December 27, 2011

Christmas 2012—A few shop ahead tips

Now is a good time to take stock of your holiday gear.  What do you need for next Christmas?  Now is an excellent time to buy ahead as most stores have their holiday items at least 50% off. 

  • Buy tissue paper and wrapping materials that are all red for Valentine’s or all green for St. Pat’s.  The basic colors usually go first, but if you happen to find any, scoop them up now.
  • Don’t forget to compare prices.  Kroger had their tissue paper for half off.  A packet of it would be $1 with the discount, but it was only a few sheets.  I know I can purchase a large pack of it at the dollar store year round. 
  • Now is the time to buy your greeting cards.  If they don’t all match, so what?  Who other than you will ever know?  If you are really concerned about it, you can send like cards to categories of people on your Christmas card list.  One style might go for work friends, another for relatives, another for church friends… 
  • Many stores are running super-duper discounts on their seasonal products and gift sets.  Bath & Body Works is running their semi-annual sale, and gift baskets are deeply discounted.  A friend of mine always purchases some extra ones and takes them apart to give the individual pieces as gifts and reuses the basket.  She said that she always gets them for less than purchasing each piece.  Stores like JCPenney have their Christmas dishes and cooking tools on sale, and now might be a good time to buy a snowflake Bundt pan for great Aunt Martha, who loves to cook, for next year’s Christmas.
  • Have a friend who is getting married or having a baby?  Start shopping seasonal items now.  A friend at a shower turned me on to the idea of giving a little extra gift of seasonal kitchen towels to a bride so that she has something festive for different holidays.  She buys a few after each holiday and divides them up for whenever she needs to give a bridal gift.  They are always a huge hit!  For a friend who is having a baby, you might do the same with bibs or burping cloths. 
  • Don’t forget to double up on your savings by using coupons.  Many chocolate and candy companies issue manufacturer coupons that are still valid.  Stores like Bath & Body and JC Penney have printable coupons on their websites.  If possible, use your store loyalty cards to earn extra bonuses.  I like the store Eddie Bauer, and yesterday they were running a half off sale.  I had received some Christmas money, and I purchased a new pair of slacks.  Not only did I score a sweet discount, but I also earned points towards a future FREE gift certificate.

What about you?  What are your favorite items to buy ahead for next year’s holiday season?

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