Valentine's Day is a time-honored celebration of love, and it's natural to want to give the world to those we love; after all, nothing is too good for our partners, friends, and mothers. But even for those who deem Cupid's favorite day a mere Hallmark holiday, there can be some joy on February 14 — in the form of sweet, sweet V-Day deals.
Thankfully for those who are forced to spend less on a gift this year, you can give a token of your love to each of your Valentines with a number of gifts that appear more expensive than they really are. Whether these mementos hold value as sentimental artifacts, are on your lover's wish list, or fulfill a need, the following ideas have the ability to make your giftee think you splurged, when you really just shopped wisely. But may we recommend you shop sooner rather than later, as Valentine's Day sales are strongest in the first week of February.
Regardless of how easily this gem is now produced, the pearl still exudes an air of class and elegance over other jewelry. (For some though, it might just seem stuffy, so make sure you know your audience with this one.) We periodically see inexpensive options — like this 9mm White Freshwater Pearl Necklace ($14.99 via coupon code "dealnews25" with free shipping, a low by $9) — that have the luster and weight of true pearls that the average person will associate with a much pricier product.
Gifts Bought with a Store Credit
Although Groupon and LivingSocial frequently offer credits for beauty deals at local spas, we also sometimes see noteworthy offers from retailers like Old Navy, ShoeMall, or Threadless. You can use such a credit to purchase your lover something he or she has had an eye on for a while, even if it's a tad pricey. These store credits-at-a-discount allow shoppers to buy more valuable items than theirs budget would otherwise allow. You can also give the promotional value to a store as a gift without the recipient knowing what you paid for it. (Bonus points if you manage to recommend a friend to the deal site, score a referral credit, and use that to buy the store voucher.)
We were inclined to title this option "something from ThinkGeek," but really, anything that has a high quirk factor and that suits your Valentine's sense of humor will surely be a nice thought. In other words: the coolness of the gift will likely override the actual value of the item. You might have to expend a bit more creative energy than usual though, since this type of gift works best when it really fits the personality of the recipient. But if they happen to like Star Wars or Dr. Who, you're pretty golden at ThinkGeek. We're fans of the 8-Bit Rose and 8-Bit Flower Bouquet ($14.99 each with about $6 s&h) as much as we are of the pictured Pixel Heart Heat Changing Mug ($11.49 with $4.95 s&h, a low by $2). It wouldn't hurt to fill the latter with an assortment of Hershey's Hugs and Kisses.
Gifts That Play Up Nostalgia
A sentimental connection to an item is the easiest way to give it transcendental value. Think back to your first date: was it romantic or funny in any special way? A thoughtful and inexpensive way to shower the one you love could be to revisit a memorable detail from the evening or present your lover with a token that embodies your journey together so far. Maybe you initially connected over a mutual love for a particular sports team or band, or perhaps you started dating after a rom-com worthy run-in at a local bar or restaurant. Unfortunately, we can't steer you towards any one particular deal to play up the nostalgia factor, but a bit of thoughtfulness can make even something relatively inexpensive a priceless gift.
Cheap Cashmere Sweaters or Accessories
The feel of cashmere is unmatched, and giving something so soft and elegant doesn't have to cost a fortune, either. Because the material itself connotes value, pure-cashmere sweaters will naturally cost more than a cotton blend, but the latter will still carry the cashmere cachet. Kohl's frequently has inexpensive cashmere styles, like the Apt. 9 Women's Cowlneck Cashmere Sweater ($50 with $6.95 s&h, $75 off; search for a Kohl's coupon), while Macy's offers sweaters starting at $25. It's also worth checking out the ongoing winter sales for clearance prices on luxurious accessories.
Sometimes it pays to go the extra mile and personalize an otherwise commonplace, albeit often needed, article for your Valentine. We recommend opting for quality accessories in simple styles that are also easily personalized. For the fellas, a monogramed Leatherology Men's Leather Billfold Coin Wallet (from $69 with $10 monogramming and free shipping) in seven colors (Chocolate Brown pictured) is both practical and thoughtful. And for the ladies, perhaps a Puffed Heart Bracelet with "love" engraved on it and a free Filigree Oval Box ($43 via coupon code "LOVE" with $8.95 s&h, a low by $17) will make her smile. For everything else, Personalization Mall is taking 25% off personalized Valentine's Day gifts with an extra 15% off through Valentine's Day.
Bath & Body Works BOGO Items
Bath & Body Works's Signature Collection of lotions, body wash, and scents can be rather expensive if bought one at a time, since prices start at $11 a pop. But for the person who has a lot of love to give (and subsequently, many gifts to bestow upon friends and family) this year, opting for one of Bath & Body Works' frequent buy one get one sales, cuts the per-unit price by almost half. And while such sales are far more common at the aforementioned retailer, we sometimes find similar sales from The Body Shop as well. Why not piece together some DIY gift sets and let your Valentines indulge in sweet, clean, and refreshing scents.
Any Editors' Choice Valentine's Day Deal
The best way to give someone a Valentine's Day gift that seems more expensive than it really is? Buy something at a significant discount! That's exactly what you'll find in our Editors' Choice section, as it's filled with all-time low prices and great gifts for Cupid's favorite holiday. Some of the items will still fall into the upper levels of your budget, but it's an excellent, fool-proof guide to getting your dollar to stretch its furthest. And lower-priced goods make for excellent stocking stuffers!
There's no shame in shopping with a budget, ever. In fact, knowing your limits before you start punching in your credit card info will help prevent excessive spending and let you hone in on finding the right gift for the one you love within your means. If there's someone on your list however that just won't fit any of the options above, make sure to keep an eye on our constantly-updated Valentine's Day gifts tab for more ideas.Note that this feature has been updated since it was originally published last year.
Front page photo credit: Coupon Trade Blog