Each year our family has scaled back on gift giving, so we search for items that suit a person's passion. A savvy shopper can make a list of general ideas and then keep that list handy year round to save, save, save on holiday purchases. And if you know your grands love swim toys, you're not going to find them in December in Minnesota....you'll need to remember to search for those at end of season sales in August.
And remember the best gift of the season is free. Simply sit and read the Christmas Story from Luke 2 for a free blessing.
Five hints for finding bargains:
- Get on the email list of stores that have good bargains, stores that are close to you. You're more likely to pop into one of their sales than one 30 miles away. One of my favorites: Tuesday Morning
- Shop your local flea markets and festivals to find one of a kind, homemade items, not found in stores. (I discovered a local woman who makes delightful inexpensive jewelry.)
- Make a habit of asking your friends, "Where do you find the best bargains for ????????? You may be surprised to hear about an outlet you didn't know about. A local woman in our neighborhood has a shop. She gets the new unsold items from Sears. I found a beautiful stylish white blouse, ticketed at $35.00 for for $4.00. I told my dad (about her store), who is on limited income about her. He found khaki trousers for $7.00 a pair (If you live near Conroe, TX, email me, and I'll give you her name and location.)
- Always walk to the sale racks in a store first. Recently in JC Pennys, I found on their 80% off rack four gorgeous items for 3.97 each. All things my family could use. Be careful about overbuying, though. On the same racks, they had pant suits (reg. $70.00) for $15.97. I tried on three. Only one fit properly, but it was in a style and duller color than I liked. I asked myself, "When you are getting ready to speak before an audience, would you choose to wear this? I answered myself. "No. Because I already have nicer, pant suits in my closet that I like better." It's not a bargain if you don't need it or won't wear it.
- This fifth tip is not a shopping one, but a frugal one nonetheless. In the summer get one of those bread starters from a friend, experiment with adding different ingredients to create your own variety of home-baked goodness. After baking, wrap loaves tightly and store to give away as impromptu gifts to the sick or sad. Or if a friend drops in, you can thaw within minutes in a microwave, and slice a bit of yummy bread to serve with iced tea or coffee. I keep an Amish Friendship starter going and I have added the following to different loaves: apricots, pecans, coconut, Craisens and or pecans. Or our favorite is about a 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. Oh my, that bread is tasty with black coffee.