Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Consumers need to love their wallets, too, on Valentine's Day

As many probably did for Valentine's Day, guys especially, consumers overspent this past weekend. While it’s important to recognize a significant other, it doesn’t have to be a major drag on one’s wallet. There are some easy steps to take that can help one save big money.


Flowers are the quintessential staple for any love-seeking mate. Roses are usually the name of the game. Since it's very convenient, it’s very easy to default to purchasing flowers online at one of the many major flower retailers. However, one is paying a substantial mark up on this service. In addition to the cost of flowers, one will be paying for delivery, service charge, rush services, and special packaging.  That glass teddy bear doesn't wrap too well on its own.

There are a couple of strategies in which one can employ to come out smelling like a rose, without stinking up their bank account. First, rather than buying flowers from one of those online sites, use them to grab ideas. Their websites are usually segmented by holiday, flower type and price range, which makes it easy to find anything. While the prices are obviously marked up, it does provide a bit of a benchmark for what one can expect to pay at a walk-up florist. Next, sketch out the design based on the website's picture and description and take it the florist directly. Alternatively, if this seems like too much of a hassle, next time, go to Whole Foods where one could have gotten 24 long stem roses for around $20.

Dining in

Similar to what happens during DC's Restaurant Week, many restaurants will only serve a prix fixe menu, in literal terms, fixed price, on Valentine's Day. Not only that, it’s no secret that the menu prices will be inflated as well. No wonder why guys think they are being taken advantage of. What is the solution? Eat in! Whole Foods is once again a shoppers friend. Pick up a nice steak and make it with someone special.

Looking to the future

There are definitely ways where one can get creative without compromising their wallet.  Pretty much anything typically found on Valentine's Day and mentioned in this article can be hand-crafted on the cheap.  The bonus is that the effort will be seen as coming straight from the heart, and not just straight from the wallet.