Ah, flowers. Whether it’s a last-minute option at the grocery store or a masterpiece you’ve planned weeks in advance, a bouquet of flowers is your tried-and-true best bet for a Mother’s Day gift.
Spending on moms is way up, with Americans expected to pay a whopping $2.4 billion for gifts this year, according to the National Retail Federation.
While hopefully you’re a bit more creative than just flowers, most of us opt to bring a bouquet or have one delivered, averaging around $29 each. But if you’re shipping from afar or ordering online, you can easily spend up to $100.
This year, don’t get ripped off on a $100 bouquet that’s already wilting on Monday. Here’s your ultimate guide to buying flowers for Mother’s Day.
Save Money on Flowers
Keep a little more of your hard-earned cash in your pockets while still picking a gorgeous bouquet for mom.
Go With a Local Florist
Order from a florist close to where your mom lives.
Hands down, this is the best way to buy a bouquet that will not only look great, but also cost less in delivery fees. Going local means delivery costs can be half of what you find at bigger florist networks.
“The more local to mom, the better,” says Kerry Bradburn, General Manager at Wild Poppies.
“Even better, spend your money by going directly to a grower. They might not look as professional, but all those big bows and ribbon cost extra and it’s going in the bin anyway.”
BYOB (Bring Your Own Basket)
This only works if you live near your mom, but don’t buy a vase or basket directly from the florist.
Instead, head to a craft store like Michaels for a cute and cheap vase that suits your mom’s taste. If you’re crafty, you might even add a few ribbons or fabric.
Then bring the vase to the florist and have him use it instead.
Don’t Scoff at the Grocery Store
Don’t discount (ha, see what I did there?) places like grocery stores and stalls on the side of the road. Their flowers sometimes sell for as little as $10 a bunch and they’re often local, so you’re not paying a middleman.
If you’re planning to check out the selection at your local grocery store, call and ask what time their flowers are usually delivered.
This way, you can show up right after the fresh batch has arrived to get the best of the bunch before the crowds roll in and pick everything clean.
Mine Coupon Sites
Whatever company you end up choosing, remember that they’re all competing for your business this week.
Just doing a simple search for “flowers” on these sites brought up coupons for 15% off 1-800 Flowers and up to 50% off FTD.
The only problem is that these sites tend to skew towards the bigger flower delivery services, and your flowers might arrive without actually including any of the blooms you saw in the photos. Plus, expect to pay a premium for delivery.
Avoid Flower Shops
Another option? Keep away from flower shops entirely.
“Flower cost is completely driven by demand,” says Kerry. “We pay twice as much for flowers this week, so our prices naturally increase.
“You’ll do better going to the garden center and picking up some beautiful daisy plants. Buy a wire basket and write a cute poem and you’ll make make your mom so happy.
“I’m a mother and I already have everything I need. It’s not so much about what you give, it’s about what you say and what you do.”
A potted plant is a fantastic alternative as your mom can plant it afterward and have a lasting token from you.
Head to your local Home Depot or gardening store for a beautiful alternative that will not only live for months or years, but doesn’t come with the hefty markup of other Mother’s Day gifts.
Get More For Your Money
Yes, we’re here to help you save, but not at the sake of quality. We don’t want you to spend $10 only to have your precious bouquet look like it was run over by a car.
With that in mind, if you are going to splurge on flowers, here’s how to get the most for your money.
Order Single-Flower Bouquets
Mixed bouquets almost always end up being at the florist’s discretion, so if you order a “spring bouquet” and the florist runs out of sunflowers, you’ll get a substitution that looks nothing like the picture.
Order only roses, and you’ll always get roses. They’re also likely to be better quality, since the florist will have ensured she has enough in stock.
“Tulips, lilies and chrysanthemums are the top three best value flowers for Mother’s Day,” says Kerry. Plus, lilies are in season, so you’re more likely to snag a deal on them.
Make Your Flowers Last
“Lilies last the longest,” says Kerry. “If you treat them right, they can keep up to four weeks.”
Tell mom to keep that lovely bouquet out of any hot or sunny rooms.
“Your flowers will last 30% longer if you keep them in the coolest part of the house, away from heaters or windows with direct light.”
Ask Your Florist
If all else fails, just ask the florist for ideas on how to keep your gift affordable!
Say something along the lines of “Look, I’m on a budget. What flower under $20 would be best for my mom?”
Order (and Deliver) Early
Want to really ease your guilt for not going to church anymore? Send flowers early.
Not only will this strategy assure your mom you didn’t order said flowers as a last-ditch effort because you actually forgot Mother’s Day, but you won’t be competing with every other guilty son, daughter and spouse.
This means your blooms will be fresher, you’re less likely to experience substitutions and there’s less risk of the flowers arriving late.
Your Turn: Do you have any last-minute tips for those of us scrambling to find something gorgeous and affordable for our moms on Sunday?
Marian Schembari is a writer and blogger based in Düsseldorf, Germany by way of San Francisco. She writes about travel, creativity and spends way too much time on the internet.