10 best items to buy at after-holiday sales
There’s no better time than right after Christmas to find great deals on wrapping paper, bows, gift bags, and more—even that ugly Christmas sweater that you can hang onto for holiday parties in 2014.
I know that our frugal family is not alone in using these post-holiday sales to pick up what we need for the next holiday season and do so at a discount. So it should come as no surprise that this year we are wrapping Christmas presents with paper we had purchased at after-holiday sales many years ago. Yes, we really stocked up.
Are you thinking of hitting the stores on Dec. 26 or later like we usually do? If so, you’ll probably be on the lookout for those typical holiday items that have been marked down. However, you may not realize that you can find deals on more than just wrapping supplies for next year’s Christmas and Chanukah presents.
Here are, in my opinion, the 10 best items to stock up on at after-holiday sales:
- Colored candies of all kinds. You can use the red ones for Valentine’s Day, green ones for St. Patrick’s Day, and any pastel colors for wedding favors or spring holidays.
- Fruits and vegetables of the season. If the cans of cranberry sauce and pureed pumpkin won’t expire for months, snap them up now while they’re on clearance. Who says you can’t make pumpkin bread in February or serve cranberry sauce in March? Certain seasonal frozen vegetables may be marked down, too.
- Seasonal coffees. Everyone goes crazy for pumpkin spice coffee in the fall and holiday blend coffee in December. But get them when they’re marked down after Dec. 26, and you will be enjoying them right into the New Year when everyone else is going through withdrawal.
- Holiday meats. Supermarkets are likely to still have plenty of turkeys and ham left in their freezers after Christmas and on clearance. Our family celebrated “Thanksgiving in May” last year when I cooked the frozen turkey I got for just a few bucks at the grocery store in late December.
- Solid color paper plates, cups, tablecloths, and napkins. These are easily used on birthdays and other celebrations throughout 2014, assuming the birthday girl or boy likes red or green, or blue and white.
- Metallic wrapping paper, bows, and gift bags. Metallics are the new neutral so buy wrapping supplies in silver, gold, pewter, and more when they’re cheap, and use them for packaging baby, anniversary, or wedding gifts in the future.
- Holiday-themed packaged food. Most Americans may not be interested in eating a cereal featuring Santa in the spring, but if it hasn’t expired and it was cheap, why not? Around Thanksgiving, my supermarket still had Halloween cereal on clearance, at $1.49 a box. It was originally $2.99, which was the price for the Christmas cereal I saw nearby. I imagine this cereal will be 50 percent off soon enough. Also look for holiday-themed cake mixes and frosting that have been marked down.
- Snowflakes and all things winter. Those who have winter birthdays or are planning parties in January can take advantage of discounted decor with a frosty festive feel. These items are also great as centerpieces for winter weddings.
- Children’s toys. If you’ve got kids, then you know gift-giving occasions don’t happen only in December. So take this opportunity to fill your gift closet with children’s toys on sale after Christmas and Chanukah, so you can get yourself through all the birthday parties you’ll be attending in 2014 without busting your budget!
- Hats, gloves, and winter attire. Before you know it bathing suits are going to be filling the racks of your local clothing store. But before that can happen, retailers need to get rid of the hats, gloves, pajamas, robes, turtlenecks, blankets, and other cold-weather attire they were hoping you would stuff into stockings. Why not scoop up a bunch on clearance, and then donate them to your local homeless shelter or Goodwill store—thus helping you to do something good for your soul while saving money, too?
Tell me if I’ve missed any categories, items, or products that you like to stock up on when hitting the after-holiday sales in late December. And remember: it’s not too late to get free gift cards with your purchase—many offers go through Dec. 31!
Leah Ingram is the author of 14 books, including two on frugal living: Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier on Less (Adams Media, 2010) and Toss, Keep, Sell: The Suddenly Frugal Guide to Getting Organized and Making Money from Your Stuff (Adams Media, 2010). She is also the founder of the popular frugal-living blog called Suddenly Frugal. Right now if you subscribe to Suddenly Frugal, Leah will send you an exclusive freebie. Each week here on Parade.com she’ll be covering different money-saving ideas as well as profiling frugal celebrities. If you have an idea, let her know. In the meantime, follow her on Twitter @suddenlyfrugal and “Like” Suddenly Frugal on Facebook.