Store windows are crammed with hearts, flowers and teddy bears. But the huge focus on "traditional" romantic gifts (and the markups that come with them) hides the other good deals shoppers can score right now.
So if you're not obligated to show up somewhere with a dozen roses and a box of chocolates, here are some good suggestions of ways for getting terrific bang for your buck this weekend.
Shop President's Day promotions. Who needs a bridal shower? Spiff up your crib all by yourself. This year, Valentine's Day overlaps with President’s Day weekend, so you can score deals typical President's Day sale items. “It's a good weekend to make big-ticket home goods purchases, like furniture and mattresses," said Kendal Perez, marketing manager for CouponSherpa.com, ticking off a list of retailers promoting big sales. "Sears is offering up to 60% off mattresses, while Pottery Barn is advertising up to 60% off during their President's Day sale and Wayfair is touting savings of up to 70% off." The markdowns are steep because retailers want to make room for new styles that are coming into their showrooms. "Since new furniture styles arrive in January and February, now is a good time to pick up last year's styles on clearance," she said.
Brent Shelton, shopping expert at FatWallet.com, said this also is a good weekend to pick up major appliances at marked-down prices. Best Buy is cutting prices by up to 30% off major appliances, Sears is knocking 50% off the regular prices of its Kenmore Elite and Pro lines of cooking appliances, and Lowe’s is taking up to 25% off select major appliances that normally sell for $396 or more.
Pamper yourself. Groupon has a Valentine's Day gift guide singles shouldn't pass up, pointed out Jon Lal, founder and CEO of BeFrugal.com. After all, you don't need a partner to get a discounted spa treatment or indulge your sweet tooth.
Stock up on cold-weather apparel. You can clean up on winter clothes and gear right about now. “Partly due to the mild winter but also because retailers are starting to look ahead to spring right about now, so there's a ton of inventory to clear out," says Brad Wilson of BradsDeals.com, "we've been watching some of the best prices we've ever seen on higher end brands like The North Face and Sorel all winter long.”
Upgrade your electronics. FatWallet's Shelton flagged deals on laptops and Apple products (older models) as prime deals available this weekend. "There’s a definite smorgasbord of clearance in February," he said. "[Electronics sellers] have new inventory coming in the next 90 days, so prices on current inventory are at some of their lowest of the year."
Browse for bargain flowers. Flowers other than roses are going begging this week, so you can brighten up your home or office with cheap tulips, lilies or other blooms. “This week, we saw 100 lilies for just $20, though 20 stems for around $40 is a more representative deal," said Benjamin K. Glaser, features editor at DealNews.com. "We also saw a $40 FTD credit for only $20 from Groupon, which would be useful on a wider range of orders." (Just FYI, these deals don't include delivery fees that can tack on another $15 or $20 to your order.)
BYOB (buy your own bling). While jewelry brands promote the heck out of heart-shaped baubles this time of year, there are also some good non-romantic jewelry deals as well. DealNews pointed out these steampunk cufflinks and rose-gold knot bracelet, both from Blue Nile, as solid buys.
Drink up. Brad’s Deals flagged a special promotion from Laithwaite's Wine of 15 bottles of vino for $80, including shipping. (One note: This requires signing up for Laithwaite's quarterly wine club, so if 15 bottles will last you until, oh, next Valentine's Day, make sure you stay on the ball and cancel before the deadline.) If you're more into taps than corks, FatWallet suggests this kegerator from Wayfair.com for $376, a big discount off the list price of $611. Shipping is included for free, but you must supply your own beer.