Last year, according to the National Retail Federation, the average person spent just under $135 on Valentine’s Day, with total spending over 17 billion bucks. Wow, those are some BIG numbers. The interesting thing is that most guys wait until the day before V-Day to buy gifts or make dinner plans. The result is spending WAY more money than you should on flowers, dinner, and popular gifts like jewelry, candy, and personalized gadgets.
I’ll admit right up front that my wife and I aren’t big Valentine’s Day people as we realize much of the hoopla is man-made. But I always get her something, take her out for dinner, or do something extra nice for her. I have also realized over the years that with just a little bit of planning and strategy you can easily save a significant chunk of money and still make the day special. Here are some timely tips to get you started in the right direction.
1. Find Deals on Roses
Roses can be darn expensive, especially the week leading up to Valentine’s Day as growers start price gouging as demand goes through the roof.
Your best best for finding bargain roses is to shop locally for the best deals and avoid online florists altogether.
Especially consider warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club, and specialty retailers like Trader Joe’s, where you’ll be able to get a dozen roses for up to 33% cheaper than online florists like 1-800-Flowers.com, FTD.com, and ProFlowers.com.
Also, if you have a problem with your flowers, you can get an easy exchange or refund from a local store where a problem with an online purchase will result in a long customer service call and probably no flowers to give your loved one on the big day.
Another smart tip is to consider roses of a color other than red. A dozen red roses are typically $20 more than yellow, pink, or orange roses.
lso, if you have a few red roses arranged with some less expensive flowers you can save a solid chunk of change as well.
Another tip is to not fall for the “free” vase trick as often you can buy your own vase and get a better deal overall.
If you do decide to order from an online florist, try setting the delivery date to the day before Valentine’s Day as it can be much more affordable.
2. Find a Killer Valentine’s Day Coupon
Keep in mind that Valentine’s Day is a big time of year for many online retailers and they throw out the incentives and coupons to maximize profits.
So be sure to always look for a coupon code when shopping online for gifts like jewelry, flowers, candy and personalized gifts.
Here at Rather-Be-Shopping.com, we have already received great coupons from Harry & David, Red Envelope.com, 1-800-Flowers.com, Shutterfly.com, and Ice Jewelry.com.
You can easily save 15%-25% off your online purchase this year by spending the 45 seconds required to find a coupon code and plugging it into the box when checking out from the retailer’s website.
3. Save Money at Restaurants
Last year, Groupon let me buy a coupon good for $30 off a meal for 2, including drinks, appetizer, and dessert at a very highly regarded restaurant in my town. Look for more of the same this year.
Also, if possible, consider a Valentine’s Day lunch and avoid the crowd and more expensive meal.
Another smart tip is to consider going out to dinner with your honey on the day before (or after) V-Day as you’ll have access to even better coupons and won’t have to fight the crowd to reserve a table.
Many restaurants only have a set menu for Valentine’s Day and it can be more expensive than their regular menu.
4. Use a Discounted Gift Card
Are you aware that you can purchase discounted gift cards for restaurants like Outback Steakhouse, P.F. Chang’s, Red Lobster, Applebee’s, Black Angus, Ruth’s Chris, Longhorn, Macaroni Grill, and Olive Garden to name a few?
We are talking pretty significant savings up to 25% off. My favorite website for buying discounted restaurant gift cards is Raise.com.
For example, right now on their site you can buy a $25 Outback Steakhouse gift card for $21.50. You can also buy a $50 Red Lobster gift card for just under $44 with free delivery.
Also a $75 Black Angus Steakhouse card for $64.50 with free delivery caught my eye. The savings goes on and on.
Important Tip: If you know where you’ll be dining on V-Day, shop NOW to maximize your savings on a discounted gift card. The sooner the better.
5. See a Movie…on the Cheap
The first thing you need to do is look for free movie screening in your area by entering your area code on the site GoFoBo.com.
If you strike out on free, then move on to cheap. The best way to do this is to buy a discounted movie theater gift card from Gift Card Granny.com.
They sell gift cards to AMC Theaters, Cinemark, Regal Theaters, Fandango, Landmark, and many others. Looks like the average savings right now is around 15% but you can buy a $10 AMC Theaters gift card for a really cheap $5.19.
6. Free (or almost free) Gift Ideas
Here are some great out-of-the-box ideas to woo your wife:
- Leave stick-it notes around the house; write the things you love about her on them.
- Clean out the refrigerator and put her favorite Jamba Juice smoothie inside.
- Wash and vacuum her car and leave a nice note inside.
- Do the grocery shopping and make dinner for her.
- Organize the 2 messiest drawers or cupboards in the house that drive her crazy.
- Get some paint swatches and offer to paint a room in the house how ever she wants.
- Dinner date? Come to the front door and pretend it is your first date.
- Do the laundry and put all the clothes away.
- Make her a music mix (or playlist) with songs that remind you of her.
The comments on my “50 gift ideas” article were very interesting as some folks apparently think I’m a total jerk of a husband for even suggesting some of these.
Please chime in with a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Happy savings and I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart. Just make sure it’s NOT at full price.
By Kyle James