| NEW YORK
NEW YORK When it comes to romantic screwups, missing Valentine's Day is about as bad as it gets. But what if you miss it on purpose?
Kathryn Hauer does that every single year. Married to her husband for 33 years, she is not hung up on the actual date. Feb. 14 may come and go, but the post-holiday bargains are just too good to pass up.
"For us, it’s fiscally smart," said the Aiken, South Carolina, financial planner. "As a gal who loves the after-holiday sales, I’m all for scooping up deals for my husband."
Plenty of other people are following suit, according to a new survey by financial comparison site Finder.com. Almost two in five Americans, or 39 percent, have celebrated their love after Valentine's Day.
What markups are they avoiding?
Americans are slated to spend $2 billion on flowers this Valentine's Day, according to the National Retail Federation, with 35 percent of us ponying up for a bouquet.
Florists themselves pay more for stems during the mad scramble, and they pass the higher prices on to consumers.
Hotel rooms cost an average of 25 percent more on Valentine's Day than the same day a week prior, according to a study by travel site Hipmunk.com. In popular spots like New York City, rates are more like 70 percent higher.
And when it comes to that romantic dinner for two, 71 percent of Americans plan to go out on Valentine's Day, and 44 percent order pricier menu selections than they normally would, according to a survey by reservation website OpenTable.com. On that day, reservations skyrocket by 520 percent, compared with a more typical day on the calendar.
Younger Americans in particular are more amenable to a delayed Valentine's Day, according to the Finder.com survey. Almost half of millennials (46 percent) have done so, compared with 36 percent of Generation X and 32 percent of baby boomers.
Just beware that a postponed Valentine's Day can be emotionally dangerous territory. A few tips on saving a few dollars while keeping your significant other:
Bring the idea up early
Waiting until Feb. 13 to suggest a delay can seem thoughtless. If you mention the idea relatively early, then you are demonstrating that you are thinking about your partner and are putting some effort into logistics and planning. "Otherwise you could get yourself into some real trouble," said Fred Schebesta, Finder.com's founder and CEO.
Gauge your partner's reaction
Holidays mean different things to different people. If your partner likes to celebrate on Valentine's Day itself, then drop the idea altogether. But if you sense flexibility and interest in saving some money, then bring up the option and offer veto power over it.
Take the length of the relationship into account
"The newer the relationship, the less tolerance there is to celebrate love the day after," advises Angel Melgoza, a financial planner in McAllen, Texas.
If you have been together for a long time, though, you may have more leeway to try something a little different.
Make it a bigger celebration
One way to sweeten the pot for a late Valentine's Day: Instead of a muted midweek celebration (this year the holiday falls on a Tuesday), you can wait for a weekend.
"If they just want to be treated more special than usual," said financial planner Jon Powell of Rockville, Maryland, "make the case to delay your plans and have a bigger weekend together when prices are more reasonable."
(Editing by Beth Pinsker and Lisa Von Ahn)