Valentine's Day rip-offs

Romantic couple holding hands together over candlelight during romantic dinner

You can't buy love, as the saying goes - but showing your love can cost money all the same. Indeed, according to Worldpay, the average Brit spends a little over £45 on Valentine's Day.

What with flowers, a card, a romantic meal out or gift, it can add up to a really expensive day. And the worst thing about it is that you're probably paying much more than you should.

Shops, restaurants and hotels all bump up their prices for Valentine's Day: here are some of the biggest rip-offs.

Cards
All cards are a bit of a rip-off, and Valentine's Day cards are no exception. While high-quality paper is expensive, it's nowhere near enough to explain the £2-£5 price of most cards. But manufacturers expect to make a profit of around 500%, and retailers another 200% on top of that, meaning that the buyer can end up spending ten times what the card cost to produce.

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Flowers
More than 50 million roses are given in the UK every Valentine's Day, with a dozen blooms costing anywhere from a fiver to £50 - substantially more than at other times of the year. Here, though, there is a good excuse, as the enormous demand on Valentine's Day bumps costs up right through the supply chain, from the grower to the delivery company. And this year, thanks to the decline in the pound caused by the Brexit vote, imported flowers will cost even more.

Restaurants
According to Nuts magazine, restaurants typically bump prices up by 10% on Valentine's Day through the use of special 'romantic' menus - which also mean you'll tend to get less choice. Not only that, staff are likely to be rushed off their feet, so you'll almost certainly be getting worse service for your money.

The tricks restaurants use to make you spend more

Hotels
The same applies to romantic getaways, with Valentine's Day and the nearest weekend generally costing at least 10% more than during the rest of February. And with romantic getaways generally including dinner as well, they're getting the mark-up there too - not to mention sales of high-priced fizz.

The good news is that it's perfectly possible to give your loved one a special day without breaking the bank. In past years, Aldi has offered an astonishing 100 roses for just £25, for example.

Would you shop at Aldi for Valentine's Day?

Cards can be home-made, and deals on hotels and restaurants can be found through sites such as Groupon or Wowcher; alternatively you could cook a special meal at home.

"Many people told us they view Valentine's Day as a commercial, money-making gimmick. Or they might choose to celebrate their love throughout the year, rather than focusing on one day," says Florence Buswell of the Money Advice Service.

"Of those that do celebrate it, most would prefer to do it without spending a fortune. Many chose a special home cooked meal over going out, or staying in and watching a film."


7 PHOTOS
Supermarket champagne taste test
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Supermarket champagne taste test

Score: 2/5

"Nice taste but not enough fizz."
"It's harsh at the back of the throat."
"This one's rather flat for me."

The Sainsbury's Taste the Difference might have been one of the priciest bottles of supermarket champagne but the tasters picked up on how quickly it went flat and scored it the same as the other bottle from Sainsbury's at 2/5.

Score: 4.5/5

"Oohh it's like drinking the stars."
"It has a lovely crisp, dryness."
"Well balanced, I could drink more of this."

This champagne had the tasters waxing lyrical and even going on to jokingly quote the forefather of chamagne, Dom Pérignon - "Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!" was falsely attributed to the monk in the late 19th century. They even tried to come back for more after scoring it a near-perfect 4.5/5.

Score: 4/5

"This is tart without being harsh."
"What a deicate flavour."
"This is the most distinctive and bold."

The Asda extra special might have been the cheapest bottle on trial but it packed the biggest flavour punch, scoring highly with the testers on aroma and depth putting it in second place with an average mark of 4/5.

Score: 3.5/5

"This tastes of luxury."
"It's very rich."
"Very smooth and slightly creamy."

Co-op's second offering was well received with all of the tasters praising its rich flavour notes and texture. Co-op's cheaper bottle scored highly enough to secure third place with an average mark of 3.5/5.

Score: 3/5

"Easy to drink and the most citrusy of the bunch."
"It's the most acidic."

"A bit too gassy - burping isn't great for a dinner party!"

The Waitrose champagne might have been one of the cheapest in the trial but it wasn't a favourite with the tasters who consistenly commented on its acidic aftertaste and scored it a mediocre 3/5

Score: 2.5/5

"Pungent smelling and a bit harsh."
"Fruity with very little acidity and quite well balanced."
"It's overpowering, I couldn't drink a lot of it."

Before the labels were hidden the tasters were the most excited to get stuck into this bottle from Marks and Spencer. Despite being the most expensive bottle in the trial, it only scored an average of 2.5/5 putting it in third place.

Score: 2/5

"It's not crisp at all, or fizzy enough."
"It's light, almost too light in fact."
"It tastes like cava to me."

This offering from Sainsbury's fell flat with our tasters, literally. All the testers commented on the lack of fizz and depth leaving the Blanc de Noirs with an average score of 2/5 and in jint bottom place.

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