Avoiding Valentine's Day price inflation

If you're splurging on Valentine's Day gifts, be smart about it.

Americans will spend $36.8 billion on Valentine's Day this year, according to American Express. The average cost per person: $213.

(Read more: The $10K question; How to buy an engagement ring)

One of the most common splurges? A dozen red roses—and no, it's not your imagination. Demand can as much as double prices this time of year, with a high-end bouquet costing more than $100. Plus delivery, which carries a surcharge if you want the roses sent on the Valentine's Day itself.

With that in mind, price-check both local florists and Web networks such as 1800Flowers.com and FTD.com. Those big players may offer special discounts of up to 25 percent, but the local florists who fill those orders have their own deals, too. Cutting out the middleman could save you as much as 40 percent.

—By CNBC's Kelli B. Grant. Follow her on Twitter @Kelligrant and on Google.

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