Post Christmas shopping is a great way to do some frugal planning. Here are a few tips to consider before you shop:
1. Wrapping paper. Try to get wrapping paper in a solid color such as red or gold. That way, it can be used year round for whatever you need to wrap!
2. Bows. Instead of just seasonal colors, try to find bags of assorted colors. Again, you can use them all year!
3. Winter accessories. Hats, gloves, and scarves (or sets) are frequently included in the after holiday clearance. Grab some sets now while on sale and you have ready gifts for the next holiday season.
4. Bath or perfume sets. These sets go on sale after Christmas and make perfect emergency gifts to keep on hand.
5. Tool sets. During the holidays, most mass retailers offer small tool sets as seasonal items. When they go on sale, snag the deals to use as emergency gifts.
6. Gift bags. Stick with solid colors that are not obviously holiday specific.
7. Pet stockings. Many large stores offer pre-made pet stockings filled with toys. After Christmas, buy the number you need for your pets while they are half-priced or better and your dogs/cats will be set for next Christmas!
8. Food sets. There are a lot of food gift sets available during the holiday. Just because you paid half the price after Christmas doesn't mean they taste any different!
9. Holiday lights. Buy clear strands and they can be used to illuminate your deck or decorate trees in your yard for a barbecue in the heat of July!
10. Holiday crafts. They won't hit the stores again until Halloween and by then you'll think you won't have enough time to complete them. Stock up now while they are on sale and you can work on them at your leisure throughout the year.
I keep a 10 gallon container marked "Emergency Gifts" in my closet. I fill it every year after Christmas and never worry all year if an occasion comes up that I wasn't expecting. With a little planning, you can not only be ready for unexpected occasions but get a jump on next year's holiday too!!