Some couples cutting back on fancy dinner and gifts

McKenzie Griffin and Dustin Wallis aren

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McKenzie Griffin, 27, and her fiancé Dustin Wallis, 33, aren’t dining out on Valentine’s Day.

Instead, they’re saving to spend money on events that really matter to them and their families. They’re planning a $20,000 destination wedding later this year.

“We don’t like the jacked-up prices, the long wait times or the crazy crowds,” Griffin said about Valentine’s Day dinners. “If anything, we tend to stay home, order pizza and watch a movie. That’s our favorite type of date.” 

She’s not the only person who feels that way.

For many couples, going out on Feb. 14 gets complicated well before the date arrives.

More than 30% of Americans dine out on the holiday, according to OpenTable, which means reservations can be hard to come by. Restaurants often charge more than usual for special occasion Prix fixe menus. And even when you don’t go out, there’s often pressure to splurge on gifts, maybe go on a trip or surprise a spouse with a novel activity. 

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McKenzie Griffin and Dustin Wallis aren't going out on Valentine's Day, partly because they have a wedding coming up.

“Valentine’s Day is notoriously known as the most romantic day of the year,” dating expert Julie Spira said. “There is pressure to spend. It’s hard when you’re on the social media sites and you see this one got gorgeous roses, this one got engaged, this one has got a diamond ring.”

However, couples with future big purchases in mind are opting out. 

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