Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas and Winter Clearance Tips

I love this clearanc-y time of year!

Of course, you can find clearance deals year-round, especially after holidays, but there seems to be the most this time of year.  Maybe it's because stores are shedding all the bulky winter merchandise for the light spring items, or maybe it's that they stock so much Christmas merchandise that there is still much to unload after the holidays.

Today I wanted to share a few tips for winter clearance shopping, both for finding deals and for maximizing the deals you find.

- Wait - Some people run out the day after Christmas to start their shopping, but that has pretty much zero appeal for me.  Not only do I like to spend the day after Christmas relaxing, playing, and eating, but really, the deals the day after are usually not so great.  Often many Christmas items are discounted somewhat the week before Christmas, and the day after the holiday they will not yet be marked down further.  Instead, I start my clearance shopping now, about two weeks after Christmas, when most items have moved to around 75% off.  (The only time I would shop right after Christmas is to look for very specific items.)

- Think beyond next Christmas - Yes, now is a great time to stock up on wrapping supplies, decorations, holiday clothing, and stocking stuffers for next holiday season, but there are also clearance items that can be used all year.  Think wrapping for birthday presents, toys for year-round gifts, stocking stuffers as Easter basket stuffers - the list goes on.  This is also the cheapest time to buy winter clothing, even with at least three months of cold weather left.  If your child has grown lately and needs clothes, you're in luck!  Since my kids have the clothes they need right now, I am buying one size up for next year.

- Look everywhere for sales - Even stores that don't seem to carry many seasonal items offer sales this time of year to make room for new merchandise.  So if you're planning a purchase from a certain store, check now for clearance sales.  Also look for markdowns on unexpected items - wintery foods, holiday scents of toiletries, etc.  Check back corners and aisles of stores to find racks of the last remaining Christmas items once the Valentine's displays are up.

- Don't get carried away - Yes, I probably bought a number of items we didn't need at 90% off.  Paper decorations at $.29 each?  Sure!  But in general, I do try to make sure I have a legitimate use for the clearance items.  Even if the adorable porcelain Santa was $29.99 and is now $4.99, if it's just another Christmas knick-knack that the kids might break, maybe I should save the $4.99 for something else!

Do you have any clearance shopping tips?

1 comment:

  1. Nice post! I also think ahead (you should see my totes of Christmas and birthday gifts for NEXT year - not to mention winter coats!)....usually you can find the green and red frosting in a can (with tips attached) - think red for Valentine's day and Green for St. Patties! :)


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