5 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Have someone special you want to surprise this Valentine’s Day? Don’t want to give the “standard” gift of flowers and chocolate? Here’s 5 gift ideas for all budgets to add pizzazz and sparks to your gift giving plans!

Little Miss Cupcake

1. Cozy Wine and Dine: Who doesn’t love a fabulous home cooked meal with their loved ones? Channel your “inner-gourmet” with a glam new recipe and a bottle of wine to go with it. Where to find that recipe and wine? Try these sites:

  • Gilt Taste: Find tasty recipes ready to cook as well as tips on preparation and food items to purchase at Gilt Taste. Be sure to check out the gourmet food deals to compliment your menu. A boon for the foodie in you. A mouthful of happiness for your someone special!
  • Gilt Wine: Find a wine that best compliments your gourmet meal with Gilt Taste’s weekly wine deals. Make your oenophile’s taste buds happy.
  • WinesTilSoldOut: Follow your home cooked meal with a special bottle of wine. And why not get that wine at a steal! If you don’t have a discount wine store nearby, there’s plenty of tasty wine deals here.

Gilt Taste

2. A Night on The Town: Don’t want to channel your inner chef? Why not try out a fab new restaurant without breaking the bank? Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest nights for restaurants, so if you are planning an evening on the town, make sure you plan ahead with reservations. However, if crowds aren’t your pleasure, why not celebrate another night? Consider an early Valentine’s Day dinner on Monday. Or perhaps a nightclub the following Saturday. These websites offer daily delectable deals perfect for your night out. Sign up and have the latest offers delivered straight to your e-mail:

  • Groupon Deals: Find yourself eating up a great deal at a Zagat rated gastronomically delightful restaurant special discovered at Groupon.
  • Gilt City: Dance the night away with specials of all kinds and make it a night on the town to remember thanks to a Gilt City special.

Gilt City

3. Baubles and Trinkets: Looking for a “gift from the heart” for your Valentine’s Day sweetheart? Perhaps a hand-crafted necklace is the answer for a special woman in your life. And for that special man, here’s a few ideas too!

  • Gilt Gifts for Women: Finding the right necklace can be a bit overwhelming. Why not let Gilt guide you to the perfect piece, and save enough to also get those matching earrings!
  • Gilt Gifts for Men: Find a sweet Valentine’s gift for that sweet man with Gilt Men’s gift guide.
  • Etsy: Want a gift as unique as your someone special? Etsy might just have it! Let Etsy’s artists and crafters’s Valentine’s Day Gift guide find you the perfect “something special.”
  • RetailMeNot Idea List: Stumped for ideas? Then why not let RetailMeNot be your guide. RetailMeNot has compiled an extensive list of shopping ideas in a variety of categories, all at bargain prices! You gotta love that deal!
  • Gifting Grace: Still not sure what to get? Perhaps Gifting Grace’s Valentine’s Day gift guide will have the answer. Be sure to check for coupons with RetailMeNot! Right now, use GG25D to can get 25% off a $100 purchase.

Gifting Grace

4. Framed Memories: A gift that keeps on showing the love! Favorite photos can become great budget conscious gifts. Create a custom 2012 calendar, photo album or coffee mug that shows your love for months and years to come. Simply upload your photos to one of the several online digital photoshops and let them help you create a truly custom gift. Sites such as Shutterfly make it easy.

  • Shutterfly: Act fast to take advantage of Shutterfly’s current sale on “all gifts photo” and to ensure an on time delivery. Don’t forget coupon code SHIP30 for free shipping and Mr. Rebates for an additional 5% cash back rebate!
  • Target Photo: Need a last minute photo gift? Upload your photo to Shutterfly, and then with the “Print Local” feature, have your photos printed at Target that same day. Then drive on over, pick up your photo, and head over to Target’s Home Goods section for the perfect picture frame. Shazaam! A great last minute gift. Don’t forget to print your applicable Target Photo Coupon for additional savings.

5. Weekend Getaway: How about a romantic escape to reconnect with your special someone? Valentine’s Day is on a Tuesday, not a weekend this year, but that’s ok! Gift a weekend getaway in a Valentine’s Day card, and escape the following weekend. Several sites offer great deals to satisfy most tastes and budgets from romantic to adventurous, fireside charm to waterside wonders:

  • Groupon Getaways: From coast to coast, and overseas too, find vacation bargains for as much as 50% off at Groupon GetAways. Escape with a $129 special for a $258 Bed & Breakfast in the Colorado San Juan Mountains, or a fab $129 price for a $218 beachfront hotel in Fort Myers FLA.
  • Hotels.com: A great source for hotels near and far! Follow the Deal-of-the-Day and you might just score as much as 50% off a chic downtown escape. Use coupon code REBATES12 for additional savings of between $20 – $100 on any Hotels.com booking right now.
  • Jetsetter: Looking for just a little bit “more” in your weekend getaway? Jetsetter has quite a selection of sweet escape deals to choose from!
  • Budget Travel: Just not sure what to do? Budget Travel has lots of great ideas that are the “Real Deals” at at these prices.

Groupon Getaway

Just remember: if you are ordering items online, don’t wait until the last minute. They might not arrive in time for your special day! Also don’t forget to check RetailMeNot for new coupon codes and Mr. Rebates for additional rebates before you complete any online purchase.

Want to learn more about Gilt, RetailMeNot, Groupon or Mr.Rebates? Check out these prior blog posts for full details:

Do you plan to do anything special for Valentine’s Day? What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day gift idea? Let us know in the Comments Section below.

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Is Gilt Your Guilty Shopping Pleasure?

What? Buy designer labels without the guilt? Travel to far-away places and still have money left over for souvineers? Yes, you can when you shop with Gilt. No buyer’s remorse at these prices!

Gilt Groupe

Image via Wikipedia

What is The Gilt Groupe? The Gilt Groupe is a members’ only innovative collection of online shopping experiences. Gilt brings its members inside access to high quality products and services for as much as 70% off retail. Items are sold on a first come, first serve basis, so check early in the day for the best selections. The most popular items will sell out fast at these prices!

Who is the Gilt Groupe? The Gilt Groupe consists of eight unique shopping experiences under one roof. Wow! Who knew Gilt offered so much shoppertunity at such great prices? So go ahead, have a “guilty” splurge at Gilt!

  • Gilt Women: Gilt Women is your one-stop hook-up for designer duds on a dime. Selections range from jewelry to handbags to shoes to evening gowns, and all for as much as 60% off!
  • Gilt Men: Got a GQ guy in your life? Surprise him with something from Gilt Men, and with the savings buy something for yourself too! From head to toe, and everywhere in between, Gilt Men dresses the men of the world in style.
  • Gilt Baby & Kids: Know a budding fashionista? Gilt Baby & Kids can keep the kids stepping out in fashion without breaking the piggy bank. Find everything for expectant moms to baby and kids’ clothes. Don’t forget to complete their rooms with Gilt’s selection of toys and room decor!
  • Gilt Home: Gotta have the latest in house decor? Then Gilt Home has the items you want. Sign up to receive exclusive previews of those designer touches to transform your house.
  • Gilt Taste: Food and wine your thing? Then Gilt Taste is for you! Gilt Taste is an online magazine and market for food and wine lovers. Each day original new stories, fresh recipes, food news and opinions are published, and hand selected specialty items are offered at bargain prices.
  • Gilt City: Access the best your city has to offer at a price that will have you coming back for more.You might find yourself dining on exclusive menus prepared by top chefs, scoring tickets to sold-out shows, or being pampered at a top salon. See if your city is a Gilt City, then start seeing it in ways you haven’t before. Travelling to another Gilt City? Check their deals too!
  • Gilt Jetsetter: Looking to expanding your horizons in 2012? Gilt Jetsetter has your ticket to go! Jetsetter scours the world to provide its members with insider access, expert knowledge and exclusive deals on the world’s greatest vacations. Even the most intrepid traveler will be happy here. Follow Jetsetter and find yourself fulfilling your travel destination dreams. It’s like having your very own personal travel agent!
  • Gilt Park & Bond: One of Gilt’s newest online stores, Park & Bond is dedicated to bringing men the top designer brands, giving them inspiration and providing the advice men need to look their best.

Piqued your interest? Check out these fabulous offers that only Gilt members have access to. With Gilt’s broad selection of quality products and services in most price ranges, you are sure to find something:

  • Love Swarovski Jewelry? How about a Swarovski earring and necklace set: Retail $115 at a Gilt price of $58 equals 50% savings.

  • A Cashmere fan? Don’t miss this Calvin Klein Wool Cashmere Plaza Overcoat: Retail $595 at a Gilt price of $199 equals 67% savings.

  • Love to cook but need a new look? How about a Racheal Ray Open Roaster: Retail $50 at a Gilt price of $37 equals 26% savings.

  • Chicago in your sites? Then book a three course meal at Rhapsody: Retail $65 at a Gilt price of $35 equals 46% savings.

  • Cold weather got you down? How about an intimate seven-night cruise for two to St. Martin: Retail $2800 at a Gilt price of $1995 equals 28% savings.

Why sign up for a Gilt membership? First and foremost: It’s FREE! Second: All Gilt Groupe offers are reserved for members’ only. Third: One membership is good for all Gilt sites.

Just remember: to receive a specific Groupe’s latest specials, you need to sign up for its specific e-mail notification. This way you don’t get e-mails from those Groupes you may not be interested in. Be sure to follow your favorite Gilt Groupe and find something new every day.

Need a gift? Check out Gilt’s Gifts for Every Occasion section where you will find ideas to please everyone on your shopping list. And with the handy Shop By Price feature, Gilt makes it easy to stay on budget too.

Want a little “free” something? Invite a friend! Once that friend completes a purchase, you get $25 to spend at any of the Gilt family members. Best of all: there is no limit to how many friends you can invite.

Want to access Gilt on the road? There’s an App for Gilt too! Apps are available for both iPhones and iPads as well as for Androids. Jetsetter for iPad  and Jetsetter for iPhone are also available.

Have a Twitter account? Follow Gilt and get instant offer notifications.

Don’t forget your Mr. Rebates click through! Most Gilt Groupe purchases qualify for another 4% cash back rebate; Gilt City is 5%.

New to Gilt? What’s your favorite Gilt Groupe? Let us know in the Comment Section below.

Have you shopped with Gilt? What’s your “Gilty” pleasure? Let us know in the Comment Section below.

Five Consumer Trends for 2012

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution for 2012? According to many polls, these five resolutions top the charts this year:

  • Lose weight
  • Stay fit; Be healthier
  • Save money; Spend less money
  • Enjoy life to the fullest
  • Spend more time with family

It’s not always easy to keep your New Years Resolutions; perhaps these following five top consumer and shopping trends for 2012 will help!

A Healthier You: Products centered around a “healthier you” are expected to be on many consumers’ shopping lists this year. From gourmet cooking products to nutritional supplements to activewear, consumers are expected to spend more on their health in 2012. Retailers like Macy’s have extensive kitchen products, and with their frequent sales and WowPass offers, finding a great deal is just around the corner. Keep an eye on sporting goods and apparel giants like Modell’s and  Dicks Sporting Goods for sales and deals on “all things sporty.”

Modell's

Recommercing: The fine art of reselling your no-longer-wanted items has changed! Yard sales and consignment shops have been the quintessential recommerce market for years. But how many of us want to put our resell items in the front yard? Or “tag-bag-drop-wait” for a consignment shop resell? Enter 2012 and the explosion of more high-tech methods to resell unwanted goodies. Almost anything can be bought and sold in today’s internet recommerce market: books, clothes, electronics, toys and more.

Think eBay, CraigsList, Amazon Marketplace, and Gazelle; all examples of internet resellers of our gently used but no longer wanted items. Check out the partnership between major powerhouse reseller eBay and upscale clothing line, Patagonia: eBay+Patagonia Common Threads Initiative. Consider selling your electronics to Gazelle and let them sell for you. As we move through 2012, recommercing one person’s no-longer wanted item can become another person’s treasure at a great price.

eBay + Patagonia

Consumer Electronics: Looking to “upsize” your TV? 2012 may be the year! Electronics prices historically drop in January and February and 2012 is no different. An added bonus for the consumer this year is that prices are expected to remain lower for items such as TVs, cameras, GPSs and other “not-so-coveted” electronics. Brick and mortar stores are in heavy competition with online retailers for your electronics purchases, helping keep those prices down.

TigerDirect.com

But, lower electronics prices do not extend into all areas of electronics; sales are expected to remain strong in the tablet, smartphone and e-reader markets. Be sure to do your research before you buy to ensure you are getting a great price!

Wine: Got wine? Wine consumption continues to be a very strong market, but the slower economy has many of us spending less per bottle. In 2011 we trimmed our purchases of those $30 or higher-priced wines. But don’t despair: in 2012 the glass is not half empty; it’s half full! Wineries have taken note of this change in consumption and plan to offer more lower priced wines in 2012.

Not willing to give up that high-end bottle of wine? Consider wine flash-sale websites dedicated to selling those high priced bottles at a more “drinkable” price. Take a look at WinesTilSoldOut, whose motto is “Fine Wine. Great Prices. One at a Time.” Sales start at midnight and end when the wine is sold out. With wines at 30%-70% off, these bottles are gone in a flash!

WinesTilSoldOut

However, buyer beware: be sure to read the reviews of a low-price wine to ensure you are getting a quality wine at a great price, and not last year’s dredges.

Travel to Europe: Europe is still expensive, but if you’ve been dreaming of a family trip to Barcelona, 2012 might be the year to do it. The European debt crisis and the relative strength of the US dollar to the Euro mean European hotels and attractions could be substantially lower than they have in the past.

If European travel (or any travel for that matter) is in your 2012 plans, consider subscribing to several free travel flash-sale websites, such as Jetsetter.com, or sign up for Groupon Getaways and receive notifications of travel deals around the world. Budget Travel’s website also keeps you in touch with the latest travel deals.

Budget Travel

So what’s your favorite consumer trend for 2012? Where do you see yourself spending your shopping dollars this year? Let us know in the Comments section below.

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