You may think that expensive gifts are the way to a girl's heart. Not necessarily true. You can select thoughtful, charming, cute or fun items that get your message across - all without burning a hole in your wallet.

Here are some ideas for the special lady or ladies in your life. The best part - she doesn't have to know what the price tag reads.

Of course every girl loves to receive flowers, but experts say you can always expect to pay more this time of year. The National Retail Federation reported that last year, consumers shelled out an average of $79.99 for a dozen long-stemmed roses with a vase. Instead of selecting an expensive bouquet, why not opt for a single rose or other flowers? Local florists sell single stems for just a few dollars apiece. Many supermarkets now offer a floral department well stocked with buds of all hues. A mixed bunch of stems in her favorite color - pink carnations, bright sunflowers, orange tulips, for instance - will show that you've been paying attention, and warm her heart to the tune of $5 to $10.

Precious gems and metals scream commitment! And will cost you a bundle, too. Fashion jewelry is all the rage, with faux gems, funky shapes and sparkling costume bling. Consider hoop earrings, bangle bracelets and chunky necklaces, all of which can be purchased at large retailers or discount shops. Bonus: retailers are looking to make room for the new spring styles, so deep discounts can be found.

Who doesn't own a cell phone or mobile device these days? Tiny cases in myriad styles and designs are the ideal accessory for your gal. Prices range from just a few dollars and come in a wide array of colors and patterns to suit every taste or lifestyle.

This is an excellent time of year to find great bargains on hats and gloves, with retailers looking to clear their shelves for the new spring styles. Scarves, especially the pashmina styles, are a trendy fashion item and can be purchased for less than $10, even in the larger retail stores.

Candles and Candleholders
Women love candles, regardless of whether they are scented, tapers, pillars or floating. In fact, the National Candle Association reported that U.S. retailers sell an estimated $2 billion in candles annually. If you're unsure, however, of her favorite scent, choose something on the subtle side, like vanilla (the most popular scent), citrus or soft floral, such as lilac or lavender. Likewise, etched glass or crystal candle holders can make a lovely addition to any room.

Books and Music
Cookbooks, best sellers, biographies of famous women and crafts and hobbies are always a good choice for your favorite lady. Opt for paperback versions, which are less expensive than their hardcover editions. Check out the best-seller lists for what's trending. However, steer clear of diet, how-to and self-help selections.

Music CDs and mp3 downloads also are wonderful gift selections. Better yet - make a list of her favorite tunes and burn a personalized CD for her.

Boxed chocolates are a perennial favorite - U.S. consumers spend more than $19 billion on chocolate candy each year, so you can hardly go wrong with this choice. Wide varieties can be found in supermarkets, drug stores and gift shops, many for less than $10.

But you're not necessarily locked in to chocolate. Go for homemade jams and butters (found in specialty shops) and offer to make her breakfast. Teas and fresh ground coffee beans can also make an impact. Package them with a whimsy mug for a complete look.

The Bottom Line
You don't have to break the bank on Valentine's Day to find just the right gift for that special lady. Just be daring, different and thoughtful. She'll love you for it.

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