Sending the Most Affordable Valentine's Day Roses

 Valentine's Day RosesRoses are red, violets are blue. If you want to impress your valentine, it'll cost more than a buck or two. Pity you then, poor college kid, who has little to spend for Valentine's Day, but still wants to acknowledge that someone special.

With Compare and Contrast's help, you can find the best deal for Valentine roses from the four primary online retailers -– 1-800-Flowers, FTD, Proflowers and Teleflora. We've even listed some options for the cheapest Valentine's gifts that you can get. Because saying I love you can come easier when you still have some money in your bank account.

But for those truly head over heels, and willing to pay for it, we've also listed the most expensive Valentine's Day gifts that you can get on these websites. All prices are current as of Feb. 3. Prices are subject to change.Retailer:1-800-FLOWERS
Prices for red roses: $34.99 to $64.99 for 12 red roses; $49.99 to $74.98 for 18 red roses; $54.99 to $79.98 for 24 red roses (low prices are for bouquet only, high prices include vase, teddy bear and chocolates). For roses arranged by a local florist, prices range from $59.99 for 12 to $239.99 for 48.
Least expensive Valentine's Day items:Small teddy bear with mini rose plant; Oreos shaped like heart candies; heart-shaped chocolate-and-vanilla coated Rice Krispie treats. All are $19.99 each.
Most expensive Valentine's Day item: The Ultimate Romance-Three Days of Love package, costing $450, includes red roses, chocolates, crystal pendant and spa items, sent on three consecutive days.

Prices for red roses: $39.99-$49.99 for 12 red roses; $69.99 and $79.99 for 18 red roses and 24 red roses (plus vases), respectively. For red roses arranged at a local florist, prices range from $49.99 for six up to $519.99 for 100; $89.99 to $144.99 for 12 to 24 red roses arranged and delivered on the same day.
Least expensive items:Teddy bear, 12 mixed roses (no vase), Ghiradelli chocolate tin, box of Mrs. Field's sweets, a single red rose, mini rose plant. All are $19.99 each.
Most expensive: A bouquet of 12 roses -- six red, six pink-in a glass vase. $699.99.

Prices for red roses: $39.99 to $69.98 for 12 red roses (low price, just for flowers; high price includes teddy bear and $14.99 vase); $49.99 to $64.98 for 18 red roses (low price, no vase; high price includes $14.99 vase); $59.98 to $72.97 for 24 red roses (low price, no vase; high price includes $12.99 vase). No local florist option, but Proflowers offers long-stem varieties from $49.98 (12, no vase) up to $219.93 (includes 36 roses, dipped strawberries, bonus bouquet, red vase).
Least expensive items:Heart-shaped box of chocolates, grower's choice bouquet with no vase, red plant in ladybug-shaped pot. All are $19.99 each.
Most expensive:Deluxe Week of Romance includes five consecutive days of shipments, including 20 tulips, a heart necklace, 12 hand-dipped strawberries, potted Valentine's Day roses and 24 long-stem red roses. $299.97.

Prices for red roses: Kiss of the Rose bouquet $59.95 to $109.94 (low price, six red roses; high price, premium package (approximately 12 roses) and either a large stuffed animal or large box of chocolates); All My Heart Bouquet, $69.95 to $139.94 (low price, eight red roses; high price, 12 red roses and large stuffed animal or large box of chocolates); True Romance bouquet, $79.95 to $149.94 (low price, 12 red roses; high price, approximately 24 red roses and large stuffed animal or large box of chocolates). All flowers delivered by a local florist.
Least expensive items:Hugs and Kisses bouquet, Radiantly Red tulips bouquet, Precious Pink tulips bouquet, Stratford Gardens bouquet. All items start at $39.95.
Most expensive:Forever Beloved red roses bouquet includes 30 red roses and large box of chocolates or a large stuffed animal for $224.94.

What we think: We don't have much love for Proflowers -– you can't even search for items from the lowest price to the highest. We're not so infatuated with Teleflora either -– the selection is a bit limited, some of the rose bouquets don't specify how many flowers are in them, and you're forced to opt for locally arranged flowers, which are pricier than the shipped variety.

That leaves FTD and 1-800-Flowers, both of which give plenty of great options (including shipped and locally arranged flowers) and offer a good assortment of unique gifts starting at $19.99. But ultimately, 1-800-Flowers has slightly better prices than FTD, and right now it's offering 20% Valentine's gift purchases. Fine print -– they have to be delivered Feb. 11 to 13. Valentine's Day is not included. Regardless, we're in love.

Piet Levy's Compare and Contrast breaks down the prices and perks for products and services that college kids want, and posts them on WalletPop's Money College page. Send suggestions, including items or services that you want written about, to
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