Picking a Mother's Day bouquet for Mom's exacting style and financial standards is no easy feat.
The average U.S. consumer will spend $184 on Mother's Day, up 7.5 percent from last year, consulting firm Brand Keys projects. But there's a lot of variation. Men will spend close to $215 for their wives and mothers, while women will spend $153.
Flowers for Mother's DayPlay Video
Verizon to cap data usage for customers who use more than 100 gigs
Crime-fighting drone catches would-be boat thieves
Tesla's 'Master Plan, Part Deux' Is Revealed
TSA, United Airlines to debut automated security lines
If you're not careful, the bulk of that budget could be blown on flowers. Taxes and fees included, a quality bouquet could easily cost upwards of $100.
(See the video for some of the best tricks to cut the cost of a florist bouquet.)
A fast way to save is to call a local florist (or at least, local to Mom, if she doesn't live nearby) instead of ordering online, said Paul Goodman, president of Floral Finance Business Services, a consulting firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Delivery and service charges might be half as expensive as those online, at $7 or $8 per order.
Calling also makes it easier to get the best value. "When I'm ordering flowers for my mother, I ask them to make an arrangement that's based upon the kind of flowers they have in stock," Goodman said. That "designer's choice" approach means you won't pay more for special-ordered or out-of-season flowers, and there's less risk of unexpected substitutions if it's a must for Mom to have say, orange roses or sunflowers.
If flowers are just a small component in your Mother's Day budget — the average shopper spends a little less than $30, according to National Retail Federation figures — you might need to get even more creative.
Some good news: It's getting easier to find inexpensive but quality blooms at farmers markets and supermarkets, particularly Whole Foods, said Eileen Johnson, creative director of FlowerSchool New York.
"If you don't have the skills to know how to arrange flowers, stick with one kind but get a lot of it," she said. "Anything en masse looks great." Think 30 tulips instead of 10; three dozen roses instead of one. As an alternative, choose a variety of blooms all in the same color, such as white. "That would look amazing, and you don't have to be a professional to make it work," Johnson said.