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Saturday, February 2, 2013
We’re only on the second day of February, so you’ve got plenty of time to shop for Valentine’s Day. Right?
That may not be so. Stores are flipping inventory earlier than ever, so unless you’re strictly looking for the cheapest deals, now is the time to start shopping around.
Most stores already have Valentine’s Day-themed candy and gifts on sale or clearance. It’s the perfect time to shop for specific gifts — you’ll still be saving some money and the merchandise won’t be as picked over as it will be closer to Feb. 14.
By the week of Valentine’s it’s likely that most stores will have moved that merchandise out to make room for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter goodies .
However, if you’re just interested in stocking up on chocolate for everyday snacking or picking up some random little gifts for the fun of it, wait until the big day or after. That’s when you’ll really see the big deals of 70 percent off or more.
If you’re picking up Hershey’s or Mars candies, always look for coupons to combine with store sales online or in your Sunday newspaper.
Don’t have a big budget, but you still want to impress?
Between now and the holiday, daily deal sites will be sending out a plethora of deals for romantic gifts . I’ve already seen offers for flowers and spa packages .
Even The Roanoke Times Daily Deal is getting in on the action. Now through Monday you can pick up a deal for 50 percent off Valentine’s Day floral arrangements in Roanoke by Caroline LaRocca Event Design. If you order your flowers by Monday, you’ll also get free delivery. That’s a sweet way to support local business, save some cash and make someone feel very loved.
Daily deals are also a great option for taking your date to a nice restaurant. I know some folks aren’t comfortable using coupons or deals on dates, but I think that’s a faux pas that needs to be forgiven. You’re still eating the same food and enjoying the same company — what does the cost matter? I do suggest calling ahead to make sure these deals will be accepted on that day.
If you’re interested in getting deals like this sent to you, sign up at www.dailydeal.roanoke.com, www.groupon.com and www.livingsocial.com.
Other daily deal sites offer national deals that aren’t specific to Roanoke but could still come in handy, like www.local.amazon.com, www.spreebird.com and www.halfoffdepot.com.
To really save some cash, consider staying in to celebrate.
Grab a bottle of wine and make a nice meal for starters. Even if you buy pricier foods than you normally would, you’ll still end up saving on gratuity and other factors of dining out . And who wouldn’t enjoy getting cozy by candlelight in the comfort of their own home?
Top the evening off by watching a movie. Skipping the movie theater, which is likely to be crammed full of couples, will put at least $20 back in your pocket.
Along the same lines, skipping flower delivery and picking up your own from the market is an easy way to save. The best perk of hand-delivering flowers on your own? You get to see the happy reaction firsthand.
A great way to show someone you care and save a few bucks is to get crafty and cater your gift to his or her personality.
Is your significant other a hopeless romantic? Make a card or hand-write a letter telling them how much they mean to you. Has a comedian stolen your heart? Make a collage of goofy photos you’ve taken together. Celebrating with the kids? Spend the day creating heart crafts out of construction paper or baking special treats.
Photo gifts are an affordable option at retailers like Walmart, CVS and Walgreens, though you will need to order well before the big day to ensure they’re ready in time. Holiday craft and paper products are discounted at craft stores in our area, and both kids and adults can appreciate some handmade professions of love.
What are your favorite, budget-friendly ways to keep the romance alive? Join the conversation on the Shoptimist blog at blogs.roanoke.com/shoptimist.
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