One of my favorite ways to stretch my money is to shop the clearance sections of stores. Armed with my coupons, I stalk the end caps of my favorite stores looking for deals. I browse the clearance clothing racks at my favorite department and thrift stores looking for for end-of-season bargains.
You can save a lot of money using this method of shopping, but with a little planning, you can make those clearances sales work for you in a different way.
Just shop the clearance sections with more than one season or holiday in mind.
New Year’s Eve
Stock up on noisemakers for birthday parties. Buy some party hats at a deep discount. You can always decorate them so that it’s not obvious they’re New Year’s hats.
There’s usually a fair amount of shiny silver and gold decorations for New Year’s. Pay attention for items that could be used for 25th or 50th wedding anniversary celebrations.
Valentine’s Day Clearance
Candy in pink wrappers can be used for Easter baskets. Some other chocolates may be able to be used for teacher appreciation gifts later in the year.
Stock up on cute valentine’s for next year or use them for unique “just because I love you” notes.
Keep your eyes open for red and pink decorations that can be used for Christmas or a daughter’s birthday.
Look for birthday party favors and Christmas stocking stuffers in the Easter clearance.
Find Easter baskets on sale at a great price for next year, or perhaps find an adorable basket to use to keep things organized in your child’s room.
Shop the Easter clearance for plastic or chocolate eggs to use in an Angry Birds themed birthday party.
Find graduation items with the year on them and use them to create a special collage or photo album to present to your grad just before they leave for college.
Grab a deal on black paper plates, black cups, and napkins to use for Halloween decorations or special crafts.
Summer Sales/Fourth of July
Soda and snacks (especially S’More fixin’s) are usually at a deep discount between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Stock up for kids’ lunches or fall holiday gatherings.
Fireworks and sparklers bought on sale can be saved for use on New Year’s Eve.
Red, White and Blue decor can be saved for Election Night parties.
Grab a few extra pumpkins to use as Thanksgiving decor…. or for pumpkin pies!
Save those black decorations (and graveyard themed decorations) for Over the Hill birthday parties. You can also save those black plates and cups for graduation parties or craft projects.
I saw a lot of purple-wrapped candy on clearance last year. Serve it up before the big game in your favorite sports team (like the Minnesota Vikings!) or spoil a little girl in your life you loves purple!
Pick up canning jars on clearance to use for food storage, craft projects and “Gifts in a Jar” for the holidays.
Watch for backpacks to go on deep discount and pick up one for a future hiking trip.
After Christmas sales
I look for discounts on holiday wrapping paper that isn’t obviously Christmas colors or themes. Red or green wrapping paper can be used for birthday presents. And I got a fabulous deal on a beautiful silver wrapping paper with swirls on it to use for wedding or bridal shower gifts.
Look for bargains on holiday candy in red wrappers (like Hershey’s kisses) and save them to use at Valentine’s Day.
Keep your eyes open for green candy and decor that can be used for St. Patrick’s Day.
Shop the stocking stuffer clearance for items for Easter baskets or birthday party favors.
Keep your eyes open
Many stores start discounting items at the end of the season or on the evening of a holiday and continue until the items are gone. You’ll find the best selection at the beginning of the sales, but you’ll get the best prices at the end. When shopping holiday clearance, don’t just shop the holiday section, watch for holiday-themed snacks, cereals, and baking mixes to be on sale, too. Does it really matter if your kids eat gingerbread cookies in February? Or pumpkin snacks in December?
Do you shop the clearance sales? What tips and tricks work best for you?