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When Frugality is Foolish – Flowers

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Sometimes in life being frugal can be a smart move (negotiating a percent off a real estate agent’s commission) and sometimes it can be a counter-productive move (I’ll explain some). Sometimes it’s easy to find out when it’s smart and when it’s not so smart (you can always try to negotiate the price of that platter of pancakes, but will the server spit in your coffee?) to needle out a few extra bucks. That’s what the “When Frugality is Foolish” series comes in and this edition has to do with the thing guys love buying for their ladyfriends – flowers. You get what you pay for.


When I was in college, a great place to get decent flowers at an attractive price was outside the local PNC Bank. There was a guy who sat there and sold nice flowers out of five gallon drums at about a buck a piece. So you could get a dozen red roses for somewhere in the neighborhood of $12. Now, these weren’t special occasion quality roses but if you were going to some formal and wanted to be classy you would go this route (and remember, it’s the feeling that counts!) These were probably roses that didn’t sell within a few days at the local florist and you could tell because they usually lasted maybe a week. The same applies to those flowers you see being sold at intersections and other random places flowers usually aren’t sold.

Fast forward to when you have a nice paying job that permits you to spend money on flowers for any reason, like turning around a rough day. Now you’ve opened up the flower market into four sections instead of one – random dude on the street, major supermarkets, and then online florists and offline florists. If you’ve ever paid the premium to get flowers from a florist of any kind, you’ll know that the money you spend is worth it because those flowers look great and they last forever.

Don’t waste your money on the flowers from the random dude on the street. Say you pay $12, those flowers will look good for maybe a day… maybe. Compare that to the two weeks plus of life you’ll get out of a dozen flowers from a reputable florist where you’ll pay something like $50 a dozen. Do some cost analysis on that… you’re getting a much better deal from the florist even if you are outlaying more.

And remember, $50 is not a lot to pay for happy warm fuzzies for two weeks and it’s a bargain if you’re trying to get out of the doghouse!

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3 Responses to “When Frugality is Foolish – Flowers”

  1. Kira says:

    Roses will also last longer if you dissolve an aspirin in their water, and you should always use the flower preservative that comes with most bouquets from a store. But yeah, good quality florist shop flowers last a hell of a lot longer, especially if the flower guy was outside when it was hot! Even fresh picked flowers can wilt quickly you picked them on a hot summer day.

  2. FMF says:

    A twist on this:

    Start your own rose garden.

    My wife loves flowers, so I planted a small rose garden with 12 bushes in front of our house (either side of the door). I had to rip out a low-growing bush-like thing the former owners had, but after that, it was simple. I spent $20-$25 on each bush (the price for good rose bushes) and now get anywhere from 100 to 400 roses PER BUSH PER YEAR (I’ve had it for three years now). I spend the summer stocking our house with roses (which my wife and daughter love), giving them to co-workers, offering them in a nice vase ($2 at Wal-mart) as graduation gifts for lesser-known friends, taking them to work for all the ladies, giving them to friends who are sick, etc.

    So, I now have a hobby, save a ton of money, improved the value of our house (great-looking display of flowers in front of our house), and all the women I know love me. ;-)

    • echidnina says:

      My boyfriend and I are in a long-distance (but soon to be short-distance :) ) relationship, so he has had flowers delivered to me on a number of occasions. They’re beautiful and do indeed brighten up the place, but as a penny-pincher myself sometimes I shudder to think about the money he spent for me! All on something that in a week or two will be gone. I have to agree, I like live plants much better than cut ones.


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