How to Find Valentine's Day Deals Online
If you plan ahead and get creative using apps and websites, you can avoid a giant bill on that gift for your beloved
According to a recent consumer spending survey released by the National Retail Federation, shoppers are expected to spend almost $18.2 billion this Valentine's Day. That works out to $136.57 worth of roses, truffles, and other gifts for people celebrating the holiday.
“Where flowers and chocolates, or even a homemade card, might have satisfied many years ago," says Finder.com money expert Michelle Hutchison, "today’s celebrants are piling cab rides, hotel rooms, gifts, and fancy meals onto the bill.”
But if the wallet is a little tight this month, there's no need for despair. With a bit of research, you can find some great Valentine's Day deals on websites and mobile apps and shower your loved one with presents without breaking the bank.
I've had a lot of success scoping websites such as Slickdeals.net and Techbargains.com for discounts on laptops, noise-canceling headphones, and 10-pound bags of chocolate. They even let you sign up for alerts on specific categories or products. Think "travel" or "Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones."
It's also worth signing up for email blasts from, say, a favorite restaurant, hotel chain, or travel site to learn about special offers. You can always unsubscribe after the holiday.
Amazon Prime members with Alexa-enabled speakers can start the day by asking the device's digital assistant, “Alexa, what are your deals?” According to an Amazon representative, upcoming Valentine's Day offers include 25 percent off a Godiva 12-piece Patisserie Truffle Box and 30 percent off a sterling silver diamond 3-stone heart pendant.
If you're thinking about a romantic getaway, Travelocity is offering $20 off on any purchase of $100 or more for Valentine's Day activities. (Use the code 20RED.) And Hotels.com will provide discounted rates from Feb. 10 to 15, including $139 rooms at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and $331 rooms at the Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu.
If you enjoy a little spontaneity, then check out the mobile app HotelTonight, which offers last-minute promotions for accommodations in many major cities. Just remember to download the app and set up your account before the big day.
Rose prices tend to increase during this time of year. To avoid the big markup, try ordering the flowers for delivery a few days early. (Here are some tips to keep them fresh and healthy longer.) When you agree to receive the shipment on Friday, Feb. 10, or Saturday, Feb. 11, for example, ProFlowers will send you a dozen long-stemmed red roses with a champagne bucket and chocolates for $50 instead of $80.
Customers of 1-800-Flowers.com can save up to 40 percent on tulip stems, stuffed bears, and other items from the company's Valentine's collection. A four-tiered tower of heart-shaped keepsake boxes filled with chocolates, truffles, and cookies will set you back only $26 when you order ahead of the pack.
And BloomThat is teaming up with the ride-sharing service Lyft to offer one lucky couple a free spa package. The rest of us will have to settle for 15 percent off floral bouquets by using the code LYFTVDAY at the BloomThat website.
Sadly, you'll be hard-pressed to find a discounted meal on Valentine’s Day. According to Hutchison, you're better off planning a home-cooked dinner and a night of Netflix (popcorn included). That leaves you with the option of prolonging the festivities.
“Take advantage of discounted flowers, chocolates, and other festive gifts by celebrating a day or two later," she says. "You’ll be able to skip the dinner reservations, crowds, and inflated prices. Everybody wins.”
If you don't know how to cook, Amazon Restaurants' food service, available through PrimeNow, will bring you a meal with no delivery fees. And Yelp is giving a $2.14 discount to users who order $10 or more worth of food through its Eat24 app. To take advantage of the offer, use the coupon code "couch214."
And for those who do decide to venture out for a meal, the ride-sharing apps Lyft and Uber are all but guaranteed to employ surge pricing on Valentine's Day, but both offer cheaper fares if you agree to share the car with another couple. Just think of it like double dating. Or, better yet, use a lesser-known alternative like Gett, which promises no markup despite the heavy demand.