Frugal Friday - Planning a Gift Closet

By creating a gift closet you are able to plan ahead for gift giving rather then running out at the last minute, thus you save time, hassle and most especially money! It also comes in handy for those last minute events that seem to pop-up and saves you the embarrassement of not having something to give.

Location: This is key, while not all of us has an extra closet to devote to "gifts" any place out of the way will do. A cabinet, a bin or shelf in the basement, a drawer, under the get the idea. Having one or two central locations for your gifts means you'll spend less time hunting for them when the time arrives to use them. If you can't find them you can't use them and you'll be running out to the store, which really defeats the purpose!

Organization: You'd be surprised how quickly that closet get's packed and many items are buried and before too long you're not all together sure what's in there? One solution is to keep a master list. Create a list with the item name, where you put it, your cost and who you had in mind when you bought if. Now don't lose the list! Do yourself a favor....don't wait for 5 minute before you need to be there to try and unbury the item...I know from experience the avalanche it causes is not worth it! And on occasion...oops it's not there...or oops it's the wrong size etc...

Know who your shopping for: Take some time to consider what occasions you will need gifts for and what might be appropriate. If you have a 6 year old for example you will probably need some gifts geared towards that age group as he or she will be invited to Birthday Parties. Other ideas include: teacher gifts, gifts for your girlfriends, housewarming gifts, christmas gifts.

It also pays to pay attention to people you gift to through out the year, chances are they are unwittingly giving you clues on what they like/want. When this happens keep your eyes peeled for that item at a rock bottom price.

Regifting: We've all received gifts we've been less then thrilled with and can't return or exchange. When that is the case put it in the Gift Closet and regift it. Just wait match the gift with someone who will appreciate it, if you have someone in mind right away add it to your master list. Put a note on it so you know who gave it to you so you don't give it back to someone in the same circle or god forbid back to the person who originally gave it to you.

Stocking the Closet: This is the fun part, shopping. It's not a good idea to run out and "shop" for your gift closet, you'll waste time, gas and money. Rather keep your eyes out for deals through out the year and snag items at rock bottom prices for your stash.

Holiday Stocking: The day/week after a Holiday is the best time to stock up on seasonal gifts. I have it on good athority that Santa and the Easter Bunny shop for stocking stuffers and Easter Basket goodies at that time! Although it's not always possible to know what your child will want the following Christmas this is a good time to stock up on holiday socks, pj's, t-shirts, egg dye kits, ginger bread house kits, etc...

Keep in mind many stores will stock up on non-holdiay items at this time as well, such as toys....often they over-stock. Just wait around eventually they'll go on clearance.

The price scanner is your friend! - not all seasonal/holiday items get put in the same area of the store when they are clearanced. Keep your eyes peeled for anything that looks remotely seasonal and scan it, often the store associates miss relocating these items.

Garage/Yard Sales - This is a great place to find gifts. Look for toys, games, craft kits, puzzles, bath & body products etc...still sealed in their original packaging. If you are giving it as a gift you want to ensure every piece is there so it makes sense to buy something still sealed. Surprisingly you find this kind of stuff fairly often!

Gift Wrap, Bags & Cards - As long as you're out there keep your eyes peeled for deals on wrapping paper, gift bags and cards. You can find holiday/seasonal wrap and bags the week after a holiday. You should also keep your eyes peeled for Card deals, coupons and promotions around holidays. This Mother's Day I bought several cards for a steal to use for future holidays by using a sale, promotion and a coupon to get them for next to nothing! Don't forget about Weddings, is there anything as aggravating as running into a store in a rush on your way to the reception in your high heels because you forgot to buy a card?

Gift Cards - Keep an eye out for good deals on gift cards. Yes believe it or not they often offer incentives for buying gift cards, usually around holidays. Snatch them up when you can get  a deal and save them for gift giving! Teenagers love Gift Cards, and no trust me you don't know what they want!

Reward Points: I turn my Discover reward points in for gift cards and save them for gift giving!

My favorite Gift Closet find this year: The Habro Deck of Card Games. They had Pictureka, Monopoly, Sorry and Scrabble Slam. There were $5.00 printables for these and many came with $5.00 off coupons inside. They were $5.24 at Walmart so I got them for .24 cents. I got oodles and oodles of them....!

What about you do you have a Gift Closet Frugal Tip? If so comment and let me know!


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