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Valentine's gift ideas? Skip chocolate. Go for perfume.

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Sarah Beth Glicksteen/The Christian Science Monitor/File

(Read caption) Fair trade chocolate is one option for Valentine's Day, but less obvious choices, like beauty items or even a winter coat, might be the best Valentine's Day gift ideas for those on a budget.

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Though it's not an official holiday, Valentine's Day is still a big day for many retailers. And while we'll see discounts on everything from roses to jewelry, not every promotion is worth your time or money. To separate Cupid's hits from his misses, we researched past Valentine's Day sales to help you purchase your significant other the right gift at the right price.

Search for Coupons Before Buying Jewelry

Nothing says "I love you" like diamonds and gold. At least that's what retailers want you to believe. Last year, jewelry was among the first items discounted in the weeks leading up to February. Naturally, this year you can expect more jewelry deals with the first Valentine's Day sales appearing this week. Amazon kicked things off last year with a sale that took up to 87% off select jewelry.

In the two weeks leading up to the big day, you can also expect to see sales from ICE.comBlue Nile,Szul, and Zales with discounts ranging from 20% to 85% off. Some stores like Tiffany and Kay Jewelers will offer free or expedited shipping. But for maximum savings, we recommend using stackable coupons to further increase your savings. Limoges Jewelry, for instance, has traditionally taken off between 20% to 25% off marked down jewelry via a stackable coupon; last year Zales also took $40 off orders of $200 or more with one of its coupon codes. So while you'll see plenty of standalone Valentine's Day sales from the majority of jewelers, it's the sales with stackable coupons that offer the best value.

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