Don’t Get Screwed On Valentine’s Day: Cards And Gifts

Valentines Day price gouging makes us frown, so we’re putting together some tips to help you save money… while not seeming cheap. Ok, you might seem a little cheap, but savvy consumerism can be sexy. Next: Cards and Gifts

Make Your Own Cards Using Cheap Materials. You can spend a fortune making cards from expensive organic imported paper and soy ink stamps. Don’t do that. Let Martha Stewart’s people do that. You want to make cards out of pictures you’ve cut out of old catalogs, netflix wrappers, buttons you will never, ever, ever sew onto anything, and dollar store paper doilies. In fact, if you do make something really neat out of recycled crap, send us a scan at marco at consumerist dot com.

Send Weird Dollar Store Cards. Let’s face it. Valentine’s Day cards are tacky anyway. Try to find the cheapest tackiest cards you can. It’ll make your friends laugh, trust us. We do this whenever we send a card.

Get Your Valentine Something Thoughtful. Make something, or locate something your valentine always wanted. Perhaps you could do something your valentine has been putting off. “Look babydoll, I did your taxes! Check out the home office deduction!” The more thoughtful the gift, the less you have to spend to make up for the fact that deep down you’re a thoughtless jerk.

Buy Kid’s Valentine’s Cards on Clearance the Year Before. Ok, well, too late. But you can get some this year for next year.

Learn to Fold A Paper Rose. People dig the paper rose. Also, the paper rose is cheap. Just like you! In a good way. Learn to fold one!

If You Must Buy Evil Expensive Jewelry, BlueNile is an online retailer that has high quality stuff for less than the 5th Ave-type stores, so we’ve heard. We’re sure there are others.—MEGHANN MARCO

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  1. “Get Your Valentine Something Thoughtful. Make something, or locate something your valentine always wanted. Perhaps you could do something”

    This works well. I read an entire 500-page book on automotive maintenance a couple years ago for Valentine’s Day so that I could be part of the conversation when my car-guy husband gets all amped up about something car-ish.

    It didn’t really work because I still find it insanely boring, but he was really touched that I went to all that trouble just to share one of his interests.

  2. CookiesEtc says:

    It’s also very simple to make you own pink candy hearts. Craft stores or baking/candy supply stores sell everything you need and it’s very easy.

  3. thwarted says:

    Those cheesy Blue Mountain cards work well too, especially if the person is just a friend. They’re hilarious.

  4. gte910h says:

    Blue Nile is awesome. They’ve been the only source of jewelery for my wife and I since 2004 (including her engagement ring).

    They have awesome customer service and great delivery times. They’re a small company (

    A diamond is a diamond is a diamond. They use the same labs all premium diamond jewelers do. And they charge a heck of a lot less, and have many pieces of a kind I only see in “upper tier” jewelers.

  5. ChazB says:

    For fans of The Simpsons, you can download and cut out full color reproductions of the valentines that Ralph and Lisa gave each other. They can be found here. I found them via BoingBoing in 2005 and have given one to my fiance each year since. She loves them! She’s getting “I Choo Choo Choose You” again this year along with her obligatory store bought card.

  6. Clare says:

    Some of you might want to order your SOs flowers for Valentine’s Day. As someone who has worked in a flower shop since she was old enough to push a broom, I applaud you for doing so.

    As much as we all love the internets, in my experience, flowers are not something to order over the Web. My suggestion is to use Teleflora or FTD to find a florist, then call the shop on the phone to place your order. At least in my shop, you get better service that way.

    If you’re going to order flowers, order them early. If you have an odd request (calla lilies, roses in a non-standard color, sunflowers and orchids are the biggest ones we get on V-Day) order even earlier! If you call on February 13 and ask for something unusual, we’ve sold it to someone who asked for it before you.

    Keep an open mind and be creative–if you have a florist you like a lot, tell him or her to do his or her own thing. Chances are, you’ll get something different and unique.

  7. adamondi says:

    I am surprised that there haven’t been twenty “Valentines Day is an evil, artificial, corporate-manufactured holiday and I refuse to do anything for it” comments on this post like there were for the Flowers post a few days back.

    I like the fact that you have stuck with the topic and are continuing to provide good tips for saving cashola on V-Day.

  8. Clare says:

    Clearly, I have been in a coma for the last few days. Oy.

  9. Rahnee says:

    last year i bought a few rolls of cheap toilet paper and rolled my wifes car for Valentines day.

  10. flyover says:

    Sorry to burst your bubble adamondi – my bf & I decided to celebrate our anniversary instead of valentine’s day. Much more personalized and special.
    Both of us would rather spend money elsewhere than on valentine’s day – FWIW on things that involve both of us, skiing etc.

  11. Paul D says:

    Or, you know, you could just not participate in this fabricated marketing sham.

    I cherish my wife 24/7/365. I’m not buying anything special on February 14 just on the floral industry’s say-so.

    Valentine’s day is nothing but marketing.