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This Week in Your Wallet: Will you be my Valentine? That’ll be $200, please.

Did Cupid raise the rates or something? Apparently you’re setting some high spending expectations for your Valentine (and vice versa) this year. At least that’s what the Chase Blueprint Valentine’s Day Survey forecasts. According to the survey, those of you expecting to receive gifts this year would like an average $210 to be spent on you. But guess what? Neither you nor your honey plan to spend that much money. Most people are planning to spend about half that on the ones they love. Hmmmm. Is disappointment inevitable?

Maybe not.  Gals, if you’re looking for a way to save this Friday, forgo the gift and hit the sheets with your guy.  I’m not being cheeky. According to a RetailMeNot survey, two-thirds of males would rather have sex than receive a gift. Unfortunately, 70% of the women surveyed would rather have an actual gift.  Perhaps a little compromise is in order, or maybe a spending limit can be set. For some further guidance, RetailMeNot has some suggestions and tips for gift giving on a budget this year. Here are a few to get you started:

For more Valentine’s Day research, check out this piece from TIME here.

It’s not your ex

If someone keeps calling your cell phone and hanging up, don’t be too quick to think it’s a nagging ex. It might be a telemarketing scam that can set you back $20. As USA TODAY reports, fraudsters are programming computers to call thousands of cell phones and disconnect after one or two rings. They’re hoping to profit off of your curiosity. Because when you hit the call back button, you’ll be charged $19.95 for an international call, according to the Better Business Bureau.

This recently happened to 45-year-old Brian Kowaleski.  He told the paper that he received a one-ring call just after midnight, making it seem as if it was an emergency. The 268 area code, very similar to a nearby 248 area code, also made Kowaleski do a double take. Even still, he refrained from calling back. His instincts served him well (and possibly saved him money), because the 268 call came from Antigua, an island in the West Indies. Apparently many of the one-ring calls are coming from the Caribbean islands, according to the bureau. The major takeaways: Play it safe and don’t call back numbers you don’t know. Keep an eye on your phone bill if you think you’ve been hit. And if you do call back and hear elevator music, hang up ASAP! They’re tricking you into thinking you’re on hold, when in reality, they’re looking to get an extra $9-per-minute.

The drought might affect your wallet

I wish Mother Nature would spread the wealth by giving some of the snow and rain we’re having here in the Northeast to the West Coast. It’s bad enough that California is in the middle of its worst drought ever. But now consumers across the country may have to pay the price. As CNNMoney reports, these extreme drought conditions could increase produce prices by 10% over the next couple of months. See the full video here.

Get away this President’s Day

Monday is President’s Day, and if you’re looking to celebrate our current Commander in Chief and presidents of the past by taking a little vacation, The Wall Street Journal says your wallet might be in luck. Good news for those sick of shoveling snow: You’ll find great deals on hotels in warm-weather destinations, like Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Watch airfares, though.  Buying them separately can erase your savings. Instead, look for package deals on travel sites like Priceline.com and Expedia.com. Right now there’s an offer that includes round-trip airfare from New York to Orlando, plus two nights at Wyndham Orlando Resort, for $525 a person.

If you’re feeling lucky, you can also stay in Sin City on the cheap. Fancier digs, like The Trump International Hotel, will host you for $213 a night. And, if you’re just looking for a getaway (and don’t require warmth) Washington DC and NYC have some great hotel deals. One place where prices aren’t falling? Ski resorts. They’re high demand, meaning it will cost you a pretty penny to channel your Julia Mancuso and Shaun White. GO USA!

Have a great week,


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