For many, waving goodbye to visitors and cleaning up the tattered gift wrap is a relief. The stress is over and so is the pressure to spend money on frivolous items.
If you have room in your budget, now is the best time to save money for next Christmas.
There are bargains to be had.
After the holidays, there are lots of items that go on sale which you could add to your stockpiles or save for the following Christmas.
- Giftwrap: You can buy this at a HUGE discount. Save the Christmassy stuff for next year, and be on the lookout for wrapping paper that will work for non-seasonal gift-giving. Solid colors, shiny multicolored foil, stripes, and polka dots, checks, and plaids can all work well for wrapping presents throughout the year.
- Paper goods: We always stock up on things like Kleenex, paper towels, napkins, paper plates, disposable flatware, and plastic cups. These things are very handy during a short-term power outage when washing dishes might be a problem. We don’t worry about the festive designs. A tissue is a tissue is a tissue.
- Greeting Cards: I know that many frugal folks make their own greeting cards (or skip them altogether) but some of us, myself included, just love mailing cards to the people we care about who live far away. I have picked up some gorgeous cards just after Christmas that aren’t overly Christmassy. I have found some with winter scenes and blank insides, some that say “Winter wishes” which would be good for several more months, a beautiful set with sheet music on the front and a quote about music inside, some that say “Missing You Right Now” – shop carefully and you may find some that work for you as all-purpose greetings. You can also pick up next year’s batch of cards on a dime.
- Bags of bows: If you enjoy wrapping presents and topping them with a perky bow, now’s the time to pick up a year’s supply at a fraction of the price.
- Gift sets: Do you have a gift closet? It can save you an absolute fortune over the course of the year. After Christmas, I go to the area where the gift baskets are marked down and pick up beautifully boxed candles, bath products, kitchen items, foods, and other items. I keep these put away for occasions when I need to give a gift. Sometimes I repackage the items in a way that looks less Christmas-y.
- Christmas decorations: If you buy Christmas trees and ornaments AFTER Christmas, you’ll get them for pennies on the dollar.
- Winter décor items: Some of our favorite wintery plaid blankets and sweater-knit pillows were purchased right after Christmas on deep discount. Look for things featuring snowmen, cardinals, plaids, winter scenes, and sweater knits.
- Candles: Gift items like scented candles often go on sale after Christmas, as well as unscented tea lights. I get nearly all my candles for the entire year during the last week of December.
- Winter clothes: Need coats, mittens, and hats? Post-Christmas is the best time to get them. Retailers mark down all sorts of cold weather attire to move it after the holidays. Look for cozy pajamas, slippers, and those heavy socks with the non-slip bottoms too.
- Games, Puzzles, and Toys: These popular gifts are often dramatically reduced after the holidays. Hang on to them for birthdays or even next Christmas.
- Stocking stuffers: Lots of things that are sold as stocking stuffers are the perfect size for travel or to supply your guest room. When my kids were little, I used to buy inexpensive little games and toys to keep in the trunk of the car in case boredom set in and we needed some kind of new distraction on a long trip.
- Stationary: Not only can you find greeting cards on sale, but you can also find winter-themed paper, notepads, journals, pens, and pencils on sale.
- Craft supplies: Don’t be put off by all the holiday colors. If you have kids, stock up on craft supplies after Christmas when they go on sale. Remember, Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s day aren’t that far away, so you’ll be able to put the reds and greens to good use. You may also be able to find crafting kits for adults too, like cross-stitch supplies and yarn.
Don’t forget the food.
Don’t forget holiday-related foods while you are bargain shopping. Lots of manufacturers package candies, crackers, and cookies with a holiday theme. Your red and green candies will be just as tasty an addition to cookies as the standard M&Ms.
You can often find the following grocery items on sale after Christmas.
- Holiday-themed dessert mixes
- Stuffing mix
- Cranberry sauce
- Canned goods like green beans, pumpkin, pineapple, and sweet potatoes
- French-fried onions
- Citrus fruit
- Frozen appetizers
- Egg nog
Check the deli for marked down party platters full of meat, cheese, fruits, and veggies.
You can also often find holiday-themed goods like zip-lock bags, “disposable” plastic food containers (we use these over and over), cellophane bags, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap.
What do you buy at the after-Christmas sales?
Are there any things you look for every year that I didn’t mention here? Share them in the comments!