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


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


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


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 for discounted gift cards: Get a 12-15% (average) discount on gift cards at for stores you already frequent. In fact, if you’re not using 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. 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


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.

Clearance Alert! Pet Food, as Low as $0.36 at Target!

I love Target’s clearance prices! Right now, possibly find pet food for more than 50% off. Pair select clearance items with coupons for even more savings. Take advantage of these prices, start your stockpile, and save time on future shopping trips for pet food.

Final Price: $0.36

Use one $0.75/4 – Purina ONE SmartBlend Wet Dog Food Cans from SS 4/30

Final Price: $0.52 each, when you buy 4

Final Price: $2.44

Final Price: $3.38


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)
    -50% off Quaker Chewy Lightning McQueen, 8-ct, cookies & cream variety, Target Cartwheel (exp 7/29) ECOUPON
    makes it $1

Target run 7-15-17 Only $105

One of my favorite things about shopping at Target is the free gift card deals. People often ask me how I can afford to do Christmas like I do (remember 8 siblings most of whom are married with kids and some of the kids have kids). The answer is two fold…1- coupons for everything and 2- Target gift cards I get through out the year. This was our latest haul.

I haven’t been shopping in almost a month so we needed quite a bit of stuff. With the exception of perishables this should tide us over for another month or so. So here is the receipt: (be forewarned it’s a long receipt and I had to piece it together LOL)

Yes that bottom line figure says $174. And it doesn’t look like I saved a whole bunch. But let’s break it down some. A big part of the $174 was stuff on clearance (remember my post over the weekend here about checking your clearance sections?) so that makes a huge difference. Then I was able to use coupons and Cartwheel on top of the clearance items.

Next thing to note is that I got $20 back in gift cards and I bought a $25 Starbucks gift card. So this brings my total down to LIKE $130ish.

Then we have the online and app rebates here:

This brought my total down to $120. Then I submitted a $15 rebate for the vitamins here which will bring my total down to a whole whopping $105 for a month (more or less) of non perishables and health goods.

Summer Clearance at Target


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.

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%.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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!

Huge Savings at Target this week.

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Starting on Sunday, is offering huge savings on Baby Items, to Kitchen & More! The best part? No membership is required, plus all orders over $35 ship for free!

Offers by Category/Date(s) are below.

 – Monday 7/10: 30% off indoor & outdoor furniture.
Tuesday 7/11: 40% off bed & bath.
 – Thursday 7/13: 40% off top brands within home like Christopher Knight Home, Safevieh and Signature Design by Ashley.
 – Friday 7/14: 30% off indoor & outdoor rugs.
 – Saturday 7/15: 40% off indoor & outdoor décor and curtains.

– Monday 7/10:
 Save $50 on Emerson crib by Delta.
 – Tuesday 7/11: Save 40% on Fisher Price Rock n Play Sleeper.
 – Wednesday 7/12: Extra 10% off all Graco gear.
– Thursday 7/13: 20% off 4pk & 2pk Aden & Anais Swaddles.
 – Friday 7/14Free $25 Target GiftCard with purchase of Tula Bliss Boque Carrier.

 – 7/9-7/15: Get a $20 Target GiftCard when you spend $100 on baby, get a $50 GiftCard when you spend $250 on baby. (Strollers, Car Seats, Gear & Activity, Nursery)
 – 7/9-7/15: Get a $20 Target GiftCard when you spend $100 on baby essentials, get a $50 GiftCard when you spend $250 on baby essentials. (Diapers, Wipes, etc.)
 – 7/9-7/15: 20% off Graco.
 – 7/9-7/15: Get a $50 Target GiftCard with purchase of a Motorola Monitor.
 – 7/9-7/15: Get a $30 Target GiftCard with purchase of select Ergobaby Carriers.

 – 7/9-7/12: Save up to 40% off top brands in kitchen.
 – 7/9-7/12: $70 off a KitchenAid Classic Mixer.
 – 7/9-712: 50% off KitchenAid 10 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set.
 – 7/9-7/12: $40 off the Keurig K50 CoffeeMaker.
 – 7/9-7/12: Up to 50% off Ninja coffee makers and blenders.
 – 7/9-7/12: 50% off Dyson V6 Animal.
 – 7/9-7/12: 40% off Dyson Ball Origin.
 – 7/9-7/12: 40% off Hoover robotic vacuum.
 – 7/9-7/12: 40% off Shark Navigator Lift Away XL.

 – 7/9-7/15: 20% off Women’s Merona apparel with promo code MERONA.

Great baby deals at Target

target baby gift card dealsIt is a really great week to buy things for baby! You can get a $20 Target gift card when you spend $100 on a baby department purchase.

You can clip the in-ad coupon or text BABY to 827438 to get the deal. Keep in mind you’ll get an extra 5% off if you have a Target RedCard.

The deal includes food, diapers, strollers, car seats, gear & activity, and nursery. This excludes apparel and HALO bassinet. To save even more, stack with these offers:

-20% off select Graco
-$5 Target Gift Card with Motorola Monitor purchase
-$30Target Gift Card wyb an Ergobaby Carrier

Deal Idea

  • **Deal Idea**
    (4) Huggies Super Pack Diapers, $24.29
    (3) Gerber Graduates Puffs, 1.48 oz, $1.87
    Manufacturer Coupon(2) -$3 off Huggies diapers, excl 9 ct. and less printable
    Manufacturer Coupon(2) -$2 off Huggies Little Snugglers diapers, excl 9 ct- printable
    Manufacturer Coupon -$1/3 Gerber Puffs, Crunchies or Yogurt Melts printable
    Store Coupon -Free Target $20 Giftcard with baby dept purchase $100+, effective 7/9, excl apparel and HALO bassinet, Target in-ad coupon; or text BABY to 827438 for mobile coupon (EXP7/15)Total Due: $91.77
    Get Back: $20 Gift Card
    –like getting it all for $71.77 or $17.94 per pack of diapers

New Stack on Kandoo Wipes


There’s a nice new Target cartwheel offer available to save 20% Off Kandoo Flushable wipes. Stack with a printable coupon to get $1.00 off the regular price of the tubs..

Kandoo Wipes Tubs 50 ct $2.49 (Regular Price)
-.50 (use 20% Off Kandoo Flushable Wipes Target-Cartwheel x7/15
.50 Off when you buy any ONE Kandoo Product
= $1.49 after stack

But the 4-pack refills are on sale and it’s a much better value per wipe to pick these larger size packs up instead…

Kandoo Flushable Wipes 4 ct (200 wipes total) $5.29 (Sale thru 7/22)
-$1.06 (use 20% Off Kandoo Flushable Wipes Target-Cartwheel x7/15
$0.50 OFF on ONE (1) Kandoo Flushable Wipes (excludes 42 and 48 count Wipes)
= $3.73 after stack & sale, reg. $5.99

Target Run – over 70% savings!

Steven and I decided to get the grocery shopping out of the way last night so I came home from my day job and got to work coming up with my Target plan. Two hours later (including dinner time) I had the plan figured out. Coupons pulled together, list made, ready to go out the door. Read more about Target couponing here.

I hear all the time how people don’t understand how you can possibly save money at “expensive” stores like Target. Check out our receipt from last night.

I know what you’re going to say next:

“Carol, you didn’t buy much food.”

You’re right. I have a healthy stockpile of non-perishable products. I usually only have to buy perishables occasionally. Also, just as a side note, the random merchandise at $9.99 each were steak roll ups that wouldn’t scan.

Now, the fun part:

Remember that the shoes were on clearance so if I count those toward the full price of the products I bought a total of $210.65. I saved a total of $95.46 in clearance, manufacturer coupons, store coupons, Cartwheel, REDcard, and bag credits. That brought my total down to $87.44 out of pocket.

Then I received a FREE $5 gift card for a special deal of the Lemi Shine products. I submitted a mail in rebate of $5 for the vitamins. Then we get to the e-rebates of $4.75:

and another $10 e-rebate for submitting my receipt to Receipt Hog.

All of this brought my total down to $62.69 which is a 70.5% total savings including rebates and cash back!!!