One of the biggest ways I save money is by buying items ahead of time while they are on sale, usually for 75% off or more. I do it with groceries, clothing, toys and gifts. Since, the Target Toy Clearance will be starting soon, it makes for a great opportunity to start a gift closet. I am sharing some of the benefits I have found by shopping ahead of time for toys and gifts.
One of the biggest reasons to shop ahead of time, is that it can save you money. I have 4 boys, and ALL of them have been HUGE Lego fans. If I went out and paid full price (or even a sale price) for a Lego set I would be spending a ton of money on Lego’s. I have been able to find Lego sets for 75% off, so I am able to spend LESS money on their birthday and Christmas gifts.
An important point to make here, is that just because you bought something on sale, it doesn’t mean you have to buy more. Some people have the mindset that they “have” to spend a certain amount of money on a gift. If you buy more, you aren’t really saving any money, you are just getting more. Kids don’t really need more! I prefer to give them a nice quality gift and stick with that. We actually only give our children one gift for Christmas. Yes, you read that right, just ONE GIFT from Mom and Dad! They also get a gift delivered from Santa, and a gift from each of their siblings too, so they end up with more than one gift on Christmas morning.
By purchasing items ahead of time, it saves me money that I can use on other important things, like family vacations, groceries, charitable donations, and even super fun stuff like braces for my children.
If you do clearance shopping every time you head to the store, you are bound to find some great deals sooner or later. When you have a stockpile of gifts at home, you won’t have to run to the store every time your child get’s invited to a birthday party. It’s quicker and easier to run out to the garage to grab an item than it is to run to the store searching for a gift.
This also is a huge time saver at Christmas time! With the majority of my Christmas shopping done I can spend more quality time with my family enjoying the things that Christmas is really all about. I don’t have to spend the majority of the Christmas season running around trying to find the perfect gift.
Allows for Generosity
I have fond memories of going to the mall with my Mom at Christmas time and choosing a name off “The Giving Tree”. Both my sister and I would get to choose the item for the children that we selected. We did this every year! I still remember the item I bought when I finally purchased my first Giving Tree item with my very own money – it was a Cabbage Patch doll!
I wanted to do the same thing with my children that my Mom did with me and my sister. Money was a lot tighter during our first years of marriage, but I still thought it was important to teach our children to be generous. So, I did same thing that my Mom did with The Giving Tree, only I did it in reverse. I would purchase items at 75% off and save them in a bin at home. When Christmas would come around, me and the kids would see what toys we had and then go find a name on the tree that would be a great match for the gifts we had at home.
At the end of the year, I also like to go through the gift closet and anything that I don’t already have plans for can be donated to Toys for Toys or given to a family in need. Shopping this way has allowed our family to be more generous than we would be able to if we just bought the gifts when they were needed.
My family knows that if they ever need a gift for a birthday, they can come to me. My sister has 3 kids, both her and her husband have their own businesses, so there is not a lot of time left in her schedule for gift shopping. She can call me up and let me know what type of party she is going to, and I can usually help her with a gift that I have bought previously. Plus, it is usually 75% of the cost she would have paid at the store! If you have the time, money and space to create a gift closet, let it work for others too! Everyone loves to save a little time and money.
Tips for buying ahead:
- NEVER go in to debt to purchase gifts ahead of time (or anytime)! You aren’t saving money if you are incurring interest charges.
- Make sure the item is worth the money. Just because an item is 75% off, it doesn’t automatically make it a great deal. I always check reviews on Amazon, if something I bought didn’t get great reviews, I return it.
- Stay away from “themed” merchandise that may only be around for a year or less. I am not talking about classic items, like Star Wars, or Sesame Street. When you have a gift closet, things may stay there awhile before you have the chance to give them to someone. Find items that will be popular gifts at any time.
- Buy the classics like Lego’s, Playmobil, or other brands you personally love.
- Make sure you have the room to store the gifts. I now have a closet in my garage, but I have previously kept the gifts in a Rubbermaid storage tote.
- Make a list of what you have. It’s so easy to forget that you already bought a gift for your someone, and you end up buying another.
- Set a price point for yourself. For instance if I am buying ahead, I always aim for items that are 75% off. I will go 50% off for certain Lego’s, but I never pay more than that. I always know that if I miss out on one thing, another great deal will always come around.
Let’s hear your thoughts on buying ahead of time and having a gift closet. I’d love to hear if you do the same thing, where you store your items, or let us about your favorite find.