February is just around that corner, bringing with it a certain Sunday that plenty of Americans love to celebrate. No, not the Super Bowl (Feb. 7), but Valentine's Day, which this year falls exactly a week later.
And just like the Super Bowl, Valentine's Day is a huge driver of consumer spending. According to floral marketing firm Prince & Prince Inc., Americans will spend $3.3 billion just on flowers and plants this Valentine's Day, up 14 percent from $2.9 billion in 2015.
Prince & Prince also projects that U.S. households, on average, will spend about $74 to make a floral purchase, including associated delivery and service fees.
If that sounds a tad high, there are ways to prune the cost of a bouquet and still show your Valentine just how appreciated he or she is. Here are four easy ways to save money this Valentine's Day that won't make you look like a cheapskate.
Now is the time to lock in the best price. Feb. 14 may still be weeks away, but florists are already gearing up -- and the sooner you order, the increased likelihood that you'll spend less (and be assured your order will arrive when you want it to). It's just like buying a snow shovel just before a snowstorm. You'll get a better deal if you buy well before the flakes start to fly.
Keep an open mind. Flowers on Valentine's Day for many means roses -- and specifically, red roses. But they're expensive -- and never more so than on Valentine's Day, when increased demand sends prices soaring. Instead, opt for flowers that are in season now, such as amaryllis, chrysanthemums and lillies. Not only will you get a lot more for your money, but they'll arrive fresher and last longer, too.
Forgo the vase. Unless you're having them delivered to an office, ditch the optional vase and have the flowers delivered in a box. Upon delivery, simply arrange the bouquet in your favorite vase or -- in a pinch -- a mason jar.
Avoid sticker shock. Flowers can be expensive, so it pays to shop around. Online sites such as 1-800-Flowers.com, can be useful tools in understanding just how much flowers cost, as well as a quick and easy way to get your order done quickly. Plus, if you order early chances are good you'll get a discount. But don't forget your local florist, who can often work wonders in nailing down your loved one's tastes while keeping within your budget.
Of course, if flowers simply aren't your thing, you can always opt for dinner out. And if you're a little tight on funds, White Castle, the burger chain, is now taking reservations. But you better hurry. As with good deals on flowers, the early bird gets the worm.