With a little thought and a little bargain hunting, you can save a lot of money on gifts throughout the entire year starting now.
First, consider the obvious things to stock up on: Holiday decor, Christmas wrapping, advent calendars, holiday cookie cutters and stocking stuffers are just a few of the holiday-related items to hit the clearance shelves. You can usually save anywhere from 40 to 90 percent on these items starting in late December and early January.
And here’s a tip: When buying gift wrap on clearance, try to stick to patterns and colors that don’t scream “Christmas,” such as solid colors, stripes, polka dots, etc. You’ll be able to use the discounted gift wrap for birthday, bridal or baby shower gifts throughout the year if it’s holiday-neutral.
Next, consider gifts for the upcoming year. Is anyone getting married or having a baby in the next year? Consider holiday-related gifts such as “Baby’s first Christmas ornaments” or special Christmas decoration for the bride and groom’s new home. With a little forethought you can make the most of clearance sales.
Think about your own children. We’ve all seen those adorable little sweater vests and frilly dresses in the children’s department. Get a great deal on these outfits for next year at a fraction of the price you would pay if you waited until next December.
Hit the toy aisles. Look for gifts for your children, nieces and nephews. Keep an eye out for great deals on toys and books that could be added to a gift stash. The next time your child is invited to a friend’s birthday party, you can shop from your gift stash instead of running to the store and paying full price.
Make friends with the store manager and employees. They’ll be more likely to share with you when they’re dropping prices on items.
Shopping the clearance sales is always a bit tricky. You get the best selection when you shop early, but sometimes you get the best deals when you wait.
The key – like all deal-hunting – is to shop with your list in mind, and only buy what you can afford.
Photo credit: I See Modern Britain