Save up to 80% on Valentine's Day cards and presents by swapping shop

Be my downshifted valentine?

As The Beatles sang, money can't buy me love... but it can buy Valentine's Day cards and presents if that's your thing. Yet even if you've chosen to give gifts or cards this year, why pay more than you have to? Will you dare to 'downshift' your Valentine, or do you think that idea sounds s-cupid?

Now, it may seem wrong for me to suggest spending less on buying sweeties for your, er, sweetie on what’s supposedly the most romantic day of the year – but hear me out. Many think Valentine's is a day for companies to make big bucks – which also isn't wrong – so if you want to get a little something (a card, get your mind out of the gutter!) then why not keep costs down like you would with anything else?

I looked in a few shops to see if I could spot any common trends – cute avocados, cups of tea and doughnuts all seem popular on cards this year – and whether you can downshift your spending without it being obvious to your Valentine. Of course, if your Valentine is a MoneySaver, they may even love you more for spending less.

If you’re feeling inspired, see our Valentine's Day Deals, or check out our Supermarket Downshift Challenge for how to save on groceries by swapping between brands.

Where to find a cheaper Valentine’s Day card…

Just looking in card shops seemed a bit too easy – and I like a challenge – so to get a range of prices, I had a look at cards in Paperchase, TK Maxx, Asda, Aldi and Home Bargains, and it turns out you can find some very similar cards. You’ll notice some are technically birthday cards, so might not be suitable for a Valentine’s Day swap – but I’ve included them anyway as I think they illustrate the point of how you can save on similar-looking cards by switching shop…

Cute and very punny is what I look for in a partner as well as a card
Shop I visited Card design Price, high to low (❤️ to💚)
Paperchase* 🥑 Avocado (plain card) ❤️ £2.75
TK Maxx 🥑 Avocado 💛 £1.99
Home Bargains 🥑 Avocado (birthday card) 💚 29p
Paperchase* ☕ Tea (birthday card) ❤️ £2.75
Asda ☕ Tea 💛 £1.50
Home Bargains ☕ Tea 💚 79p
Paperchase* 🍩 Doughnut ❤️ £3 
Asda 🍩 Doughnut 💛 £2
Home Bargains 🍩 Doughnut 💚 49p

As you can see, if you're looking for a cute doughnut card you could save about 80% by ditching Paperchase for Home Bargains instead. It’s worth me adding, these are just the cards I've seen in shops I've checked this week, so you could save more or less depending on what your local shops have in stock.

What about presents?

While I was in the same four shops, I spotted a few cute novelty items which again had a similar appearance to pricier ones, but obviously this all depends on taste. Below are some examples of what I spotted – unfortunately, doughnuts weren’t as prevalent in the gifts section so I compared heart-shaped boxes instead.

Don't be forever in debt, listen to my priceless advice (Ok, I'll stop singing Nirvana now)
Shop I visited Item Price, high to low (❤️ to 💚)
Paperchase* 🥑 Avocado toy ❤️ £9 (was £18)
Aldi 🥑 Avocado toy 💚 £3.99
TK Maxx ❤️ Heart-shaped box ❤️ £2.49
Poundland ❤️ Heart-shaped box 💚 £1
Funky Pigeon ☕ Cuppa tea mug (personalised) ❤️ £10.98 delivered
Home Bargains ☕ Hot-tea mug 💚 £1.49

So, comparing gifts is less of an exact science than cards, but even at £9 in the sale the Paperchase avocado toy is a fiver more than Aldi's similarly cute offering. Though the more expensive one does heat up if that's what you're looking for.

In Japan, where I’ve done a lot of travelling, it’s traditional for women to make chocolates for Valentine's Day, and that’s precisely what I did for the lucky folk I work with here at MSE Towers (with a bit of a ‘saucy’ twist – see my ‘How I made £3ish choc truffles with ketchup’ blog). I packaged them in the £1 heart-shaped box I found in Poundland above.

Funky Pigeon's mug is personalised, so of course it's going to be more expensive, but to save £10+ I think the Home Bargains version is just as cute at £1.29. Unless they don't like tea, then you've already gone wrong. Did I mention being single is the most MoneySaving option on Valentine's Day?

Would you 'downshift' your Valentine's Day? Do you think your Valentine would notice? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter.