Money Can’t Buy you Love

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If you don’t know Valentines day is this Friday, then you are either A. Single (lucky you) or B. in trouble (you’re not single, or observative). Otherwise, you’re like me and have known about it, just been putting it off. So, if you have been procrastinating, I am here to help you save a little bit of cash on this Holiday of Love.

If you think Valentine’s Day is just about a quick box of chocolates or a simple bouquet of flowers, think again! On average, consumers are expected to spend $131 on Valentine’s Day related items, totaling some $18.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. So here are a few ways to keep that cost a little lower:

 1. Finding the best deals on roses

You want to stick to the local florists or even some of the warehouse stores, for several reasons. First, you’re going to score a better deal – there was a study from that showed the average price for roses locally in New York and California was about $50, compared to around $59 to $86 at the major online providers. Also, the local shops will have a bit more leeway if you’re trying to bargain with them and negotiate a better price. Finally, if the flowers come damaged or arrive late, with a florist, you can easily stop by, explain the problem and get a refund, rather than having to call up a customer service rep, which is the case for some of the larger online flower retailers.

2. Save at restaurants

First, Restaurant Week is happening in many cities across the country – and this is where the top restaurants will offer a three-course meal at a lower, fixed price. It just wrapped up in New York, but plenty of restaurants will continue those Restaurant Week deals throughout the season, so it’s best to gather a list of restaurants you want to go to, and call up the restaurant to see if they’ll honor the Restaurant Week specials.

Secondly, visit sites like Groupon and LivingSocial – or, which aggregates deals from all of the major social couponing sites – and you’ll be able to check out last-minute restaurant deals in your neighborhood, and many times these deals will include the meal, drinks and desserts. And we’re talking as high as 50% off on the entrees, in many cases, which is significant.

3. Eat elsewhere.

Our number 1 money-saving tip is: Stay out of the restaurant and bring your celebration home. But, romance means special, and eating in the kitchen doesn’t cut it. Make a move from the table to a cozy spot in your home. If you have a fireplace, try spreading a blanket in front of it and dining “picnic style.”

4. Burn for your love

Let’s face it, flames are sexy.

5. Put the petal to the metal

Make one red rose work for you. Take the petals off the rose and sprinkle them all throughout the area. It really adds a luxurious look and feel to your celebration.

6. Don’t pay double for your bubbles

Most people can’t tell good Champagne from bad. So why bother? Keep the cork on the Champagne and pop the Prosecco. A really good bottle will run you $15 – a fraction of the cost of Champagne. A sparkling white wine from Italy, Prosecco is not too sweet and cloying.

7. Flirt with dessert

The last thing you want on a romantic evening is a heavy dessert to weigh down the romance. The best solution is also a cheap one: sorbet. It’s inexpensive and refreshing. But it can look pricey and exotic if you buy several flavors.  A nice combo: Tangerine and pomegranate with a sprig of mint.