How to avoid being ripped off on Valentine's Day

By Staff Writer
Take the pressure off your wallet by doing something meaningful instead of expensive for Valentine's Day this year. If you are just starting out in a relationship you may want to impress your partner with extravagant gifts and an expensive meal. However, this could negatively impact your finances for the month, and as the relationship is so new you might be spending money on someone who won't be in your life in two months' time.
On the flipside, if you are in a committed relationship, whether it be a marriage or a long term relationship, extravagance is again not a necessity. Find a way to show how much you care in a way that really means something to the person that you are with, while also showing that you know them and their likes and dislikes by personalising the gift.
Don't make one day special. You should make you loved one feel loved and cherished every day, not just one out of the 365 of the year. Do something a little extra on Valentine's Day by all means, but it will be just as appreciated, possibly even more so as it will be unexpected, if you do something to show you care on a different day.
If you're on a tight budget, why not cook a meal for your Valentine instead of going out to eat at a restaurant? If this is something you don't normally do it will be a lovely surprise. Make their favourite meal and set the mood for the evening with the right choice of colour, lighting and music. A little bit of old school romance can go a long way.
The cost of Valentine's Day
It is important to shop around as many shops will push up their prices for the Valentine's Day associated products. But before purchasing the first bunch of red roses that you see, consider the costs.
A dozen 50cm cerise roses from Woolworths can cost you R85, however, more extravagant arrangements can cost R165 and more.
A dozen Valentine's roses from Netflorist costs R399,95 but there are fancier arrangements that come with vases or baskets, as well as chocolates and other treats. Though, if you really want a bunch of roses, then you can pick up a simple, smaller arrangement for a much more reasonable price. The 'Sprays and red roses handbag' is R259,95, and the 'Always in my heart arrangement' of three red roses is R159,95.
The Rose Café has Valentine's arrangements from R560 to R4 140. And The Cape Town Florist has a range of Valentine's Day products available, from a dozen red roses for R329 to a mixed Valentine's rose basket for R1 200.
There are other ways of cutting costs, like visiting an online deals site that offers customers deals on popular goods. One such sit is Groupon. Here you can find deals on restaurants, flowers and other gifts for a discounted price.
For example, you can get Valentine's Day Roses with a personalised message for R249 from Kenly Florist in Cape Town or a Valentine's Day chocolate bouquet for R122.
When looking for deals for restaurants on these sites just phone ahead and make sure that you can use the deal you purchased on Valentine's Day, as they might be popular and fully booked.
Tips for saving money on Valentine's Day
So when did showing someone you care become so commercialised? Surely love should not be measured by how much you spend on a person? But, for some, it does.
If you'd like to save money though, we have put together the following tips:
1.If you are going to buy flowers, consider buying something other than roses, or perhaps even a different colour rose. The price of red roses over Valentine's Day is exorbitant (as seen in the examples above), and the flowers will wilt and die within a few days no matter how much you spend on them. Try buying your loved ones favourite flower or picking flowers from your garden instead.
2.Celebrate Valentine's Day on the 13th or the 15th instead. Restaurants may be cheaper the day before and after Valentine's Day, meaning you will save money if you go out for a meal.
3.Have a picnic. The Pick n Pay website has ideas to help you plan the perfect Valentine's picnic. This is less costly than going to a restaurant and can be very romantic. Just make sure that when you are selecting your venue that there is no admissions costs for the picnic area.
4.Have dinner in. Surprise your loved one with their favourite meal prepared at home by you. It will be more special because you took the time to prepare everything yourself, and has the added benefit of costing less than going out for a meal to a fancy restaurant.
5.Another idea is to plan a movie night. Get a copy of your loved one's favourite romantic movie and prepare snacks and meals that can be eaten while you are cuddled on the couch watching the film together.
6.Rather than splurging money on a gimmicky trinket that will end up in the bottom of a draw, take the time to make a card or gift. It will be more personal than the items you can buy in the shops, and will be appreciated more as your time and love went into making it.
7.Set a budget and stick to it. You know how much you can afford to spend. Even though it is Valentine's Day don't going overboard and blow your budget. "Make sure as a couple you know what your monthly budget for going out for the month is. You don't need to reveal all your budget details, but come to an understanding of what you can afford to do," says Eunice Sibiya, head of First National Bank's consumer education division.
8.If you and your partner take turns paying for meals or outings, don't be afraid to remind your partner when it is their turn to pay. "[This] can be done in a loving and caring way and could be the difference between surviving the month or having to start living off credit," explained Sibiya.
Sibiya adds: "Honest conversations on any matter, especially finances, are invaluable and can avoid bitterness, irritability and money fights later on."
Valentine's Day specials are not always a cost saver
In the run up to Valentine's Day shops advertise a variety of sales and specials on items that they claim show your loved ones how much you care about them. These include flowers, chocolates and other gifts and trinkets which everyone else is buying as well. And let's face it, most of these will most likely end up in the bottom of a draw a month later.
If you still want to get something from the shops (because who doesn't like getting a present?) then make sure you pair it with a memorable event, or just a good day together.
Clicks: The Clicks Valentine's Day catalogue is filled with savings on fragrances for him and her, chocolates and other yummy treats, as well as beauty products and bathroom accessories.
Pick n Pay: The Pick n Pay website has an entire section devoted to Valentine's Day, with specials and savings on offer at the store, as well as ideas on what to do on the day, such as a picnic or a romantic meal in.
Woolworths: The website offers a selection of item that it claims are for Valentine's Day. These include chocolates, food, wine and flowers. You can get flowers from anywhere between R49,99 to R165.
When it comes to the ones we love, showing them how much we care does not have to impact wallets. Give them something from the heart, and show them how you really feel rather than splurging on expensive flowers, and restaurants.

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