Cupid Gets Pinched by Economy

These tough economic times have hit Cupid hard too.

According to a nationwide survey on Valentines’ Day spending conducted by Citi, Americans plan to spend the same amount on their loved ones this year compared to last year, which amounts to men spending an average of $136 and women spending $85.

Still nervous over the economy, 45% of poll participants plan to spend the same this holiday compared to 2010, with 16% hoping to spend even less.

Say goodbye to the hackneyed gifts of teddy bears and roses. The survey found that couples are looking to splurge on dinner, with 46% of those surveyed planning to dine out.  But men can breathe easy; the poll found that 61% of female diners feel comfortable splitting the check.

Gift giving extends beyond significant others for the love holiday. In an analysis of 2010 Valentine’s Day spending, the National Retail Federation found that Americans shelled out additional funds for other important people in their lives, spending approximately $20 on other family members, $3 on coworkers and even a couple of dollars for their furry friends—an average of $3.27 on pets.

Americans’ thrifty spending habits will extend beyond Feb. 14, the NRF survey reveals. More than half of the participants report recently cooking their own food rather than dining out, and 32% of respondents now bring their lunch to work more frequently.  The survey also showed 41% of respondents are utilizing coupons more often, and carpooling has emerged as a trend among 35%.