Jan 02 2013

How my friend shops ahead to save money on gifts

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.

She says:

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!

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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?



4 Responses to “How my friend shops ahead to save money on gifts”

  1. I was actually just out at Target today and was surprised at how much cute Christmas stuff they still had , all at least 70% off. I got wrapping paper, ribbon, and some cute winter window clings that my son will love. It’s not really things I’ll gift per se, but just wanted to say that it may not be too late!

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  3. I avoid the Boxing Day sales. Boxing Day is a Canadian holiday that falls on December 26. It is a day when everyone shops – like your Black Friday. Retailers know that crowds are coming so why would they really offer big sales.

    I watch for good sales all year round and make a purchase if I see a real bargain.

    I also have an amount in my budget for Christmas. It covers gifts and food.

    I am looking for new blogs to read because I need some financial inspiration. I found you on Alexa.

  4. I don’t buy many gifts for Christmas. I buy for my immediate family (3 teenagers), my sister and her two kids and my friend and her little ones. I buy Christmas pjs for her little ones this time of year. They are so inexpensive I love to buy them. I can get Carter’s for less than 7.00 a piece. I also buy all my Christmas ornaments for 60% off at hallmark. It’s my tradition I started with my children. I give them each an ornament that they can take when they leave the nest. I do buy some wrapping paper and gift tags but nothing else.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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