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Monday, December 28, 2015

After Christmas Strategic Shopping

I typically do more shopping after Christmas than before. I've been a bargain hound since way back.

We don't need the usual Christmas lovelies, like lights or gift wrap. I've managed to stockpile that long ago. Nowadays, it's the fancy stuff like Godiva chocolates and the extra cute Christmas cards I found this year.

At this time of year we're usually loaded down with homemade treats from the neighbors so I freeze the chocolates until we come up against a dreary day when only the best chocolate will do.

Sadly, stores have gotten savvy to bargain hounds like me. Inventory is computer-controlled now. They know what stock will move and what won't and they buy accordingly. There's always a margin for error which is why there are still some items leftover after Christmas, but it's not like the old days.

I feel sorry for younger shoppers today. They'll never know the thrill of overstock.

If I can give you one tip for buying after Christmas sales, shop for items that are not tied directly to Christmas

• Cloth napkins trimmed with silver thread will serve long past the holidays. Whereas, snowman-themed napkins are a once a year item.

• Holiday dishware: Last year I bought several place settings of gold rimmed dishes for 75% off. (I waited for the very end of the clearance.) They're great for big gatherings when paper plates won't do.

• Gift wrap in solid colors can be used year round.

• Holiday candles can be used for any festive occasion.

• Christmas-themed, quality dog toys (don't bother with the cheap stuff) is good for any occasion. Dogs don't care if they're chewing on Santa's leg. It's all good.

Speaking of dog gifts, please avoid any rawhide made in China. Too many dogs have died from Chinese products. Because of their size, little dogs are even more susceptible to any toxins. If you can't verify where it was made, don't chance it.

• Don't forget the necessary extras like tissue paper, tape, and baking tins. If they're in the Christmas aisle, chances are they're also marked down.

• As you glance at the pre-packaged Christmas gifts, stock up on things that won't expire. Pajamas, bed throws, slippers, and neck massagers almost invariably get marked down. Now's the time to get them for next year's gifts. Note: If you buy anything with a cord, be sure to check that it works before you put it away.

Did you get anything good for Christmas this year? We don't buy gifts for each other anymore, though somehow Greg managed to get a few toys for himself. Men!


Jackie Burris said...

This is the first year we did not shop on either Black Friday after Thanksgiving or the day after Christmas either one, it is too crowded for both of us to deal with either in the parking lots or the stores or the roads to drive to get to stores too.

Maria we do not buy presents for each other either, easier to set a price limit and buy for ourselves that way we get not only something we may need but something we actually want and will use.

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie: I've never been a fan of trading gifts unless I know for a fact someone would like something in particular.

So often we give things that are nothing more than pacifiers--stuff we give because it's expected.

Re: after Christmas sales
It was surprisingly empty in the stores, but then we went early. We got front door parking and were in and out in minutes.

betty said...

I liked all the tips you listed here for after Christmas shopping. I remember growing up (this would have been in late 1960s and early 1970s) no one shopped the day after Christmas. A few would, but not like the crazy days now. My mom would go to look for wrapping paper or cards or ornaments, etc. that were 50% off. I tend to always have wrapping paper leftover from the year before to get me started on wrapping the next year's gifts so I'm not much of an after Christmas shopper. I do agree about not getting pet treats from China; virtually impossible to find anything not made there for pets or to find something made in the United States for pets.

We don't exchange gifts either for hubby or me. I like to wait until we need something or want something rather than trying to come up with something just to have a gift to unwrap.


B.E. Sanderson said...

By the time I make it out to the stores, all the good stuff will be gone. (And by good stuff, I mean chocolates.) Oh well, it's not like I really need that stuff.

We don't get each other anything either. My mom did send some nice sweatshirts for both of us, though, so we had something to unwrap. And the Kid sent a package of home-baked goodies, so when that arrives, it'll be like Christmas all over again. =o)

Stacy McKitrick said...

Hubby & I still give each other gifts at Christmas (we don't for our anniversary, though--never have). It's fun (for me, anyway). Sometimes I even manage to surprise him (in a good way).

Sometimes I go shopping on Dec 26, but I didn't this year. Got busy doing other things. It's not like I enjoy shopping--I don't--but I do like a bargain. Maybe next year. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Betty: I used to shop after Christmas sales back in the 70s, and you're absolutely right, there were almost no shoppers then. I'm not sure what changed. People say the economy, but you know, in 45 years of being an active consumer, the economy is always an issue.

The only time we had it easy financially was during the 80s. We didn't make any more money, but things were cheaper.

Maria Zannini said...

BE: Yeah, you really have to go out the first day for the best deals. For higher end stuff though, it pays to wait it out until things go for 75% or more off. You might not get it, but then again, you might.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: Greg gets such a kick out of presents, but it's better now because he gets what he wants instead of what I think he wants.

Diane Carlisle said...

I now have 6 rolls of Scotch tape which probably won't be needed again until next year, when I can't find any of them and have to go out and buy some for gift wrapping. UGH!

Anna Soliveres said...

You know, I never thought about after-holiday shopping like this. Really great tips. Every year, during the holidays, I'm always thinking about how I should have stocked up the year prior. LOL I think a big part of why I don't do it, is that I'm burned out of energy (and cash). Hah! Thanks for sharing, and hope you had a wonderful and warm Christmas!

Maria Zannini said...

Diane: Spread'em around. I keep a roll in the kitchen, one in each of the dens, one in my box with the wrapping paper, and a collection of different kinds of tapes and adhesives in my laundry room.

I hate having to look for little things like that so I keep tape and scissors in nearly every room.

Maria Zannini said...

Anna: If you try it once every few years or so, you're bound to get some great buys. My Christmases are usually quiet so I've had plenty of time to rest for the next day. :)

Jenny Schwartz said...

So weird here this year. Stores were running their after Christmas sales before Christmas. We have January sales on now (checks calendar, yeah still December). Retailers seem worried that they have to hit our wallets early or miss out.

Me? I don't want to go shopping at all! :)

Lynn Viehl said...

We keep the gift-giving very low key now that the kids are grown, and I handmade all my gifts for the family this year. My guy surprised me with a beautiful little convection toaster oven which will save on energy and keep me from having to use the big stove so much.

I never leave the house on Black Friday if I can help it. We have thirty-one years of accumulated Christmas stuff (including a huge bin of wrapping paper), and I can make almost anything I need, so I don't shop before or after Christmas sales. I do buy all our household calendars and planners a couple days after Jan. 1st; BAM usually has them marked down 75% after New Years.

One of our neighbors always has such nice outdoor Christmas lights that I mentioned it to my guy, and he told me something funny -- that neighbor returns his lights to the local home improvement store every year after Christmas, exchanges them for new sets, and then stores the brand new sets for the next year. It seems almost like stealing to me, but at least now I know why his lights never burn out -- they're always new!

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: I don't like going clothes shopping, but I do love hunting bargains for practical things.

I should change my name to "Never Pay Full Price Maria", but that's a little long for a business card. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Lynn: I bought myself one of those little convection ovens a few years ago. I use it a lot, though I've always been disappointed with it's toaster speed. Everything else is great though.

Re: neighbor
That's a naughty neighbor. What he's doing is stealing. I read recently that retailers are trying to crack down on repeat returners by keeping a tally. It's sad when people take advantage of the system.

The other day I ordered a new mouse online for my old squeaky mouse. Unfortunately, they sent me one that not only had been returned but it was missing the wireless usb connector.

Anne Gallagher said...

I love after Christmas shopping. I always buy winter clothes for next year. Also depends on what gift cards I receive. I didn't get what I wanted from Santa (a new car) but that's okay. Maybe from the Easter bunny. I'm ever hopeful.

Happy New Year to you and Greg and all the critters on the farm!

Mike Keyton said...

"Greg gets such a kick out of presents, but it's better now because he gets what he wants instead of what I think he wants." The key to a happy marriage :)

Maria Zannini said...

Anne: We're in need of a new truck, but we didn't find that under the tree either. :)

Happy New Year, Anne!

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: Hence our very long marriage. :)

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I got a ton of Barbie clothes for all the new videos I will make in 2016. I should be all set. At after Christmas sales, I buy ornaments, mostly. I can never have enough glitter.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: I used to buy a really nice ornament every year. I have enough to decorate two trees now. :)

Shelley Munro said...

Hubby and I don't usually get gifts for each other either, although this year I got hubby a Fitbit. I've had one for a while, and he's turned out to be very competitive when it comes to steps!

I tend to shop after Christmas. I always hit the LUSH store since they have their Christmas gift boxes at 50% off. I've stockpiled enough for at least 6 months :)

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: That's a great gift, especially now that you have a partner in exercise.