Skip the traditional roses and save on Valentine’s Day

Skip the traditional roses and save on Valentine’s Day

Everyone knows that the price of roses and other flowers skyrocket for Valentine’s Day, so what options are available if you still want to make a lovely Valentine’s Day for someone special?

Valentine’s Day is known to see the prices of roses skyrocket, and some people happily pay it, sending their credit cards into a frenzy for one day.

In fact, the closer you get to Valentine’s Day, the more you should be prepared to spend. Much like how when you tell florists that they’re supplying for a “wedding” as opposed to a “party” to and the cost of services rises, the same is true with February 14. Wait long enough and your regular twelve buck roses on any regular day will suddenly jump to $40, $50, or more.

But red flowers don’t have to be the only Valentine’s Day gift idea you have to go with, because there are plenty of other choices that you can spend on, and even a few you won’t have to go all out with.

Valentine’s Day gifts you can spend on

Roses are a Valentine’s Day given, but they don’t have to be the be-all end-all when it comes to V-Day gifting choices. You can easily gift plenty of other things, from the old mainstay of chocolate to these charming gift ideas below.

Tempting Scents

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Price: $15 to $50

Take a walk down to a bath products store like a Lush or Body Shop, or any store that sells scented products, and you might be able to find a nice candle, soap, or something else that says “relax” and “I love you”.

Bouquet of Beer

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Price: $20 to $40

This one can be ordered by online services, or you can do it yourself. Buy a small bucket or a box from a cheap shop, grab a six pack, and throw them in. Feel free to decorate with either some flowers or chocolates to make it more “floral”, and voila: you have a bouquet of beer.

Box of Bubbly

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Price: $30 to $80

Roses don’t last long, and neither does a glass of bubbly, but at least you can enjoy the latter with someone more than the former flowers. Grab a small coloured box from your local cheap shop, a bottle of their favourite sparkling wine, and maybe a couple of new glasses to create your own special hamper. If you add a punnet of strawberries, the package gets even better.

Spa Day

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Price: $90 to $300

While a glass of bubbly can be lovely, a day to treat can be even better, with a day at the spa, day with a masseuse, or just a day to relax and unwind while they’re treated kindly by the pros. You can give this to anyone, man or woman, and it can even come with a gift certificate, which most spas will be all too happy to provide.

Valentine’s Day gifts you can give for not much at all

Valentine’s Day may be the time when it’s typical to spend money on roses, chocolates, scented candles, and oversized plush teddy bears that need a seat of their own on the bus ride home, but it’s also a time when you can just be romantic and give something without taking out that bank card.

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A home-cooked dinner
Thinking of reminding that special someone just how special they are to begin with? Consider grabbing a few ingredients on the commute home and preparing a home-cooked dinner for them, telling your someone to put their feet up and letting you do the work.

Remember to grab something nice for dessert, unless you feel like getting those baking mitts on, too.

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Write a poem
A little bit on the sappy side, you can always write a poem for your partner, and read it to them. Alternatively, write several, roll them up, seal them with a rubber band, and throw them in a small jar as a cute gift for the home.

You can tell your partner that your love for them is all there, and they only need to open it and find out.

stock-massage-masseuse-hands Massage
While the spa is a nice idea, they can get expensive, and you can always do it yourself. Consider picking up a candle or soy melts to make the home a little more relaxing, put on some slow music, and offer your hands up for an hour or so.

Remember that you don’t necessarily need Valentine’s Day to do any of these for someone, and can bring a smile and a bit of a surprise to anyone if you choose to do one of these things any day of the year. But if you pick a day that isn’t Valentine’s Day, you might just save a little bit of money on the things that cost something to begin with.

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Learn more about credit cards

How do credit cards work?

Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.

How to get money from a credit card

You can get money from a credit card, but generally it will cost you.

Withdrawing money from a credit card is called a cash advance, as it operates more as a loan than a simple cash withdrawal. Because it is a loan, you may be charged interest on your cash advance as soon as you make the withdrawal. Interest rates are also usually much higher for cash advances than standard credit card purchases.

In addition to the interest rate, you may also be charged a cash advance fee. This could be a flat rate, or a percentage of your total cash advance. If you are considering a cash advance, make sure to add up how much it will cost you before committing.

What should you do when you lose your credit card?

Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.

Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.

Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.

Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.

Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.

How long does it take to get a credit card?

There are a few stages you need to go through to get a credit card; each one takes a different length of time.

Applying for the card online, over the phone or in person is the fastest step. This usually takes around 15 minutes, provided you have all of your documents handy.

After submitting your application, it usually takes between one to 10 business days for the lender to assess your eligibility. Some lenders offer instant approval, although you will need to send supporting documents before it is official.

Once your application has been approved, expect to wait between one to 14 days to receive your card in the mail. Keep in mind that delays can happen during busy periods, such as if the lender has launched a special deal.

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a payment method which lets you pay for goods and services without using your own money. It’s essentially a short-term loan which lets you borrow the bank’s money to pay for things which you can pay back – potentially with interest – at a later date. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw money from an ATM, which is known as a cash advance. Because you’re borrowing money from a bank, credit cards charge you interest on the money you use (unless you repay the entire debt during the interest-free period). When you apply for a credit card, the bank gives you a credit limit which sets the maximum amount you can borrow using your card. Credit cards are one of the most popular methods of payments and can be a convenient way of paying for goods and services in store, online and all around the globe.

How do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.

How do you pay off credit cards?

The best way to pay off a credit card bill is to set a realistic spending budget and stick to it. Each month, you’ll get a credit card statement detailing how much you owe and how long it will take to pay off the balance by making minimum repayments. If you only make the minimum repayments, it will take you years to pay off your outstanding balance and add extra costs in interest charges. To avoid any extra charges, you should pay the entire bill. 

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

Monthly repayment

This is how much you can afford to pay on a monthly basis off your credit card. You can enter any amount you wish; but to make the balance transfer worthwhile the default is $200.

Are there credit cards for students?

Yes, there are credit cards available with students in mind. These can help young Australians to build their credit report and learn crucial life skills around budgeting and managing personal finances.

Which credit card has the highest annual percentage rate?

The credit card market changes all the time, so the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate is also liable to change.

Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are expressed as a yearly rate, or annual percentage rate (APR). A low APR is generally good but also consider:

  • There can be different APR's for each feature of the card (e.g. purchases may have an APR of 14 per cent, while cash advances on same card could have an APR of 17 per cent.
  • Credit cards with a variable rate can change throughout the year, affecting your APR, so check the full details.
  • If you pay your balance in full every month, having the lowest APR is not as important as the other fees associated with the card. However, if you carry a balance from month to month, then you want the lowest APR possible.

How do you cancel a credit card?

It’s important to cancel your old cards to avoid any additional fees. Unless you’re doing a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay the outstanding balance before you cancel your credit card. If you’ve opted for a card with reward points, make sure you redeem or transfer the points before you close your account. To avoid any bounced payments and save yourself an admin headache, redirect all your direct debits to a new card or account. Once you’ve done all the preparation, call your bank or credit card provider to get the cancellation underway. Once you receive a confirmation letter, destroy your card and make sure the numbers aren’t legible.

What is the lowest monthly repayment on my credit card?

As a rule of thumb, this tends to be around 2-3 per cent of the outstanding balance. You can choose how much you want to repay each billing period as long as it is higher than this minimum required amount.