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Every Rose Has Its Thorn

A dozen red roses could run you $100 if you don't shop wisely. Here's how to save.

K. Shelby Skrhak

Now is not the time of year to be labeled a cheapskate, but the deal tracking site, Dealnews.com, shares these ways to save a bucks this Valentine’s Day. 

DealNews.com carefully tracks prices and sales year after year to provide historical data on the best times to buy various popular products. They say the beginning of February typically brings price increases in, you guessed it, jewelry and flowers.

The average cost for a dozen red roses on Valentine’s Day is approximately $80, up from $73 in 2011, according to the Society of American Florists. The trend continues year after year as the cost of farming, manual harvesting and shipping flowers for this “one-day” holiday (you can’t deliver a dozen roses on Feb. 15) increases.

National or local? Most national florists (Teleflora, FTD) use affiliate florists in towns across the country but offer the advantage of discounts and coupon codes that local florists typically don’t. Search "promo code" before completing your online purchase or consider purchasing a Groupon for up to 50 percent off your purchase.

Local florists aren’t always cheaper but provide better customer service. You avoid hefty service fees of the national retailers, but may pay higher prices to cover overhead. Go local if you have a favorite florist whose quality you trust.

Grocery store and warehouse stores are great options for buying roses, but quality varies widely. Look for well-chilled blooms with closed buds, or better yet, have the store florist select a dozen for you.

Try something different. Florists say men seem pre-programmed to purchase a dozen long-stem red roses for Valentine's Day, but there's plenty of other options. Choose a unique bloom such as calla lillies or orchids, or a different color of rose. You'll get more for the money.

If your flowers show up less than perfect, ask for a replacement. Large retailers such as ProFlowers have satisfaction guaranteed policies and will ship a replacement if the vase shows up broken or the flowers die after a few days.

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