Saturday, January 28, 2012

GIFT GIVING without the stress of high prices!

There’s always a reason to celebrate or give someone a gift.   It goes hand-in-hand in associating with people.  There are plenty of occasions that “pop” up!!  (Birthdays, weddings, births, Christmas, funerals, baptisms, other holidays, etc.)

An invitation to a party does NOT have to be a reason to go shopping!  I have applied the Boy Scout motto of “BE PREPARED” to gift giving.  I keep a plastic tote, in my garage, for potential gifts. 
My "GIFT bin"...
Notice it is NOT labeled, because I don't want my kids snooping through it!!
When I am out doing my normal shopping, I am always on the lookout for good prices on ANYTHING.  When I find a cute item at a smashing price- that could be used as a potential gift- I buy it and put it in my “gift bin”.  This means when my children come home with another birthday party invitation, I don’t instantly freak out about where the money will come from to purchase their friend a gift!  I pull out the appropriate possibilities and let my child “shop” through my “smashing deals” and pick out a present to give their friend.
Birthdays and Christmas for my family is rather simple and stress free as well.  I actually have 2 “gift bins”.  One bin is for giving gifts to others…the second bin is for gifts for my family.  I shop year round for my children’s birthday and Christmas presents.  I’m always on the lookout for sale or clearance items that could be used for my children.  After a holiday is over is a great time to pick up the next year’s item.  I’ve learned that certain holidays provide certain types of potential presents. 
·         Valentine’s Clearance: girl’s trinkets, girl’s clothes, next year’s class Valentine’s, movie candy, baby clothes, and wedding items (as everything is LOVE themed).

·         Easter Clearance: Girl’s trinkets and clothes

·         Halloween Clearance: Boy’s trinkets and clothes, boy’s baby clothes, and dress ups.

·         Christmas Clearance:  NEXT year’s presents (mainly for the grown-ups), decorations, household type wedding presents (ie. Extension cords), Christmas crafts for the kids to make for grandparents, and wrapping supplies for the entire year.
The month before the family “event”, I open up my “family gift bin” and select what I’d like to give that person.  Usually, I already have purchased what I need at a great price….BUT if I am short what I need to give them; I have a month to find the needed item at a good price.
IF you shop A LOT, you have the potential to find a lot of great deals….BUT that means you have the potential to spend a lot more than you need to!!  My rule of thumb is to ONLY have one bin of each: OTHERS & FAMILY!  When that bin is full, it is time to WAIT to buy more “gifts” until you have given enough away to provide the room to store them.  This way you never have one gift sitting on the bottom of your bin for years without ever finding a recipient for it!!
On a side note: if you are attempting to scale back your gift giving expenses even more.... a thoughtful, well made, handmade item can be much less expensive AND more meaningful to the recipient.  Don’t rule them out!
Happy Stretching Pennies…

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