Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and Cupid has his bow pointed right at you— or rather, right at your wallet.
According to a recent study by the National Retail Federation, 54.8 percent of consumers are expected to celebrate the lovers’ holiday, and spend a total of $19.7 billion — up from last year’s prediction of $18.9 billion.
Here are some tips on getting the biggest bang for your V-day buck.
1. Visit Your Local Florist
According to RetailMeNot’s findings, 34 percent of Americans are expecting to receive flowers this Sunday. Through February 14, FTD.com is offering 20 percent off site-wide, and through February 13, you can get Valentine’s Day Bouquets starting at $19.99.
The catch with these eCommerce companies is that the savings tend to be countered by the hefty delivery fees, so if your honey-pie is near by, consider shopping local.
2. Consider a Rose Color Other Than Red
Red roses are synonymous with romance, but why not consider her favorite color and go for that shade instead when picking out flowers?
“Always consider roses a different color than red,” said Kyle James, owner of Rather-Be-Shopping.com “A dozen red roses are typically $20 more than yellow, pink, or orange roses. Also, 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.”
3. Book a Last Minute Trip
Travel sites are always offering last minute deals on resort getaways, but they’re upping the ante in time for Valentine’s Day.
DealNews.com is featuring a mobile coupon of $25 off for Hotels.com when you book a hotel stay of $200 or more from February 14 through June 8.
There also plenty of bundle deals around, though they tend to come and go quickly, so if something catches your eye, you’ll need to book it fast and most likely. Moreover, your trip will start a couple weeks after the holiday.
On Expedia.com, for example, the best couples packages offered are for the week Monday, February 29 through Friday March 4. Currently, you can book a round trip flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and four nights at a hotel for $189.
4. Buy the Luxury Chocolate
Move away from the Hershey’s bars and make your way over to the fancier chocolate varieties. According to RetailMeNot’s research, the second week in February ranks among the best times of the year to purchase luxury chocolate from brands like Godiva.
If you want to add a sentimental touch to a chocolaty treat for cheap, note that you can now get bag of personalized M&Ms for 50 percent off, just $20. Or, take the romance factor up a notch with chocolate-dipped strawberries from Shari’s Barri’s, also 50 percent off and as low as $15.
5. Gift Winter Apparel
Because winter came late for much of the country, various retailers have slashed prices on winter apparel, meaning this is the prime time to buy that cashmere scarf or sweater your partner has been eyeing.
“Retailers had a double whammy in the past few months,” said Benjamin Glaser, Features Editor with DealNews. “They could be trying to take advantage of every holiday they can to make up for the losses.”
Macy’s is touting blowout sales on scarves and boots, while through RetailMeNot you can take $10 off an order in-store or online at JCPenney.
6. Buy Your Dinner in Advance
Making reservations in advance for Valentine’s Day is a no-brainer, but also consider buying a discounted meal via Groupon or LivingSocial in the days leading up to Sunday.
“The best way to score a deal at a restaurant is to use Groupon and LivingSocial in the week leading up to V-Day as both always have great local restaurant coupons specifically for the big day,” said Rather-Be-Shopping’s James. “Also, if possible, consider a Valentine’s Day lunch and avoid the crowd and more expensive meal.”
7. Get Creative at Paint Nite
Candle-lit dinners and decadent desserts are what we’ve all come to expect from Valentine’s Day, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box and take your date on a less conventional outing. It could just wind up saving you some big bucks.
Paint Nite, which hosts roughly 4,700 events in various venues across the U.S each month, lets participants create art while sipping on cocktails, with a professional artist leading the way. Ticket prices vary by location, with the average being around $45. Groupon offers discounts, but be mindful of the location, since that’s a key component.