Did you know shopping can be a very frugal experience? Most people would think those 2 words ~ shopping, frugal ~ don't really go together but they can. It just depends on "how" you shop.
Yesterday, the kids and I went shopping. They still had several Christmas presents to buy for several of their older brothers. Before shopping, we fortified ourselves with lunch at Chick Fil A, using our stash of coupons. Many, many stores are competing for your money, so they are offering some deals to make sure you shop with them. They found some great deals on things they purchased.
We found some gorgeous glittery ornaments at Penneys that they all 3 loved. My comment was, we can make that. So the hunt was on. First was Hobby Lobby. We did get the glitter glue there using a 40% off coupon. Their ornaments were 1/2 price but that still made the box $10. Next, we went to Target. We got boxes of ornaments for $2.50. Altogether we purchased the 2 boxes and the glitter glue for less than 1/2 the price of the original ornaments at Penneys. But, we have double the amount of ornaments. This will be an art project within a couple of days.
When we were at Walmart last spring we found Wilton Gingerbread Cake kits for .25. Since we don't eat our houses (they are just for decoration) I didn't have a problem buying the kits. Thats another art project next week. We will add some more candy & icing to the kits.
My husband and I shop year round. If we find something cool, we buy it and put it up for Christmas. Most stuff goes in the back of our closet and we try to make a list or we will forget about some purchases. Last year all the boys got Polo shirts. We found them at an outlet with 1/2 off the clearance price, which made them affordable. I have found cross stitch kits for $1, books on clearance, or books free on Paperback Swap.com, boxers & sleep pants at Old Navy for .99 or less, some great surprises at the $1 store, etc. Just keep your eyes open and have a little extra cash so that when you find these bargains, you can take advantage of them.
Stocking stuffers are fun purchases. The girls like girly, feminine stuff...bath gels, nail polish, makeup kits, cutesy pencils & pens, etc. Last year we did all candy in the stockings. The girls requested a seperate bag as a gift with girly stuff, they didn't want to miss out on the pampering. This year the stockings will be a mix of stuff. All year long, I have sent off for samples of various products, found stuff in clearance bins, bought candy clearanced after Halloween, and taken advantage of coupons/sales to get some stuff almost free. The All You Magazine from Walmart has been a great source of coupons. Plus the programs at Walgreens & CVS with the extra bucks you earn when you purchase certain products.
Ask your kids what they want for Christmas and birthdays. I am very guilty of buying stuff they want AND more stuff that I want for them. I am getting better but still not recovered from this habit completely. Honestly, this year I have more stuff like this for Greg than the kids (should excite him).
I realize that shopping for some people is a chore. They want to get the predetermined item, purchase it, and exit (Dave Ramsey talks about this in Financial Peace). I like to SHOP. Look around, compare prices, see whats available. Sometimes Greg shops with me, he loves the clearance racks at Belks...great deals for just a little money.
I have read some awesome blogs in the last couple of days with great gift ideas for little ones, gifts baskets for all ages, coupon gifts for family & friends, etc. There are tons of ideas out there just waiting to be found. Have fun.
And MERRY CHRISTMAS (I don't do Happy Holidays).