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Valentine's Day Savings

Love might not cost a thing, but the average consumer plans to spend $126 on Valentine's Day this year, up 8.5% from last year. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com, tells how to keep those costs in check.


Sneak in restaurant discounts. Most people are ok with their date pulling out a daily deal voucher, so if you have one, feel free to use it - savings average 50%. Check to make sure the fine print doesn't exclude special menus like those typically offered on Valentine's Day. Those with coupon-shy dates might try Savored.com, which charges $10 per reservation for a discreet discount of roughly 30% off your whole check.

Order roses early. Otherwise, you'll miss the 10% to 50% off deals that online florists are currently running. Those dry up as the holiday approaches. Shoppers can also look for good value by going with shorter-stemmed roses, or going for a bouquet with other kinds of flowers mixed in.

Cocoa prices have been climbing since last spring, and the bulk of price increases are expected to hit around Easter. So if your sweetheart likes truffles or other all-chocolate treats, this is probably the year to get them. Hunt for coupons on sites like RetailMeNot.com, which currently has some for up to 30% off.

If you're planning a movie date look for discount vouchers, which can cut 30% off the price of a ticket. They're often available at warehouse clubs, as well as daily deal sites. Just keep in mind that you'll still pay a surcharge for 3D or Imax showings. If you can't grab vouchers, then head to gift card resale sites like PlasticJungle.com, where theater chain gift cards sell for maybe 20% off.

In its "Cost of Loving" index, Houston Asset Management saw a 9% spike in perfume costs this year compared with last year. Pick the eau de parfum instead of just the parfum, which has a less-concentrated scent but also costs 30% less. Be careful when buying online or from flea markets - counterfeit perfume loaded with chemicals has been on the rise in such venues.

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