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How to Build a Gift Closet Without Breaking Your Budget

Your son comes home from school on Thursday and announces he’s been invited to a birthday party. And it’s tomorrow. I’ve been there! And I have your solution in just two words: gift stockpile. It’s pretty simple. Learn the best time of year to buy everything, and when you find a deal on a giftable item–anything from a blender to a Nerf gun–buy it when the price is low, and save it for later. In the long run, it’ll save you time and money. Here’s how I do it:

I load up on bins when they’re on sale and make a bin for each of these categories:

  • Baby Shower Gifts
  • Bridal Shower and Wedding Gifts
  • Kids Birthday Gifts
  • Teen Birthday and Graduation Gifts
  • Teacher, Friend, and Neighbor Gifts

Next, I fill up my bins!

1. Baby Shower Gifts

babystockpile

Diapers from your couponing stockpile: Diapers and wipes are like liquid gold to a new mom. Raid your couponing stockpile and give some of those diapers and wipes you get at rock-bottom prices as a shower gift. If you don’t have a stash of diapers already, let’s get you started. Once a month, you can find Huggies for under $3.50 per pack and Pampers for under $5 per pack at drugstores like Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS. If you have a pregnant friend, follow MGM Qpon Queen to find coupons for Huggies, Pampers coupons, and other diaper deals!

Baby Gap extra 40% off clearance: Stock up on sleepers when they are under $8. In-store clearance prices are better than online clearance prices.

Tip: the last markdown prices end in $0.97. Follow your local gap on Facebook to find out when the sales happen in your area.

The Children’s Place online “Monster Sale”: Get baby clothes for as low as $0.99! Sign up for TCP emails to find out when the “Monster Sale” takes place. (Plus get $10 off your next purchase just for signing up!) Online prices are better than in-store, but don’t pay for shipping! Free shipping happens so often that if The Children’s Place isn’t offering it the day you shop, it’s worth waiting a day or two and checking back to see if shipping is free another day.

Target holiday clearance: I’ve seen holiday-specific pacifiers, bibs, onesies, and sippy cups marked down 70-90% after holidays! Buy that reindeer onesie or patriotic pacifier, and save it away for the friend that’s due in that season.

2. Bridal Shower and Wedding Gifts

weddingstockpile

Kohl’s + Kohl’s cash + coupon code stacking: Watch for deals at Kohl’s on small appliances or bed and bath items. Black & Decker appliances have been as cheap as $14 (for a $40 appliance). Toasters or coffeepots often go on sale for only $4.99. The big bath towels get as low as $3 each at Kohl’s, so when they hit that price, stock up!

Black Friday deals on small appliances: Many stores including Macy’s, JCPenney, and Walmart have doorbuster deals on small appliances on Black Friday, making it a great time to stock up on wedding gifts for under $20–sometimes as low as $5 each. And thanks to mail-in-rebates, there’s also a sprinkling of hot appliance deals all year-round. Just a few months ago, I got a $50 slow cooker, electric skillet, and blender for only $10.

Victoria’s Secret reward cards: Take advantage of the Secret Rewards promotion in March/April in order to get VS items for FREE for any brides-to-be who show up in your life. There are $10, $20, $50, $100, or $500 reward cards available. You can request 1 reward card per household per day during the month the program runs. Just mail your request in and they’ll send you a card a day. You’ll have one month to redeem your rewards. Learn everything you need to know about Victoria’s Secret Secret Reward Cards. Also shop the VS semi-annual sale in January and June where you’ll find panties for as low as $3.99. Lingerie is up to 50% off, and good quality pajamas are only $24.99. I have various sizes and styles in my stockpile.

Target Home Clearance: Peruse the end-caps for clearance deals.

Tip: Most Target locations mark down their home section on Thursdays.

3. Kids Birthday Gifts

kidsstockpile

Hollar for great-priced, high-quality toys: Load up on toys, stuffed animals, art supplies, games, and T-shirts, all for under $5 at Hollar! Hollar has a lot of brand-name toys and crafts (like Melissa & Doug). Your first order ships free when you spend $10; otherwise, shipping is free when you spend $25.

Amazon Lightning Deals: Another place to watch for great deals on toys. Act fast–Lighting Deals really do move like lightning! Make sure to add the item to your cart, sign in to your account, and enter payment info before the deal goes live. That way, all you have to do is check out, and you’re not at risk for losing the toy before it sells out–sometimes in less than 90 seconds!

Tip: Join Amazon Prime (free 30 day trial here) and you’ll get to shop most Lightning Deals 30 minutes before deals go live for everyone else.

Target semi-annual toy clearance: Usually starts on the second or third week in January and again in July at Target; you’ll start seeing 30% off on toys. The sale then goes to 50% off and quickly to 70% off. Eventually the leftover toys hit the end-caps, and they sit at 90% off. Items go so fast! If there’s something you really want, it’s best to get it at the 50% markdown. The good stuff is gone once it hits 70%. During the rest of the year, shop Target on Thursdays, because that’s when they mark down their toy section.

Tip: Stock up on arts and crafts items like crayons, construction paper, scissors, markers, etc., during Back-to-School sales and clearance sales after school begins.

4. Teen Birthday and Graduation Gifts

teengiftsstockpile

Raise.com for discounted gift cards: Get a 12-15% (average) discount on gift cards at Raise.com for stores you already frequent. In fact, if you’re not using Raise.com yet, you’re missing out! Let the teen in your life pick out their own gift. You can choose gift cards from iTunes, Best Buy, Sephora, Starbucks, TJ Maxx, and a lot more.

Cosmetics deals at Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid: Find high-value coupons for new products at Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid. Keep an eye out specifically for brands like Maybelline and Revlon and items like nail polish and mascara. Also look at Target! Text BEAUTY to 827438 to get a coupon to use at Target. For the girl who likes brand-name makeup, you can find deals at Sephora, too! I like to stock up during their semi-annual sales in April and November. I also like to buy their value sets, which include a mix of items of the same brand.

BestBuy.com deals: This electronics giant isn’t just a great place to get a giant flatscreen TV. Watch for Best Buy sales a few times per month on headphones, appliances, and computers. Sometimes you can even haggle for a better price at Best Buy. And if you find a better price online, Best Buy is one of a handful of retailers who will price match Amazon.

Back-to-school sales/clearance on dorm stuff: Give an incoming freshmen a head start on their space in college. You’ll find comforters, pillows, and basically anything a student needs to set up their dorm room. Back-to-school sales are in full swing from July to September. Check out Target and Ikea clearance sales in September for some of the best deals.

5. Teacher, Friend, and Neighbor Gifts

teacherstockpile

Bath & Body Works semi-annual sale in January and June: Stock up in-store or online on hand soaps for as little as $3.25, and Wallflower refills for $3. Lotion and body cream are $3.75, and candles are up to 50% off. Bath & Body Works items make great gifts for my kids’ teachers and also for times when I forget a friend or a neighbor’s birthday. Late gifts are better than no gifts, right?!

Accessories deals at JCPenney: Find deals on jewelry, scarves, gloves, or flip-flops. JCPenney does in-store “penny deals” where items like towels, tank tops, and makeup bags are only $.01.

Wine Case Discounts: If you have the sort of relationship with your child’s teacher where this would be welcome, wine is a thoughtful gift. Want to save money at Whole Foods? Get a 10% discount when you buy 6 or more bottles.

Join a wine club so you always have a bottle on hand: Check out Club W, where you get your first 3 bottles of wine for $28.41, plus shipping. Try Lot 18’s Tasting Room where you can get 6 wine samples for just $9.95 shipped. Heartwood sometimes sells 6 bottles of wine for under $6 each. Make sure some of those bottles make it into their gift stockpile bin!

And that’s how I did it! I save an average of 45% on the total cost of my annual gifting–and that includes my own children’s gifts! For the last three years, I’ve saved about $700 per year.

5 Ways to Save on School Uniforms

School Uniforms come with a love/hate relationship for most people. Many districts say that they save parents money, plus there is no more stress over what to wear everyday or that someone else has more fashionable clothing.  While those are all great, buying a line of clothing that is like work attire for children is expensive.  Now they have school clothes separate from play clothes.   That’s double the clothing (not to mention double the laundry).

If you need to get new uniforms on a budget, here are a few ideas on how to save on school uniforms.

Save on School Uniforms

1.  Consignment Sales/Good Will

We are in the middle of back-to-school consignment season.  You’ll find many uniform racks in almost every sale running in your city.  Many times these will be brand name items (Lands End etc.) for over 50% off the regular price. Go one step further and head to Good Will.  Our local stores have a large selection of uniform apparel and all start at $2.79 per item!  My girls need uniform pants and a polo shirts to wear with their American Heritage Girls uniforms each year, this is where we grab them.

2.  Coupon Codes & Cash Back

Look at going new with a number of online deals various sites will run during back to school season. You’ll also find deals specifically on uniforms at Old Navy, Target, Walmart and a number of other retailers.

Before shopping online, always look for a coupon code and make sure to GO THROUGH EBATES FIRST to earn cash back on your entire purchase.

3.  Attach Your Own Insignia or Patches

Many times school uniforms are just khaki pants with a polo shirt.  If your school requires special insignia, ask if there are local embroidery shops that have the pattern.  Rather than buying from a special school shop that has things already made (and costs a fortune), grab your own apparel and take it to a local shop or do it your self.  To save more, make sure to have all your clothing in the same order.  Many shops offer a discount when it is a the same logo repeated.

4.  Start a Uniform Exchange

Be a problem solver and start a uniform exchange to help everyone out!  You aren’t the only family needing uniforms, so band together and swap uniforms with others to get the sizes you need.  This is incredibly easy to do, just invite folks to meet at a person’s house or even at the school and have items ready for swap or sale.

5. Shop Ebay

The consignment sale king online doesn’t miss a beat with uniforms either.  You’ll find a ton of options on ebay and some even for bulk sales where you could get everything you need in one order.  Be careful to not order uniforms that have insignia already on them, this can be costly to cover up or replace.

Do you have any other tips on how you save on school uniforms?

Quaker Coupon | $1 Chewy Bars

There is a new high-value Target cartwheel offer available to save 50% Off Quaker Chewy Bars in Lightning McQueen Cookies & Cream flavor.

There is also a sale at Target on this item, making these bars $1. Grab some to have on hand for school lunches.

Target Deal Idea:

  • Buy:
    Quaker Chewy Bars 8 ct 3/$6 or $2 each (Sale thru 9/2)
    Use:
    -50% off Quaker Chewy Lightning McQueen, 8-ct, cookies & cream variety, Target Cartwheel (exp 7/29) ECOUPON
    makes it $1

Craft Store Coupons

Check out these coupons to save on crafts this week. Keep in mind that many stores take competitor coupons. Grab 20% off your total purchase at Jo-Ann’s this week including sale price items.

Craft Store Coupons:

Michaels

-40% Off Any One Regular Price Item PRINTABLE (exp 7/29)
-60% Off + Extra 10% Off Sale Price Hampton & Oxford Street Custom Frame Collections PRINTABLE (exp 7/29)

Jo-Ann Fabrics

-20% Off Total Purchase (sale & reg price) PRINTABLE (exp 7/24)
-$2.49 yd. Cozy Flannel Solids PRINTABLE (exp 7/24)
-40% Off Total Purchase of Outdoor Fabrics PRINTABLE (exp 7/24)
-40% Off Any One Regular Priced Item PRINTABLE (exp 7/24)
-65% Off Your Entire Custom Frame order PRINTABLE (exp 8/2)

Hobby Lobby

-40% Off (1) Item At Regular Price, PRINTABLE

Entertainment Books Only $7 Each + FREE Shipping

2016entertainmentbook
For a limited time only, you can grab the 2017 Entertainment Book for only $7.00 shipped (Reg. $35). Just go HERE, select your state and city and add an Entertainment Book to your cart. Even better you can get an extra 20% Off when you order 2 or more books by using the code SUMMER20 at checkout to get the discount.

There are savings for dining out, shopping, travel, movies and more so you can easily save over the amount of the cost of one book using just one coupon inside the Entertainment Book! This deal ends soon, and some areas may sell out, so check it out soon if you have interest!

Shark Navigator Vacuum, as Low as $74.99 Shipped at Macy’s (Reg. $189.99)!

Score a couple of nice deals on Shark vacuums with the Macy’s Black Friday in July Sale!

Find the Shark Navigator NV105 Light Vacuum on sale for $79.99 (regularly $189.99). Receive free standard shipping or select free No Hurry shipping and earn $5.00 Macy’s Money, bringing your final price down to only $74.99!

Buy 1 Shark Navigator Light Vacuum – NV105 (reg. $189.99) $79.99
Choose free No Hurry shipping on orders of $10.00 or more and receive $5.00 Macy’s Money
Free shipping on orders of $49.00 or more
Pay $79.99, receive $5.00 Macy’s Money
Final Price: $74.99 shipped

Or get model NV106 for $105.49 shipped when you stack sale price, an automatic 15% off offer and Macy’s Money!

Buy 1 Shark Navigator Light Upright Vacuum – NV106 (reg. $189.99) $129.99
Save an extra 15% off select floor care products at checkout through 7/17
Choose free No Hurry shipping on orders of $10.00 or more and receive $5.00 Macy’s Money
Free shipping on orders of $49.00 or more
Pay $110.49, receive $5.00 Macy’s Money
Final Price: $105.49 shipped

Summer Clearance at Target

summer-70

Be sure to check out whatever you have left in your summer seasonal section as items are now up to 70% Off. Since this is seasonal clearance keep in mind most summer items will not get stickered- so you will need to scan, scan, scan!

Keep in mind that not everything in this section will be clearanced, so definitely take the time to scan your items before you checkout so there are no surprises. This summer seasonal clearance should take one more dip to 90% Off in the next two or three days, but it’s up to you to take your chances and wait – or grab what you want now before its gone.

summer-8
One of my favorite items to stock up on during summer clearance is sunscreen, as there are usually great finds – and this year is no exception. Up & Up 3 packs will be $4.19 if your store is at 70% off, making each sunscreen around $1.40 each. Since this 3 pk usually sells for $13.89 its a great deal, so I’m not taking my chances and waiting for 90%.

summertablecloth
This year’s theme was all about Poptimism, so any time you see this word on a package there is a good chance that the item will be included in the summer clearance. For example I found these cute round patriotic tablecloths that will now be $3.90 if your store is at 70%, regularly $12.99.

summer-pools

And these Poptimism Inflatable pools were also ringing up at 70% off. But note that only the ones with canopies were ringing up at 70% off – the ones without the canopies were not.

summer-1a

Red, blue, & clear string lights were also 70% off down to $3, and I also found lots of patriotic paper plates now down to 60 cents, regularly $2.

summer-wiffle

I also found these 6 packs of Franklin Whiffle balls to be part of the summer clearance and they will be $1.64 each if your store is at 70%, regularly $5.49.

summer3a

There were lots of plastic beverage dispensers and brightly colored plastic drinking cups.  A few of these items were stickered, but most were not and scanning at 70% off for me.

summer2

These cute star shaped chip & dip containers and other serveware were also ringing up at 70% off and I had a ton of glowsticks left that will be just .30 if your store is at 70.

summer-totes

There were several brightly colored vinyl totes at 70% off, as well as other carryalls.

summer-vaseline

While most of these items will be found in the summer seasonal be sure & take a look around other parts of the store too. Just look for items with the word Poptimism or brightly colored designs reminiscent of the ’70s . I found these Vaseline lip therapy tins on a clearance end cap without stickers, but part of summer clearance and ringing up at .89, regularly $2.99.

I remember that these were originally hanging off the side of an endcap in health and beauty for me – so it may be worth a look there too in case your store hasn’t moved them yet.

summer-floats

Also be sure and take a look in your outdoor section for a possible endcap full of Big Mouth floats. There were several designs that were part of summer clearance that may have been put back here by mistake. I found the hotdog, ice pop and giant sunglass designs for 70% off and mixed in with other styles that were regular priced. So its worth a quick look to see if any summer clearance ones are hiding in this spot.

But be sure and check out other parts of the store too, as there were lots of different Poptimism items this year including Crayola Crayons, bandaids and more. So Good Luck & I hope many of you find lots of goodies this year!