Getting The Most From After Christmas Sales

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The best time to start thinking about next holiday season is the days after Christmas.  Getting prepared now can save you a lot of time and hassle later.  It will also save you money, which can be added to your Christmas budget next year.  Or it can go to paying off those after Christmas bills.  Stores really want to move the Christmas items to make room for the Valentine’s Day and Easter items, which comes earlier and earlier every year.  Hit multiple stores to ensure you get everything you need, as the inventory will change from store to store.  Tuck it all where you keep your holiday items.

Start Planning

Next Christmas is going to come faster then you think, so now is the perfect time to start a holiday planner if you haven’t already.  It’s a simple thing, can be a notebook or a binder, and in it you put what you need for next year, gift ideas for the people on your list, and ideas for the next holiday season.  You can also include birthdays, anniversaries and other special days, depending on how detailed you want to be.  This is the most important thing in my book.  It can save a lot of hassle during the crazy part of the year.
The holiday planner is very useful for keeping track of things, so that you don’t have to try to clutter up your brain with it for a full year.  And when you have an idea of what to buy people written down, you will be able to catch the sales during the year, instead of finding out three days before Christmas that they are out of stock or have discontinued the item.  You can also toss in those odd “Oh, I would LOVE this…“ or “If you are looking to get me something for Christmas…” moments.  Trust me, you won’t remember when the time comes otherwise.

What To Stock Up On

Wrapping Paper/Gift Boxes – Get these at bargain basement prices.  Don’t worry about what’s “in style” this year vs. next year, the themes are universal.  You can often get several rolls for the price of one at regular retail.
Decorations – Had your eye on a particular decoration, but the initial cost was a deterrent?  Buy it on sale after Christmas.  Another bonus to buying your decorations after Christmas is that it will still be fresh in your mind what you need.  Knowing that one of your strings of lights burnt out, you can pick them up cheap and not find out that you have a burnt out string after you put your decorations up next year.  Outdoor decorations are particularly useful to pick up now, as stores often have a harder time moving them.
Holiday Dinnerware – You are already planning next year’s holiday party, right?  You should be.  But even if you aren’t, stock up on the holiday dinnerware and party supplies.  Focus on the sets, such as plates, cups and napkins even if you are unsure as to whether or not you are even having a party.  Now is a great time to get that punch bowl, even if you just plan on using it for a rather large candy dish.
Holiday Cards – Get a few boxes of these.  You can often get the larger sets for a fraction of what they would cost retail.  No more last minute rush to buy those cards and get them sent.
Tape/Batteries – We’re always running out of these or misplacing them just as we are wrapping presents or the kids want to play with their new battery operated item.  Keep a spare stock in with your holiday items, for those last minute moments.

What To Avoid

Gift Wrap Holders/Storage Tubs – These do not usually get marked down enough to make any sort of difference.  If its something you have to buy anyway, get it and save yourself a buck or two, but if it isn’t necessary, don’t waste your time on them.
Make Sure You Check
Toys – Some items are only out for the holidays, so you can get a jump on next year at a steep discount.  That hot toy that every kid had to have just might be a holiday only item, and stores want to move on with the latest and greatest.
Clothes – The spring wardrobes are starting to come in some stores now, so make sure you peek around the clothing departments to see if there are any sales starting on the cold weather items.  There are also holiday only clothing that you can now get at half to 75% off regular retail.
Electronics – Again, some items are holiday only.  Think Christmas movies and music.  Stores also start receiving word to move out certain items at this time.  You never know what goodies you might find in here!
The Front Of The Store – Right before the registers.  Many stores move a lot of their holiday sale items here, as it is highly visible.  They really don’t want to keep the inventory, so they put it right where you are most likely to impulse buy it.

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