Friday, January 6, 2012

FF: Keeping a "Trinket" Box for Gifts and Prizes

One of my favorite times of year is here - after-Christmas clearance!  I love shopping clearance sales after any holiday, but there is so much Christmas merchandise around that it seems to be easiest to find great deals after Christmas, either for next year or to use for other purposes.

One use that I have found for clearance merchandise is keeping a "trinket" box - a box of small toys, school supplies, accessories, and other small items suitable for kids.  I then use the items for stocking stuffers, Easter basket stuffers, filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, putting together a gift basket, or for little prizes when I want to reward one of my children.

I stock up on small items at post-holiday clearance sales, usually when prices get to 70% off or greater, as well as toy clearance sales (usually in January and July).   Sometimes if I find something neat at the Dollar Tree or the Target dollar spot, I will add it to the box.  I also love when I happen upon a section of the Target dollar spot marked down to 50% off.  I don't have a set price point for the items in the box, but for most cheap items I'm looking to pay less than $1.00 per item; if the item has a much greater value I might pay a little more.

Some items that I have found in this price range include matchbox cars, plastic animals, a mini plastic tea set, coloring books, craft and art supplies, fancy pencils and pens, notebooks, stickers, bath products, hair accessories, jewelry, balls, socks, playdough, and finger puppets.

This year I was very pleased to find that by December I already had enough items to fill all three of my children's Christmas stockings without spending a dollar of my Christmas budget.  This easily saved me at least $20 per child, for a total of at least $60 than I could use for other holiday expenses.  I hope to do the same for their Easter baskets.  It is fun to collect the little items all year, and it can really save money to have them handy.

Check out Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom.


  1. This is a wonderful idea and it works at the end of any season! My nephew is a summer baby, so at the end of the season I pick up a few things that are a year 'older' to give him the next summer!
    Dumping out my stocking was one of the highlights of Christmas when I was a kid. I bet my mother did the same thing you do...buying items cheap here and there throughout the year. She had to be frugal with six stockings to fill each year, LOL!

  2. I found four soft, luxurious black scarves at Claire's after Christmas for 75% off: $4 each. Yes, that's more than your dollar rule, but I am happy to have four lovely gifts for next Christmas. I already snipped off the tags and folded them up, wrapped in tissue. Now, I'll just have to they go to my daughter's friends? My friends? Family? (I should have bought 6! ha!)

  3. Rebecca, that sounds like a great deal! I also buy larger gifts after Christmas to save for next year; my $1 rule is only for my little "treasure box." I love versatile items like scarves that could be used for anyone!


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