Valentine's Day: Dollar Tree balloon bouquets and other bargains

Dollar Tree balloon Valentine's Day is coming up this weekend and I think some of the gift ideas at the dollar stores are worth looking into. To me, love isn't about how much money you spend. If you've got the money, fine, buy a dozen, long-stemmed roses, have dinner in a fancy restaurant, or both. For the rest of us, a buck or two is all it will take to show we appreciate our partners.
I especially like Dollar Tree's idea of a balloon bouquet. These 18" helium-filled heart-shaped Mylar balloons come in both plain and printed designs for a buck each, so you can mix and match. Sweet! According to the flier, you have to pre-order these and, if I were you, I wouldn't wait, 'cause at this price, these balloons are bound to be big sellers.

While you're at Dollar Tree ordering a balloon bouquet for your sweetie, pick up a couple of boxes of character-inspired Valentines for your kids to give out at school. You can't beat $1 for 34 kid-friendly Valentines. They've also got Hershey's Kisses in the 2.5 oz. size, 1.8 oz. boxed chocolates and a .63 oz. chocolate rose for a buck a piece. What's Valentine's Day without chocolate?

If you've got a 99-Cent Only Store near you, they're advertising English Toffees in heart-shaped boxes and boxed singles of chocolate roses for 99.99-cents each. And, if you'd like to give your beloved a special photo of yourself, pick from a selection of glass frames in various designs at the same low price.

I tried the chocolate roses from my local store and, while not premium chocolate, they are certainly tasty enough and they look great, too.

If you're a teacher or are in charge of crafts or decorating in an institution, you'll appreciate the Valentine supplies at the dollar stores. I chose a few items from the craft store Michael's and compared the prices to the those of my local dollar store. Here's what I found. Please check prices in your area.

Small foam hearts are $3.99 for a bag of 150 pieces at the craft store. Save 3 bucks and buy these for $1 a bag at your dollar store.

The 35-piece, large foam hearts cost $9.99 at the specialty store. Two packages of the same size of foam hearts at the dollar store will get you 48 pieces for $2, a significant savings.

Get a 25-foot, wire garland for a buck at the dollar store or pay $1.99 for an 18-foot, wire, heart garland at Michael's.

A three-pack of Valentine votive holders was $9.99 at Michael's. Three of the exact same candle holder at the dollar store will only cost you $3, you supply the box.

Michael's has heart-shaped tinsel wreaths in small and large sizes for $6.99 or $12.99, respectively. Buy a very similar small wreath at your local dollar store and save yourself almost six bucks.

Packages of five heart ornaments will cost you $5.99 at the craft store or a buck you-know-where.

A pack of 33 acrylic heart gems is $3.49 at the specialty store and a buck for a 15-piece bag at the dollar store. If you buy three bags at the dollar store, you'll get 45 pieces and still save almost 50 cents.

If you're looking for some great craft ideas, check out Dollar Store Crafts. The name pretty much says it all. People send in their ideas and instructions for cheap crafts, everything from Valentine Leis to doggy t-shirts. It's a great place to explore.

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes tips and ideas for home decorating using only items from the dollar store.
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