Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shopping all year round for the best Deals. Part 1

I began this blog post with Christmas in mind, but really, it applies to all gift giving occasions; birthdays, weddings, baby showers, and any other holidays you may celebrate.

Instead of fitting all my Christmas shopping into only a month or two of frenzied what do I get, and how can I afford to get all of it shopping, I spread my shopping out through out the year. $20 here, $5 there, and then I save the more recent, must have items until closer to the holidays, unless I see it on sale of course.

I have it a little more easy than most as I only have two older teen daughters, a 7yr old sister, a 20 yr old sister, and my husband to buy for. My parents only exchange presents with my daughters, no adults exchanging presents in my family except my husband and I, so my shopping strategy may not work for everyone, but I think it holds some pretty useful ideas.

After holiday shopping and after season shopping:
Shopping a year in advance and buying neutral gifts

At places like Walmart, Target, your local Mall, Michael’s, and Joann’s you can almost ALWAYS pick up a few weeks after the end of a season (fall/summer) or after a holiday (Christmas/Halloween/Easter) items 75%-90% off. Even the day after a holiday Walmart and Target slash prices an automatic 50% on most items.

Decorations, and Holiday geared items are the easiest to buy a year in advance because most people’s decorating tastes don’t change too dramatically over the course of a year, and you can consider yourself pretty safe when you’re buying for your own house.

My favorite items to buy that are obvious Christmas presents are the spiffy pet stockings filled with dog/kitty treats and toys. I can keep them in tact and hand them out to my own animals next Christmas or my animal loving friends or if a friend or family member gets a new pet, I can remove all the goodies from the stocking and make my own little pet warming gift for them! I also grab a dozen or so extra stockings if my budget allows, and turn around and donate them to the local animal shelters. (the neat little box on the left contains a food/water bowl some rubber toys and a rope tug, was found at Walgreens and paid $2.50, stockings on the right were bought at Walmart for $1 a piece)

Picking up Seasonal Clothes is a little trickier because you may want to take into account style trends and your size may change within a year’s time. However if you are buying for adults (or teens that are done growing) things like over sized shirts, tank tops, and shoes are a few things you shouldn't have too much trouble with buying a year in advance. Also, I’m the kinda girl who wears jeans all year round, so there are some things stores consider seasonal, but some people wear all year round…those items are goldmines! A great recent example of a great seasonal clothes sale was the $2 tank top sale at Old Navy!

Gift Baskets are the BEST neutral gifts to buy after a holiday, by neutral I mean you could gift it the next time the holiday comes around or just as easily give it as a birthday gift. You can get gift baskets the easiest at Walmart or Target, but you can also find them at places like Bath and Body Work or Victoria Secrets inside your local mall or shopping center.

(note that I left the price tag on...only $2...helps me remember how much I pay for some items)

For the same price, or even cheaper than a roll of wrapping paper you can also pick up neutral baskets, decorative boxes, and other great inexpensive gifting containers after a holiday.

(the yellow and purple baskets on the left were bought for $0.75 a piece after Easter at Walgreens, the pretty wood woven basket at Walmart after Christmas for $3)
Part 2:Shopping the Sales and Taking Advantage of freebies to come some time within the next few days...