Say ‘I love you’ for less this Valentine’s Day

valentines day couponsSay ‘I love you' for less this Valentine's Day

According to the National Retail Federation (nrf.com), spending for Valentine's Day this year is expected to be lower than last year's record high of $146.84 – dropping just over $10 to an expected $136.57. Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO says, “Valentine's Day continues to be a popular gift-giving occasion even if consumers are being more frugal this year.”

And more frugal we should be. As a money-saving guy, I still think $136.57 is pretty high to spend on Valentine's Day… but I can see where it could add up if you buy a gift, go out to dinner, and maybe catch a flick or see a live show. You don't want to go so cheap that you don't show you care. Shay says it like this, “This is one day of the year when millions find a way to show their loved ones they care regardless of their budget.”

The good news is, I've compiled numerous ways to save on Valentine's Day for years. This year, I've pulled some of my very favorite ways to say I love you for less this Valentine's Day to share with you.

(1) Save on online shopping –

Swagbucks.com allows you to shop online and save. You earn Swagbucks just for doing searches as you hunt for the perfect gift, and you earn cash back when you buy. You can even save more by purchasing a gift card through them, getting cash back on the gift card, and then using it to pay for your gift(s). Right now, Swagbucks is offering double cash back on Valentine's Day sales. They have numerous flower and gift companies, along with major retailers like JC Penney and Walmart. One they are offering is Groupon, which goes perfectly with my next suggestion.

(2) Save on gifts, experiences, and restaurants –

This time of the year Groupon.com has hundreds of ways to say “I love you”. Consider trying a new restaurant or seeing a live event – all at a discount. On top of their already low offers, you can also get extra amounts off with their promo codes. One tip: Be sure to read the fine print listed on any Groupon offer before buying. Some businesses may have black-out times on and around Valentine's Day. You may have to choose to celebrate early or late to save.

(3)  Save on jewelry by researching first online –

Jewelry has a very large markup percentage, so shopping sales and using coupons is critical. Don't overlook department store jewelry counters that can offer a good selection. The quality may be slightly lower, but so will the price.

A few more tips when shopping jewelry:

  • Don't shop in a hurry. Give yourself time to compare not just prices but quality. When you shop in a jewelry store, it can be overwhelming – and the lighting they use makes everything sparkle and look spectacular. Ask to view pieces out of the case, and use your hand to block some of the light. That will give you a better sense of what it will look like under normal lighting.
  • Stick to a budget. That $1000 ring might be pretty, but if it's going to take you two years to pay it off, it likely isn't worth the extra stress. Pick something just as beautiful and meaningful, but in your budget.
  • Remember that bigger isn't always better – especially with gemstones and diamonds. You can buy a larger diamond, but it's more likely to have flaws. Weigh your options between a nearly flawless small stone versus a large stone.
  • Be aware that just because you shop in a nicer jewelry store doesn't automatically mean everything is of the highest quality. Compare the quality and grade of the metals and any gemstones from store to store. You may find pieces of similar quality range widely in price.

(4) Save on flowers by using Swagbucks, coupon codes, and these tricks –

  • Learn to arrange flowers with free online videos. Then buy loose blossoms at a lower price than arranged.
  • If you plan to order, order early. The best deals are offered early as florists compete for Valentine's Day business. And check mega-retailers like Sam's Club for options. They are sent from a florist just like other retailers but may be cheaper.
  • Check “big box” stores and grocers. At other times of the year, the flowers might not be the freshest or the best. But around Valentine's Day, they sell a lot of them, and they are constantly being replenished. You can save up to 50% over a florist's selection.
  • Buy more. Sometimes for only a few dollars more, you can get 2-3 times the number of stems. Divide them up and have enough for your wife and daughter, for example.

You also might enjoy, “Ideas for a Low-Key Valentine’s Day“.