More blooms, less dough

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The High Cost of Love This Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day may be one of the few times per year that you go out and buy fresh flowers, but that is no excuse for rookie mistakes. The gift of flowers is a reminder that you are thinking of someone and February 14 is an excellent opportunity to send this message. Make that gesture count with these budget-friendly tips for delivering quality flowers that won't disappoint.

Opt out of the Valentine's Day up-sell - Almost all floral retailers will create Valentine's Day-specific offers to catch your eye. Those bouquets come with a hefty price tag, and often lack on the stem count you are looking for. Avoid the holiday-specific bundles.

Get to know your Farmer's Market - Get to know a Farmer's Market in your neighborhood before Valentine's Day. Pay attention to bouquet costs when it's not a floral holiday so that you have a baseline before prices increase. Ask a vendor to pre-order for Valentine's Day and lock in a price before the holiday surge. You can feel accomplished come February 14 knowing you already have your fresh flowers and that you have supported local growers.

Don't Procrastinate - Many companies offer incentives to place your Valentine's Day order in advance, so that they can get a sense of how much inventory to allocate for the major holiday. Take advantage of those offers and you can save quite a bit - you can also sit back and relax while everyone else is scrambling to find the last red and pink flowers!

Learn how to pick fresh flowers - Chances are that if you are looking at a bouquet and all of the flowers are already open, those flowers were not picked yesterday. We all get stuck on how the blooms look right when we buy them. A real flower pro, though, will know to look for bouquets or bunches where the flowers are still closed. Those blooms are the most fresh, and will continue to bloom for days to come.

Do some recon - Sending flowers online? Do all that you can to make sure those blooms are fresh and look good. Check to see where your retailer ships from, and opt for a business that sources flowers from U.S. farms. Floral retailer Bloom2Bloomfounder Laurenne Resnik advises, "Whether you're buying online or in store, check for companies with the 'American Grown' or 'California Grown' labels. Farm-direct flowers really do last longer." Unlike most outlets, Bloom2Bloom doesn't change its products just for Valentine's Day.

Think outside the vase - Don't fall for the clichés this Valentine's Day. Skip the vase and look for companies that keep costs down for consumers by wrapping bouquets in Kraft paper for that farm-fresh look. Remember, just because everyone is advertising red roses this Valentine's Day, doesn't mean you have to buy them. Rananculus and Tulips offer a new twist on an old classic. Not to mention, they are in season in California right now!

Related: Different types of flowers and chocolates you should buy for Valentine's Day
22 PHOTOS
Flowers and chocolate for Valentine's Day
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More blooms, less dough

Enchanted Rose Medley, 1-800Flowers

Starts at $54.99

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Arabica Cherry Espresso Dark Chocolate, Seattle Chocolates

$7.95

Lovely Lillies, 1-800Flowers

Starts at $29.99

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Lucky in Love, 1-800Flowers

Starts at $74.99

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Pink Perfection, 1-800Flowers

Starts at $99.99

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The Perfect Man, Dylan's Candy Bar

$8

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Floral Devotion, 1-800Flowers

Starts at $64.99

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Tulips for Your Valentine, 1-800Flowers

Starts at $59.99

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Shades of Purple, 1-800Flowers

Starts at $64.99

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Lover's Paradise Bouquet, 1-800Flowers

Starts at $69.99

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The Kissing Game, Jacques Torres

$39

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