This first think you should do is consider who you are giving the gift to. Valentine's Day is a tough shopping holiday for many people, because the gift we choose sends a message about the status of our relationship. Just think about how off-putting it would be to receive fancy jewelry from a casual date, or a houseplant from your significant other. Have a frank conversation about what each of you expect, so you don't overspend.
It's also best to buy your gifts early. Procrastinating can be an expensive mistake. Retailers know that if you're getting those roses, chocolates or other traditional gifts in the few days before Valentine's Day, you're probably not going to quibble on price. We're seeing a lot of coupon codes that expire during the first few days of February, so it's a good time to order those gifts online.
Something you may not have thought about in the past, but adjust your bouquet can save you money. A dozen long-stemmed red roses can easily cost $100. For the least-noticeable switch, ask for a slightly shorter stem. You'll save about 15%. If your beloved likes white, pink, lavender or yellow roses, you'll save about 30%.
And make sure you mind chocolate expirations. Fancy chocolates are made with real cream, and have fewer preservatives. In other words, they expire fast. Before you buy, ask the chocolatier how long they'll last and how to store them so you get the most for your money. Moonstruck Chocolates is currently offering two-day shipping for $5, which amounts to a discount of 50% or more.
And finally if you are looking at jewelry, consider yellow gold. The karat content of a piece of gold jewelry is a prime factor in its cost. The higher the karat count, the more precious metals it contains. But white gold is almost always more expensive than yellow gold because it's alloyed with other precious metals like silver.
For other tips on how to save this Valentine's Day and other consumer tips, please click here.
by Kelli Grant and Jenn Eaker