Flowers are a 'go-to' gift for Valentine's Day, but if you wait too long this year, the prices might just break your heart.
A dozen roses can cost $50, $60 or $70 at many florists these days as inflation takes its toll. When factoring in delivery costs, roses can now cost over $100.
But other options are affordable and just as sweet. Carol Ruffin owns a floral design shop, Blossoms Florist, and knows many people can no longer afford the high price of long-stem roses. She says many alternatives can be just as beautiful.
"If you like carnations, that's an option," she said. "Tulips are great too, or you can do lilies."
Those are often half the price of roses.
"And they still look pretty," she said.
Smart shopping expert Trae Bodgesaid buying flowers can be tricky this time of year because some retailers appear to offer discounts on already elevated prices.
"So, they can look like they're on sale," she said, "but they might be more expensive than usual."
Ruffin said customers need to know that she is not raising prices to profit but is simply passing along her inflated costs, which hit every year around February 1.
Beware of delivery fees online
While it's tempting to order a large bouquet online to save some money, the $15 to $25 dollar delivery fees add up. Instead, Bodge said take time to shop around.
"Compare prices across a few different flower retailers," she said, as prices can vary widely between florists.
If roses are your flower of choice, she suggests looking for a great in-store deal that you can take home to your sweetie.
But supplies are limited, and for Whole Foods, you have to be an Amazon Prime member.
Alternates to pricey roses
You will find even better deals on mixed bouquets at stores like Walmart, Trader Joe's, Kroger, Publix and Costco. You can buy a vase at the dollar store to go with it.
Or consider spring tulips or lilies, as Ruffin suggests.
Meanwhile, Bodge says don't rule out a basket of plants or garden starter kits that are just as special and last much longer.
Finally, Ruffin said if money is tight, there is nothing wrong with just one or two roses.
"To me, if someone even gives me a single rose, it's the thought that counts," she said
And that way you don't waste your money.
"Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
Follow John Matarese:
For more consumer news and money saving advice, go to www.dontwasteyourmoney.com