Monday, February 18, 2019

Thinking Ahead: Prepare Now for Later

I have some fun tips to share with you guys today to save you time, money and stress down the road.  I've been keeping a running list of things to share with you of all the little things I do that add up and help me prepare for the future.

It's no secret that I love to celebrate all holidays.  I love baking, decorating, holiday books, gifts and holiday clothes.  I try hard to do all these things on without breaking the bank.

1. When you find a great deal, snatch it up even if you won't use it for months.

This lot of bottle brush Christmas trees came up for sale on my local mom's group page for $6!!!  I couldn't type SOLD fast enough.  What an amazing deal.  Can't wait to decorate my Christmas mantel with them next December.  I bought them in January and promptly put them away with my Christmas decorations in storage.

2. Stock up right after the holiday in the clearance section.  

This strategy seems to work great for all holidays except for Christmas.  I've noticed that many stores like Target and Meijer start making down their Christmas stuff days before Christmas.  All other holidays seem to get marked down the days after the holiday.  For example, Meijer marks everything half off the day after a holiday and then it'll go down as low as 90% off.  So keep your eyes peeled!!

This year I picked up valentine's day books for half off.  The books usually go first so I try to buy them right away.  Other things like hand towels, baking products, gift wrap and such usually hang around longer so I pick them up when the discount is greater.

All of these cute Thanksgiving activities for kids were marked down to a quarter well after Thanksgiving at Walmart.  I bought a class set of placemats, bingo boards and banner for around $2.  I'll save them for Olive's class Thanksgiving party for 1st grade.

2. Kid Clothes Bargains
I picked up some cute St Patrick's Day shirts for the kids at Meijer recently.  I love their holiday shirts.  They're usually priced in the $5-7 range.  I bought these weeks in advance in January when there was a special promotion for an extra 10% off General Merchandise coupon on the Meijer app.  Such a good deal!  The kids are going to be thrilled!!

I also try to grab clothes on clearance to save for the next year.  I love having a stash of clothes from thrift shops, consignment shops or big sales to start out the new season for my kids.  Both Olive and Fletcher have always grown at least one size from year to year.  Neither kid has worn the same size for more than one year which means a whole new wardrobe from one summer to the next.  I've had good luck getting deals at Old Navy, Target and Kohls.  I also like Once Upon a Child or nice Goodwill stores for kid clothes.

5. Frequently Shop TJ Maxx
I LOVE TJ Maxx.  It's one of my very favorite stores to stroll through.  You just never know what you might find.  You've got to grab things when you see them because the stuff in the store turns over so quickly.  You can always return items that you don't love once you get them home.  I recently found these really heavy metal bunnies for just $6.99 back in January.  They're such nice quality and feel really high end.  I couldn't believe the price tag so I bought all three.  Can't wait to add them to my Easter decor in April.

This advice works well for stores like Homegoods, Marshalls, TJ Maxx or Goodwill.  Each time you visit the stores you will find a different assortment.  I love finding out when the stores get their trucks of new stuff.  Tuesdays seem to be a popular restocking day in my area.

 6. Shop with Gift Giving in Mind
I love to shop for others.  I love giving gifts for holidays, birthdays and just for sweet surprises.  I don't love to spend a ton on these gifts though.  My solution is to keep a close eye on clearance sections to build up my gift stash for down the road.  Here's a sneak peek of my haul from St Patrick's Day clearance from 2018.  I stocked up on St Pats hand towels, light up clover necklaces, stickers and napkins.  All were majorly discounted.  I'll give Olive's teacher and bus driver a fun new towel with some cookies for St Pat's Day and then we'll use the light up necklaces at the St Pats parade this year.

A really important component of being able to shop now for later is that you MUST HAVE a system to organize your purchases.  If you're just tucking things away here and there, you'll easily lose track of what you have an overspend.  Keep bins of holiday items or a shelf in your holiday closet for extras.  Any system will work - just find one that works for you!

Here's what I do:
My after holiday clearance items stay in a shopping bag and then I place that bag on the top of that bin.  When I open the bin the following year the new items are the first thing I see.

I've organized my kid's closets so that they've got sections of hanging things to grow into or drawers with clothes in them for the next size up.

My gifts to give others are organized on shelves that are easy to see- toys for kid birthday parties, teacher/friend gifts, a shelf for each of my kids, etc.

What do you do NOW to PREPARE for later??


  1. SUCH great tips! I keep a bin in my office closet for kids' books, toys and little gifts that I pick up on clearance, at the thrift store or at Dollar Tree. I like to have a little gift to give my niece and nephews when we are together, and it saves me so much time and money to have that little stash on hand. But you're right - organization is so important! I've lost a few little gifts here and there and have learned my lesson.

  2. So many great tips and I am a huge fan of all of them! I do everything that you do and it is such a money saver!
    Also- sometimes I forget that I bought some new things onclearance - so when I go to open that holiday bin and see the new goodies right on top- it’s a fun surprise! Ha!

  3. These are such great tips! I love shopping at TJ Maxx for each holiday season to add just a few new touches to my decor. I love the idea of keeping them in the bag and putting it at the top of the bin. Have a wonderful week!

  4. I definitely love to shop ahead but you are right, it's important to know where you stored everything :)

  5. Great ideas! At Christmas, I buy the holiday Hershey kisses and separate the bags for Valentine's day and st. Patrick's day.

  6. I love to buy things ahead. I got the kids' Christmas jammies already for next year!

  7. You and I think a lot alike! I do a lot of the same things. I don't want to have to pay full price so I purchase on clearance or sale prices, then store the stuff in my closet until ready to use. I have to admit, though, I've never been a big fan of TJ Maxx.


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