- Starting 12/26 the stores will start the mark downs! This is the perfect time to buy decorations, Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nonperishable gift sets, Christmas linens, etc.
- Start shopping thrift stores and garage sales for Christmas plates & cookie tins. I love buying a single Christmas plate (usually $1 or less) at a garage sale and using it to give baked goods. They are real plates that can be reused by the recipient and it is just nicer than a paper plate (and better for the environment).
- Start collecting FREE & cheap stuff from CVS and Walgreens to make into gift baskets next year.
- Shop the thrift stores and garage sales for baskets that can be used as gift baskets next year. My Target price for a basket is $.25-$.50 but always less than $1 (unless it is a really big basket).
- Many non-Christmas items will go on clearance after Christmas. I like to purchase things like PJ sets, perfume sets, blankets, etc. now. These items make great Christmas gifts next year and can also be used for Birthdays during the year.
- Start looking for recipes that would make great baked goods gifts. If you find the recipes now you can practice making them and not worry about major flops in December. Your family will not mind, trust me. My son and husband love it when I "practice" a new recipe because that means that get to eat all of it! You can also start purchasing mason jars or treat bags to package the goodies. Thrift stores and garage sales are great places to find mason jars and treat bags will be on after Christmas clearance.
The only items I don't buy ahead of time are toys because children change their minds so many times during the year and you never know what the HOT toy of 2010 will be. I do look for good deals on pajamas, slippers & stocking stuffers for kids. For all of the adults, I make a list and then during the year when I find the perfect gift I cross the name off the list. This helps to save money and I am not stressed-out in December!
For more frugal ideas, visit Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.