Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to Give BIG by Shopping All Year

Yes, I know we JUST did Christmas. But it is never too early to start on gifts for next Christmas, especially if you are stocking up to donate to charities. You can make your dollar stretch further if you shop all year for the best deals on toys, clothes and hygiene items.

This year, I signed up to be on the Operation ChristmasChild email list for our region. They have wonderful ideas for how to start collecting items now. Here are a few tips:

1. Shop the post-holiday sales.
After Christmas, after Valentines, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter…. You can usually find a lot of fun trinkets and toys on discount after these special occasions. Look for stickers, pens, notebooks, ornaments, craft kits, and small decorations. 

2. Check out clearance items from bulk vendors.
Online stores like Party City or Oriental Trading Company are great places to try. They also will offer free shipping deals. Right now Party City has Winnie the Pooh bouncey balls (8 ct) for only $0.50! And Strawberry Shortcake pencil sharpeners (12 ct) also for $0.50.

3. Make gifts.
Maybe you have some scrap wood, left over string and buttons, or you love to sew. There are so many great ideas for making shoe box gifts. My local OCC region has a Pinterest page with ideas. Check it out:

Of course, as you are out running errands for your family, always check clearance racks for random low-priced items. Clothes, toothbrushes, combs, toys can all be collected a saved for months.

You'd be surprised how easy it is to stash away gifts all year without spending a ton out of pocket!
Are you starting to shop early for Christmas giving? Share any money-saving ideas you have in the comment section below!