You want to know my biggest frugal secret? How do I save $100s on Christmas gifts each year? I celebrate Christmas the DAY AFTER. I know all the frugality bloggers out there will get giddy about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, but I never really bat an eyelash. Waiting in the freezing cold at 3am to get in a line with other people to tackle down deals on Black Friday, just hours after literally giving thanks for what we have is just not how I fly.
I do though, get totally giddy about the day after Christmas- that is my Black Friday. Every year I save $100s on my Christmas gifts and come out like a giddy bandit. My Dad and I started this tradition when I was young. Since my family is so spread out throughout the coast, and many of our neighbors and friends were out of town on the days leading up to Christmas to visit with their families, most of the holiday visits with loved ones wouldn’t come until the day after Christmas anyway, so why pay full price?
Boxing Day, A.K.A. The Holiday Hangover Day for us U.S. folk, is when most Americans are thanking their lucky stars it’s all over and trudge their unwanted gifts back to the stores for frustrated returns and exchanges. I however, LOVE this day and do my best shopping for the year!
As a kid- Dad and I would head to the mall and get ginormous holiday gift baskets 50%-80% off to give to our neighbors and family and chalk up the late gifting to the chaos of the holiday season, and honestly, since everyone was so busy, it was never weird. My family understood my parents divorced when I was young, and the day after Christmas was usually a time to avoid holiday traffic and venture out to the other California cities hours away to visit family- it just worked.
Since then, I do the bulk of my shopping for the next year after the holiday is over. I also pick up any wrapping paper, tissue or perishables for friends that I will see during my visit but couldn’t squeeze in on Christmas day itself but would have been A.) Expensive to buy before Christmas and B.) A pain to travel with. Anything that’s non-perishable gets socked away for next year- lights, wrapping paper, soaps, figurines, decorations, picture frames and other gifts like candles and home goods can be stored.
This year, Target was EMPTY the day after Christmas…perhaps because of the credit scandal? I got over $450 worth the stuff for about $180. I snagged these awesome Method dish soaps for just $1.24. I can use these at home all year (the holiday wrap peels off) or save them for gifts. Seriously. $1.24.
I got all of the decorations, cards and most of the gifts I’ll need for next year. The Beggin’ Strips were holiday branded so the dogs can eat them this year before they go bad (dogs don’t know the bags have Christmas logos on them)… not sure when dog treats needed to be branded Christmas, but I’ll take it for 50% off.
We also go extension chords that can be used all year and I snagged some perishable gifts to share with family and friends during my visit since they won’t last a full year. The amaryllis bulbs were $5 a piece and came in gorgeous containers- great for around the house or to gift to neighbors as a New Year gift.
I also like to stock up on donations for toy drives. Each of these were $2.50 or less. Some will be gifted to family next year, others will be sent to a toy drive next year. Since they’re branded or part of the seasonal inventory, they’re on clearance!
(yes there is a pair of men’s underwear in there… draw your own conclusions)
Of course we all know that holiday gift wrap goes on sale- but this is when I get my non-holiday wrap as well. Target has been great about creating varied color palettes for their holiday stuff that can be easily repurposed for other occasions.
I get all my generic tissue paper and silver/gold wrapping paper that can be used for other occasions at this time too. This year, Target had some neon pink and generic metallic wrapping paper that’s great for birthdays or weddings- not all of it screams “Christmas” and is really pretty!
Overall, I spent $207.84 and saved $187.00. A few items I picked up were only 30% off but I’m completely stocked for next year.
I also hit up Hallmark and Bath & Body Works (online)- they had huge sales on Christmas and non-Christmas stuff alike! I got everything at Bath & Body Works 50% off and used a 20% off coupon on top of that from a quick Google search, so I saved a TON and had it shipped to my house for free. I got candles, air freshners, hand sanitizers and soaps for the holidays and summer lines for stupid cheap.
I find it funny that when I asked folks on Facebook if they shopped the after-Christmas sales, and I got some strong responses: most people do NOT want to shop the day after Christmas. Either they’re totally over it, don’t want to hold on to it for a year or think there will be a ton of crowds… the stores were no more busy than normal this year and since I’m not busting my butt before 12/25 to shop, I’m not burned out by the time it rolls around. I buy it, stash it in a tupper in my closet when I get home and next year it’s all new to me. I love shopping this way!
I was shocked more people aren’t bananas like I am to get deals like this. My shopping for next year is done-zo and I have all the decorations I need for the condo…boom! I got everything at a steep discount and many items I can use all year long for myself or to gift on other occasions, there you have it!
I also do NOT do any black friday nonsense, I mean shopping. As a rule I always have waited to do shopping after Christmas as I would always make out like a bandit, and paired with my gift cards from Christmas? No money out of pocket, tons and tons of gifts for me all year long 😉
Since I wasn’t seeing my family on Christmas this year I figured why rush and shopped the day after! Scored great clothing deals for my sister and mom – I basically told them they’d be getting an extra gift if they wait it out since my budget can stretch further 🙂
I live in Canada so Boxing Day here is just as bad as Black Friday, and we’ve recently started Black Friday sales here so it’s always busy!! I did score some stuff at target for 70-90% off so I can’t complain!! Happy 2014 🙂
Now that I’m a parent I shop for my little one after Xmas but I love your idea (especially since I celebrate Chanukah). However, I was traveling the day after Xmas and I’ll admit it was glorious (JFK and McCarran were both empty).
Happy 2014 Shannyn!
Awesome deals! It’s funny, in Canada, Boxing Day IS our Black Friday and the malls are usually NUTS. However, that’s starting to change because a lot of stores are starting their Boxing Week Sales the week before Christmas (perfect for people like me who love to shop last minute!)
That is one of the best ways to shop! It’s crazy how much retailers will slash prices if it has something holiday themed on it! I did a post a while back about how to save money at Target that could help you cut even MORE off your bill by using Cartwheel, mobile and printable coupons, etc. Happy shopping!
A fellow Chicagoland blogger 🙂
I do the same! <3
I love your haul!! wish we had Target here.. anyways, happy new year <3