Why Your Valentine’s Day Bill Is Going to Be Higher This Year

February 14, 2018, 4:55 PM UTC

Love is patient, love is kind. Love is also expensive, and it’s getting pricier.

Dinners away from home, wine at a restaurant and tickets for shows all cost more last month than they did a year earlier — and their prices rose slightly faster than the 2.1 percent increase in inflation overall, according to U.S. Labor Department data released Wednesday, on Valentine’s Day.

Those aren’t the only romantic gestures for which prices are nudging higher. A box of chocolates will run you 1 percent more than a year ago, if the candy index is representative, and if you and your sweetheart pop a bottle at home, it’s going to be slightly more expensive than it was in 2017.

To be fair, prices almost always climb over the year, and it would be bad news if they didn’t. Inflation enables companies to raise wages — it lets them pass some costs along to shoppers — and it gives the Federal Reserve a cushion against price deflation, which can spiral out of control. In fact, the Fed may feel heartened by this report overall, which suggests price gains are progressing toward their 2 percent goal in a sustainable way.

And there are silver linings in here for the lovebirds. Jewelry is getting cheaper, which bodes well for engagement bling. But if you’re proposing this Feb. 14, be aware that photographer fees have climbed 0.2 percent over the past year, so capturing the moment you hit one knee will cost you just a little bit more.