My friend Lauren is a frugal lady, and one of her techniques she uses is to shop ahead for gifts.
She’s all set for Christmas 2013 and bought $460 worth of gifts for $100.
Her strategy? She hits post-Christmas clearance sales hard.
I used to shop all year long at the little clearance sales after various holidays. You can get a lot of nice stuff, especially for women, after Valentine’s Day. Now I do it all between the day after Christmas and NYE. I got some great deals including clothes, jewelry and gloves and hats and such at Aeropostale outlet at Edinburgh. I also got some really cute Christmas themed candle holder things at the Yankee Candle outlet. I got a bit of randomness at Target — nice slippers, socks, nail polish, candy (and yes, I do save candy for a year, it’s fine as long as you know what to get-Reese’s for instance, don’t save well, but M&M’s are fine).
There’s often a lot of the same sort of stuff on sale year after year, so I keep track of what I’ve given from year to year. For instance, my sister LOVES wild socks and nail polish. I sometimes buy her several pairs of cute socks and several bottles of nail polish. Things like that get worn out or used up, so I can repeat, but I wouldn’t gift her the same sort of thing back to back two years in a row.
I hope that makes some sort of sense. My brain is pretty mushy right now. Basically I have an idea of 2-3 different types of things that would work for each person and apply those ideas to what I see on sale. Also, the only reasonable time to buy gift bags and tissue paper is after Christmas at 70% off!
I’ll add that it’s really feasible for any budget. I used to do things like full sized sets of shower gel or bubble bath and lotion for $1.50 each and travel mugs for $1-2 with coffee samples (sometimes even hotel coffee if they weren’t labeled with the hotel name), and $1.50ish picture frames. Now I’ve got a bit more budget to work with so I’ve been able to increase the quality of the gifts!
Great idea, Lauren! I wonder if I’m too late to get any good deals, but maybe I can get out today or tomorrow to do a little shopping. I’ve done this in the past for wrapping paper and the sort, but I haven’t done it for years since up until last year we really didn’t have the storage space.
How about you? Do you buy ahead?