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7 On Your Side: Valentine's Day doesn't have to break the bank

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The National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend nearly $20 billion before Valentine's weekend is over.

The National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend nearly $20 billion before Valentine's weekend is over.

But love doesn't have to be expensive.

Marcy Roth and Galen Babby of Sonoma County have been dating for just five months. The pressures to come up with the perfect valentine's date can be intimidating.

"Valentine's Day is always a hard holiday for men," said .Babby.

Janet Fjeldstad is a relationships expert and calls herself a Valentine's coach. She says new couples may be internalizing all kinds of questions.

Couples often ponder: "Do we do something for Valentine's Day? What if I don't know if I'm in love with you yet." Adding to the pressure is the cost of going out on a date.

The average man spends $142 on a Valentine's Date, twice as much as women. For Bay Area couples, the cost is even higher.

Ludwig Chincarini is with the School of Management at the University of San Francisco.

"In terms of going out to dinner, the prices in San Francisco have gone up by four and a half percent," said Chincarini.

He says dinner for two with a bottle of wine averages $103 in the city. A night at the theater is $219. And a night stay in a hotel is $397.

Seven On Your Side challenged Roth and Babby to find romance without breaking the bank.

The two are fans of the television show Downton Abbey, so the two decided to go on a Downton Abbey themed early Valentine's date.

It began at a store in Petaluma named Chick A Boom Vintage.

The couple enjoyed playing dress up and imagining themselves in the various pieces of clothing.

Their date continued at Tudor Rose Tea Room in Santa Rosa. It was a perfect and inexpensive early Valentine's Day treat.

"Whatever we do, just being together makes me so happy," said Roth.

The total cost of their date was $30.

Making a plan with your partner can also make the day more meaningful. Think fun and be creativity, which doesn't necessarily have to be something costly.
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society7 On Your Sideconsumerconsumer concernsfoodrelationshipsvalentine's daydatingentertainmentbay areau.s. & worldSan Francisco
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