Valentine's Day wouldn't be the same without chocolates and jewelry. But as much as we appreciate both, true deal hunters know this isn't where the savings lie. In fact, both items are typically cheaper during the weeks after Valentine's. So we sifted through last year's best Valentine's Day deals to predict where you'll find the real value this year.
Cupid Arrives in January
Retailers are always looking for a way to get consumers to shop, so it's no surprise that last year Valentine's Day deals began on January 22 with a stackable coupon code from Cost Plus World and a 15% off coupon from Blue Nile. Grouponalso kick-started Valentine's Day early with a 50% off FTD voucher.
However, that pales in comparison to 2015. This year, our first Valentine's Day deal was posted on January 15, a full week earlier than 2013. The deal, courtesy of Cherishables, offered a free personalized Valentine's Day photo card. That deal was quickly followed by Amazon's Valentine's Day jewelry sale, which started on January 16 and extends through February 14.
Other early sales we've seen this year include sitewide sales from Perfumania, Valentine's Day decor sales from Kohl's, and an early jewelry sale from Szul. Fortunately, most of these sales will extend through February 14th, so don't worry if you happen to miss anything. Just keep in mind that as you read this, many Valentine's Day sales have already begun.
Jewelry and Flowers Reign Supreme
Of the many deals we listed last year, jewelry and flowers were the most dominant, accounting for 35% and 17% of all Valentine's Day deals respectively. For jewelry, expect to see aggressive discounts ranging from 60% to 94% off. Retailers to look out for include Szul, Jewelry.com, Blue Nile, Sears, and Amazon.
While some of those sales won't top our best April deals (which are traditionally the best jewelry discounts we see all year), they're still respectable discounts when compared to the rest of the year. For instance, last Valentine's Day, Szul took from 60% to 91% off select items with an extra 5% off. Weeks later during the month of April, Szul discounted the same jewelry, but this time by up to 93% with the same extra 5% off.
Szul wasn't the only retailer to do this. Last April, Amazon took up to 78% off diamond jewelry, whereas during Valentine's Day the retailer took 75% off women's heart necklaces only. It's a subtle difference, but we've found that the jewelry deals in April tend to offer more variety and slightly better discounts. That's not to say you'll find bad deals in the coming weeks, but consumers should know that what you buy today could be cheaper in April.
Likewise, flowers will see better discounts in April. Last February, 1-800-Flowers took up to 30% off select items, whereas in April the same retailer took 40% off the same items. A slightly safer bet is to get your flowers using vouchers or credits from daily deal sites like Groupon. These deals typically offer savings of up to 50% on purchases from retailers like FTD. Last February, for instance, Groupon offered a $40 FTD credit for $20. It offers the same discount again in April. Our only recommendation is to make sure there are no restrictions or blackout dates on any voucher you buy.
Opt for Perfume Over Chocolate
By now we all know and expect to see overpriced chocolates on Valentine's Day. For instance,Godiva took 15% off its products last Valentine's Day, but later it took up to 50% off its chocolates during one of its semi-annual sales. The same can be said of Ghirardelli, which was only discounted by 5% in February, but later saw discounts of up to 20% off. As tied to the holiday as they are, chocolates are the one item you should definitely pass on if you're looking to save some money. Instead, we recommend you opt for perfume.
Although they only accounted for 6% of last year's Valentine's Day deals, perfume sales were strong during the month of February, beaten only by Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. Perfumania had a particularly memorable sale last February, taking 30% off sitewide with a stackable $10 off $50 coupon. By comparison, the same retailer took 35% off sitewide on Cyber Monday, which was its best discount of the year. Target also had an impressive deal last Valentine's Day, bundling a complimentary third fragrance with the purchase of any two fragrances. So you could either stock up on your significant other's favorite fragrances, or buy two as a gift and save one for yourself. That was the retailer's best fragrance sale of the year.
Say It With a Personalized Gift
Sometimes the best gifts are the smallest ones. Fortunately, the days leading up to Valentine's Day see a significant amount of deals on small items that can be easily personalized. For instance, you could take advantage of Shutterfly's or Groupon's various card offerings to create your own personalized Valentine's Day card or photo album. Alternatively, you can turn to Google Play or Amazon for free or cheap MP3 downloads that you can then use to create a personalized playlist for your significant other. Retailers like Walmart and GOG will also discount DVDs and video game downloads, respectively, for a cozy night in.
So while there are various items that will sell at or slightly above their usual price on Valentine's Day, with a little patience and help from our deal hunters it's possible to find the right Valentine's Day gift regardless of your budget.