We all know buying Valentine’s Day gifts can be stressful. No matter which side of the Atlantic you’re celebrating on, planning this romantic day can be quite a struggle. Thankfully, EllaM has created this handy guide that can help DBGers avoid romance rip offs during this hectic time. EllaM’s tips and insight into the clever tactics companies use to get buyers to purchase items they don’t need can save you from getting ripped off. Don’t risk buying something your significant other won’t appreciate! Read on to find out how to get great deals and make this Valentine’s Day one to remember.
10 Romance Rip Offs That Catch Us Out Every Valentine’s Day & How to Beat Them
By Ella M
Here are 10 of the sneakiest romance rip offs out there, and how you can successfully navigate a path around them to secure yourself a budget Valentine’s Day whilst still maximising the love-factor.
For those looking for cheap Valentine’s Day ideas, the high street can feel like a rather daunting place.
There’s no doubt about it, shops and restaurants across the nation are highly skilled at captialising on the most of special occasions.
From the persuasive TV advertising that occurs predictably in the months leading up to Christmas, to the insistent supermarket displays in the weeks before Easter, it seems that businesses are hell-bent on relieving people of their hard earned cash throughout the year, whatever the occasion.
If you’re hoping to plan a reasonably priced romantic day, but are starting to feel rising panic for the safety of the contents of your wallet, don’t fear, as help is at hand.
1) Romance rip offs to avoid: Valentine’s Day cards
Shops market their cards very cleverly, with phrases designed to appeal to your closet romantic. You can guarantee that the prices are raised accordingly.
So how can you avoid this particular romance rip off? Save yourself some serious cash by making your own card. You don’t have to be the world’s most talented artist; you could even make a card using a favourite photo of the two of you.
2) Say it with flowers… or perhaps not!
Retail stores have been convincing us for years that flowers are the ultimate romantic gesture. However, for many girls flowers rank fairly low on the list of gifts they’d like to receive. After all, they only last a few weeks at most.
A great romantic alternative is to get creative. Pick some wild flowers and create a beautiful, personal bouquet or buy a beautiful plant that’ll last much longer and cost you less.
If you’re set on buying your beloved a bouquet then deliver it in person rather than getting a courier to do it for you and avoid buying at service stations (often poor pickings for an extortionate price).
If you’re looking to make the biggest savings, buy smaller bunches at supermarkets and make up a beautiful bouquet yourself, then wrap in brown paper and tie with a ribbon to make them look fancy (this last step won’t cost much and is well worth it).
3) Chocolates: making it a budget Valentine’s Day treat
Shops are incredibly aware that people are prepared to spend more at Valentine’s Day, and as a result, prices for boxes of chocolates tend to go up accordingly.
You can easily make your own posh chocs for a lot less and they’ll be much more appreciated.
Buy a cheap ice cube tray (you can even find one with heart shapes – look in pound stores), melt some good quality chocolate, pour into the tray, and leave to set in the fridge. A gorgeous, home-made cheap Valentine’s Day idea!
Strawberries dipped in melted white, milk or plain chocolate are another easy affordable do it yourself treat.
4) Avoid the trap of elevated restaurant bills
Restaurants love to raise the prices of their menu on Valentine’s Day, sometimes by as much as 50% on their usual price.
There are a few ways to beat this romance rip off.
For a really budget Valentine’s Day evening, you could cook a romantic meal at home or get one of the many supermarket meal deals running.
If you really would like to enjoy a night out at a restaurant, it pays to do your research first to find out which establishment is offering the best dining out deals and ask whether they are able to offer anything as an added extra.
An easy way to save your hard earned cash is to not dine out on Valentine’s at all, but choosing the day after, when prices are likely to be significantly less, and restaurants may be far quieter.
5) Watch out for wine!
Another common trick in restaurants on Valentine’s Day is to raise the price of wine. Rather than simply accepting a recommendation, ask to see their standard wine list and consider whether you’d actually save more by ordering a bottle rather than by the glass. This will help keep your budgeting on track.
6) Decadent Champagne bubbles, or a fizzy financial fright?
Champagne, whilst being a deliciously decadent treat, can also be a horrendous romantic rip off on the big day. A great idea to combat this is to opt instead for a smaller bottle of champagne or to select a fizzy wine, such as a Prosecco or Cava, which are often equally delicious. It’s a very easy way to save money on Valentine’s Day!
7) Avoid activities that cost the earth
It can be tempting to book yourself and your partner on a trip or experience for the day, in an attempt to make the day as memorable as possible. However, this can be a real romantic rip off, with some experiences costing serious money.
It is just as easy to create your own experience, which will be just as memorable, and provide you with a far more financially palatable Valentine’s Day. Great ideas include fish and chips by the beach or a romantic walk through a forest.
8) Expensive gifts, or cheap Valentine’s Day ideas?
A few weeks before Valentine’s Day, the shop shelves are filled to bursting point with romantic gifts, many little more than gimmicks, designed to appeal to those who are unsure about what to buy.
Avoid this money pitfall and invest in something meaningful instead, or for the ultimate bargain romantic gesture, consider something home-made or commission a talented friend to make something for you.
9) Beautiful budget Valentine’s Day lingerie
Valentine’s lingerie is a classic, time honoured romantic rip off, which hapless romantics seem to fall foul of, every year.
It’s important to remember that, in most cases, bright red bras and fluffy knickers don’t really appeal to many women anyway. Instead, look to a classic lingerie supplier, where prices are the same, all year round or check which lingerie sales are currently running.
10) Cheap Valentine’s Day ideas instead of over blown gestures
You may decide that you want to propose this Valentine’s Day.
There are many shops just waiting to relieve you of your hard earned cash, to supply you with all manner of accompanying gimmicks, such as balloons that you can insert the ring inside, and even cupcakes.
Rather than wasting your money, avoid this romantic rip off and focus on a meaningful gesture. Thoughtful words definitely speak louder, and it’s a great way to ensure you don’t blow a hole in your Valentine’s budget.
Read How to Get the Best Engagement Ring for Your Budget to find out how to get the biggest rock for the best price and make sure your home insurance or travel insurance (if you’re popping the question overseas) covers the cost just in case it does get mislaid.
Romance doesn’t have a price!
This is the big secret that many shops and restaurants don’t want you to realise. To most people, it’s the small, meaningful gestures that mean so much more than the overblown, over-the-top declarations of love.
The best cheap Valentine’s Day ideas tend to be those that are personalised, genuinely loving and sincere, rather than showy, over-priced and a complete romantic rip off!
Plan in advance, check out the Valentine’s Day deals running and put some thought into what would mean most to your significant other so you make their day extra special while maximising your savings.