I think a savings spree sounds way better than a shopping spree, especially when it means that you get to go shopping! As a personal finance blogger, most of my time is spent skimping and trying to figure out where to cut back without too much of a pinch, but if there’s a week of the year to cut a little loose and spend a little to save overall throughout the year, it’s this week, and here’s how to get the most bang for your buck.
1.) Rock After Christmas Sales – Retailers try to clear out their stock by President’s Day, which is when you’ll notice spring fashions hit the floor. By midFebruary, everyone is craving sunshine and flowers so much that spring items fly off the shelves with very little discount needed. This works in your favor because come December 26th, most stores need to unload a lot of merchandise to make room; as a result great deals start turning up. The week after Christmas is the most notable time to see extra savings dumped on top of the last-minute Christmas savings from the previous week, so if the crowds don’t bother you too much, that is the time to hit the mall. And if the crowds do bother you, that’s the time to hit the net deals range from clothing to toys to electronics. It’ll even give those gift cards you got a little extra buying power. One note though is that anything New Year’s Eve geared will not be on sale yet – so hold off buying the sparkly party dresses until January 2nd.
2.) Stock Up on Holiday Supplies – I know it doesn’t sound super exciting, but throughout the season keep half an eye on what you’re consuming. Did you drop and break a dozen ornaments this year that you’ll want to replace? Did the menorah catch fire (oh gosh, I hope not, is that even a real possibility? I have no idea. But it does seem like a lot of fire… roll with me here, I’m making a point)? Did you use up the very last of your holiday wrapping paper, give up and flip over some birthday wrapping paper for the final stocking stuffers or last day of Hanukkah as you wrapped your last gifts? If you usually have a holiday party, pick up those paper goods now. Wrapping paper, ornaments, cards and decorations go on sale like CRAZY starting December 26th. Seriously, I’ve seen $5.00 packages of wrapping paper go down to $.50. Boxes of gorgeous cards for a buck. Holiday jewelry, socks and knick-knacks for pennies. If you stock up on these things the week following Christmas, you shouldn’t even have to wonder where you’ve put them because you can pack them away with everything else and be ready to go next year.
3.) Stock Up Gifts for Next Year – If you Google “people who buy Christmas gifts all year-long” you wind up getting quite a few frugal and personal finance bloggers. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Planning ahead is a key strategy in maximizing your money and the holidays are no exception. Check out this years holiday gift list – are 95% of those people likely to be on there again next year? There’s no reason to not keep half an eye out for something they might really like. This especially applies to spouses and children – people you’re likely to stockpile several gifts for. If your 6 year old loves Lego’s, odds are good that your 7 year old will too and there will be awesome sales on items like that the week after Christmas. I hope you have a good hiding space (totally related tip, if you have a smart phone, like most folks do, open your calendar app, and enter a reminder in October, November or December – right before you usually start buying gifts – about what you bought and where you put it. My mother is the queen of buying a few things she sees throughout the year and completely forgetting about them. How completely you ask? A year ago she found a CD of my favorite band from high school that she bought when they were popular. I am 29).
4.) Stock Up on Gifts for This Year – Use those sales to your advantage and keep an eye out for birthday gifts, teacher end of year gifts, even trinkets for Easter baskets – whatever events you’d usually buy a gift for. Take special note of cosmetic or bubble bath sets that are several items bundled together in a holiday themed packaging. Remove the packaging and you can repurpose those items into your own gift baskets all year-long (and schedule another calendar reminder on your phone for these items too). Candles and food gift sets are another big item that go on sale the week following Christmas that can be used year round as well. And don’t forget your kids’ friends – do you usually hit 1015 birthday parties a year? Now is the time to toss some generic games, Barbies, GI Joes, etc. into your shopping cart and then into your closet.
5.) Educate youself to Save More $$$ Check out Grocery University – If you’ve ever wondered how some women just know how to save with the right coupon at the right time, then check out this website! I cannot walk into the grocery store comfortably and just pick up “whatever I need” at full price and go home. Now, mind you, I do check for sales, but what if you learned when the best time to use that coupon would be on top of that sale? Even if you only save $1.00 off, the savings add up after you learn how to use coupons on almost everything!
6.) Get Your Bake On – If you bake often, another item to find on sale are all those holiday cookies kits or even gingerbread house kits (why can’t it be a gingerbread beach house? Just add some blue food coloring to the icing and put swimsuits on the gingerbread men). Double check the expiration dates, but most of those kits are going to last for several months. The only thing those boxes of cakes and cookies have going against them is that they have snowman or a menorah or even just a red and green color scheme on them. Plenty of them could be thematically repurposed for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. As for prepackaged goods – all those red and green or blue and white foods still taste just as good after the holidays for a fraction of the price. Just check the expiration dates even more carefully on things that are already made.
A few final notes:
Keep in mind that the sales tend to grow throughout the week. They definitely start on December 26th, however you’ll find better sales but smaller selections as the week progresses. With the spending frenzy that is the holiday season in mind, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a personal finance blogger if I didn’t remind you that making and sticking to budget will save you a TON and this applies to your purchases the week after the holidays. Thinking about what you want to purchase before you walk out of the house and then sticking to it will be the best money-saving trick of them all.
Part of this post was written by Mel at brokeGIRLrich