According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated $1.8 billion will be spent on flowers this year for Valentine's Day. That's about 100 million roses -- mostly red -- sold and delivered in a three-day time period. It's possible roses smell more like greenbacks for florists across the country.
Before you part with your hard-earned cash this Feb. 14, keep the following tips in mind to save money when buying flowers.
1. Stick to a Budget
Once you enter that sweet-smelling shop, it's hard to remember how much you planned on spending. Each bouquet looks bigger and better, but the prices aren't equally as pretty. Costs vary between florists, so don't hesitate to shop around. Keep in mind that it's a lot easier to compare prices over the phone if you already know what you want.
2. Ask Questions Upfront
After you ascertain the price of the flowers, it's time to figure out the bottom line. How much do they charge for delivery? Is a vase included? Do they sell by the stem and, if so, is that cheaper? Don't forget to ask about any specials the florist may offer for that day.
3. Get Sneaky with Savings
Websites like GiftCardGranny allow you to buy a store gift card at up to 35 percent off the face value for your floral purchase. You'll find gift cards both for florists as well as supermarkets, so you can save either way.
4. Shop Supermarkets
While supermarkets don't deliver, this isn't a problem if you plan on delivering in person. Many grocery stores offer some excellent, ready-made bouquets at prices that seriously undercut florists. Before you buy, however, ask how long the arrangement has been on display, so it won't droop a day later.
5. Avoid Ordering Online
Major floral companies take your order then hand it off to a local florist for fulfillment. While it's convenient to order online, you're actually pay an inflated price and, usually, a service fee. Check Yelp.com for consumer reviews of florists in your area.
6. Skip the Roses
While these hothouse beauties are the traditional gift, prices increase over Valentine's Day, sometimes by nearly double. Bouquets arranged with other flowers can look just as beautiful and make your present a standout.
7. Deliver It Yourself
Go the DIY route and save on the delivery charge. Best of all, the recipient will see your smiling face at their door.
Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., and is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more.