Valentine's Day is coming up. Are you ready, guys? Every year I see men who haven't planned ahead and have to make last-minute purchases at the end of the business day on Feb. 14. I just know they're getting fleeced on prices!

If you are into romance and saving money, you've got to plan ahead. You've still got time left before the big day, so there's no excuse to be unprepared.

When it comes to the price of roses, even Costco Wholesale marks them up around this time of year. Normally you can get two dozen for around $15 or $16. But during peak season, the warehouse club sells one dozen for around $16, passing along the warehouse club's standard markup of no more than 14% from their wholesalers.

My wife and I have a longstanding tradition where I give her roses about two weeks before Valentine's Day to avoid the markup at the last minute.

One thing I've never understood is why women want their roses delivered by a complete stranger from a floral company. Isn't it more fun to get the roses and hand-deliver them yourself to your wife or girlfriend at the office or at home, instead of having somebody else do it for you?

The personal element is just such a nice touch. Handwriting a declaration of love is likely to be appreciated by many women as well, even if you get the card at a dollar store.

If last-minute flowers are your thing, I suggest going to a supermarket or a nursery for competitive prices.

The supermarkets that have floral departments will often have multiple staffers on hand to accommodate people dashing in for bouquets. Nurseries, meanwhile, see their business drop off in the middle of winter and tend to offer high quality product at a low price to reintroduce themselves to customers this time year. Finally, some online sellers will undercut traditional florists on roses even during this holiday.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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