinez says Valentine’s Day is the Super Bowl for flower shops.  They committed to 250 deliveries ahead of time but Martinez says most of their business comes from walk-ins.

"Oh definitely, more people than we do deliveries.  A lot more," he said.  "People are looking for something.  They want to run in, grab something that's special."

In the FOX 7 Austin "Video Vault" we found an old story from 1981 about how much money "date night" cost compared to a decade earlier in 1971. 

In 1981 a romantic dinner for two had increased from about $20 in 1971 to a shocking $40, minus drinks. 

"35 years later we're looking at around $96 getting a normal meal between a couple on Valentine's Day so a big difference in price, more than double," said financial expert Val Majewski with American Benefits Exchange.

The vintage news clip also balked at steep movie ticket prices: $5 a piece!  And gas prices which actually aren't all that different now.  Ultimately in 1981 you could take your date out for about $99.65.

Majewski says the average couple in 2017 spends $150 on Valentine's Day but if you do more than just dinner that's a much bigger price tag than it was back then.

"These things could be north of $500 total when we're talking about dinner, champagne, candy, roses, a gift, movies," he said.

But for some Austin-area couples ready to settle down, their Valentine's Day gifts to each other didn't cost a dime.

Travis County Judge John Lipscombe and his wife Judge Jan Breland have been marrying couples for free on Valentine's Day for nearly 30 years.

"This is the best part of my job.  Because everybody's happy.  Usually one side or the other isn't that happy.  But when you marry somebody, everybody's happy," Lipscombe said.

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