Written by Brooke Wagner DENVER (CBS4) – My husband likes to call Valentine’s Day a “made up” holiday. Obviously he’s in the minority because Americans are expected to spend upwards of $20 million on it this year.

Kendal Perez of Fort Collins-based deals site www.couponsherpa.com sent me some ideas that can help you stay within budget, starting with flowers.

“With arrangements costing an average of $60 before delivery, it’s important to keep the following money-saving tips in mind before purchasing,” Perez said.

— Ask Questions Upfront: Be sure to ask questions so you know the total cost of an arrangement. How much is delivery? Is the vase included? Do they sell by the stem and if so, is that cheaper?

— Get Sneaky with Savings: Websites like http://www.giftcardgranny.com have discount gift cards to florists and supermarkets for instant savings of up to 35 percent off.

— Shop Supermarkets: If you’re buying for someone locally, check out your local supermarket’s florist department. They have beautiful arrangements for less than you can find at a florist, but be sure to ascertain how long it’s been on display.

— Look for Free Shipping: Sites like http://www.freeshipping.org list free shipping codes for florists so you can avoid paying for delivery. Currently, you can save $15 at http://www.freeshipping.org/category/1-800-flowers-free-shipping if you have your arrangement delivered early between Feb. 10 and 12.

— Skip the Roses: As the official floral symbol of Valentine’s Day, roses see an http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2011/02/04/roses-cost-valentines-day thanks to increased demand. Opt for an arrangement with other flowers that she’ll love just as much.

Perez also tells me more than 200,000 people will propose on Valentine’s Day. Here are some of her savings gems: For instance, did you know you could buy diamonds with a coupon?

— Find Discounts: Sites like http://www.couponsherpa.com have coupons for jewelers. Diamonds International has a http://www.couponsherpa.com/coupons/diamonds-international a one-carat diamond engagement ring, and My Jewelry Box is offering http://www.couponsherpa.com/coupons/my-jewelry-box of $100 or more.

— Did you know, size Isn’t Everything? The biggest determinant of diamond price and beauty is the cut, not the carat weight or size. Examine stones with a variety of cut grades and find a balance between well-cut and affordable.

— DIY: Purchase the diamond wholesale and allow your fiancee to select the desired setting. You’ll save on the overall cost and ensure your loved one gets the style she wants.

I’d love to hear your Valentine cost-saving secrets. You can write me in the “comments” section below or @BrookeCBS4. Happy Valentine’s Day! And remember, there’s nothing wrong with treating YOURSELF! And here’s a link to Valentine’s gifts that give back http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/07/valentines-gifts-give-back_n_1258297.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

About The Blogger

– In her Brooke’s Bargains blog Brooke Wagner writes about finding bargains and saving money for her family. She calls it one of her favorite hobbies. Blog entries cover everything from the latest steals, deals, and freebies to cheap family activities, saving for college, and what to buy right now. Tweet Brooke your ideas at @BrookeCBS4.

  1. Steve + Ice Envy Diamonds says:

    Some terrific ‘loved up’ ideas here!

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