We’re Done Christmas Shopping in July

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And not to rub it in or anything, but our holiday season is going to be, like, so stress free.

Wanna know how we did it?

Of course you do.

So we’ll give you an early Christmas present; our top secret strategy to being done Christmas shopping by July.

1. Shop the day after Christmas.

While you just started thinking about Christmas shopping when you saw the title of this article, we’ve been thinking about Christmas constantly. Not that we are Christmas fanatics or anything. We just love a good deal.

And when is the best time of the year to get a deal? Nope, not Black Friday.

The day after Christmas of course. We were halfway done shopping for Christmas 2014 on December 26, 2013.

We take advantage of the fact that stores are trying to get rid of their holiday inventory. This results in radical markdowns, all in the name of shelf space.

Last year we had the best luck at Bed Bath and Beyond and Walmart.

BONUS: When you go to Walmart right after Christmas, buy items when the sales are 50-60% off. Then, when sale prices go to 70-80% off, return the item and buy it back immediately with the new sale price. This ensures that you’ll get the items you want, and at the price that’s super low.

2. Only shop the clearance rack.

Whenever you’re out and about, always check the clearance rack. By constantly looking for a deal, you’ll run across gifts for the loved ones in your life.

We go shopping on Sundays because we like to get some exercise and scour for deals. Every store we go into, we head straight for the clearance rack. If we see something that’s a good deal, and we don’t need it for ourselves, we try to think of someone else that would be excited about the gift.

For example, there were a whole bunch of organic gummy candies on sale for $1 for each bag. We don’t eat too much candy, but we do have to buy a gift for my brother. So guess who is getting a box full of gummies for Christmas? He’ll be pumped, and the candy will be gone within the week. I guarantee it.

3. Don’t be selfish. 

I eluded to this in #2, but I guess I’ll just come right out and say it.

Stop being selfish.

When you’re looking at sales racks, don’t just look for yourself.

I have a tendency to only look for things I want, and definitely don’t need. But Jacob has me trained to look at a clearance rack as an opportunity to mark some names off our Christmas list. I’m kidding myself if I think I need anything else, but what we do need is a nice gift at a rock bottom price.

4. Garage sale it.

We’ve already revealed that we shop for Christmas gifts at garage sales. We get some super nice stuff, too. In fact, the last garage sale gift we gave was met with overwhelming enthusiasm.

Refer to #3, and don’t be selfish when you’re at a garage sale too. Keep an eye out for the stragglers on your list that might be hard to buy for.

We never know what to get Jacob’s brothers for Christmas, but if we keep our eyes peeled at garage sales, we sometimes come across a gift that is unexpectedly perfect.

5. Stalk dealnews, Slickdeals, and Kmart/Sears.

Jacob is a daily dealnews stalker. You have to check it in the morning, otherwise the really good deals are gone, but we have gotten some great deals by keeping up with this site. They do all the hard work, which is actually finding the deals, and their readers capitalize.

Slickdeals is an online forum for frugal people. You can find trending deals from all over the net, often before they are even posted on sites like Dealnews.

Kmart and Sears will give you Shop Your Way points like crazy for 3 months if you sign up for the VIP membership. You will usually only accumulate under $6 in free points at one time, but if you use those points to shop the clearance section online or in store, you can get items completely for free.

In fact, this past Sunday, Jacob got 2 pairs of jeans for free. They were marked down to $20, were over 90% off clearance price, and he had $6 in free points to cover the $3 that he needed for the jeans. This time we weren’t shopping for someone else because, well we’re done Christmas shopping! (Sorry. I just had to say it one more time.) However, you can use Shop Your Way points to buy for someone else, no problem.

How close are you to being done Christmas shopping? Do you have any top secret techniques for Christmas shopping on the cheap?

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Brad @ How to Save Money
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Brad @ How to Save Money

Sorry, but I just can’t think about Christmas shopping until much later in the year. Say around December 15th. I grant you that you get much better deals doing it your way, but my list is short and I can just never really get my act together. More power to you for having it so together so early in the year.

Vanessa Lumby
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Vanessa Lumby

Ha! Dec. 15th? You like to live on the edge. 🙂

Natalie @ Financegirl
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Natalie @ Financegirl

This is hilarious! I cannot believe it. Well, good for you! You can enjoy your hot chocolate without carrying lots of bags around 🙂

Vanessa Lumby
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Vanessa Lumby

That’s right! I’ll sit in the coffee shop blogging while watching frazzled shoppers run around during the holidays.:)

Richard | FrugalityMagazine.com
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Richard | FrugalityMagazine.com

It’s funny; not too many years ago I used to work for a company that specially opened gift shops all round the country in October and ran them through till early January to capitalize on the Christmas shopping rush. It never ceased to amaze me how many people left their shopping till the very last minute! More than once at 5pm on Christmas Eve as I was shutting up I’d have some crazed individual (who am I kidding; it was always a guy 😉 literally yelling that I HAD to let him in! Really? Christmas is the same day every… Read more »

Vanessa Lumby
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Vanessa Lumby

Hey, that Amazon idea is stellar. I’ll have to try that out next year.

dojo
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dojo

We don’t shop for Christmas (we’re not too much into celebration), but these are indeed GREAT tips. Shopping in time and finding the best deals can really save you a lot of money

Vanessa Lumby
Admin
Vanessa Lumby

Jacob and I don’t really buy anything for each other for Christmas. Instead, this year we’re taking a vacation!

Belinda
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Belinda

Excellent tips!!! I always love talking about Christmas!!!! I use a lot of these strategies too, and am currently about 90% done with all Christmas shopping (and other gifts required for other celebrations for the remainder of the year). I usually wait until around September to do the final 10% 0f my shopping, as I like to supplement some of my gifts with consumables such as chocolates etc, which have expiry dates. Finishing up in September still enables me to shop the sales to get really good prices. As I’m a happy ‘budgeting nerd’, I love to maintain a spreadsheet… Read more »

Vanessa Lumby
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Vanessa Lumby

Wow, Belinda. Sounds like you’ve got your holiday shopping down to a science!

Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans
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Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans

AWESOME! This year, I’ll try to get a head start for next Christmas!

Vanessa Lumby
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Vanessa Lumby

Do it! Saves tons of time and money!

Laurie @wellkeptwallet
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Laurie @wellkeptwallet

We are starting to get better at this. Last year the kids wanted these great patriotic flip flops for the 4th of July. I didn’t buy them, but later on I saw them on clearance for $2 a pair and got them for Christmas. I’m learning. 🙂

Vanessa Lumby
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Vanessa Lumby

Ha! I love it.

J. Money
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J. Money

HAH! Nice… So pretty much you shop your hearts out on my birthday 🙂 I’ve never went shopping for someone else on it though, so maybe I’ll try that this Dec 26th? Haha…

Vanessa Lumby
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Vanessa Lumby

Ha! Oh, don’t go on your birthday. I’m sure it already gets crowded out by holiday craziness. Go the week after or something, and the deals are still really good.

Amy
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Amy

We used to shop early for Christmas. Then for a few years I made all the gifts. Now we just give our children (almost 14, 5 and 3) money, my Dad does the same for them. Altogether they end up with around $200 each and they get to pick their own presents. Last year our then 4 year old and 2 year old combined their money to buy a Wii U that they both wanted.

Vanessa Lumby
Admin
Vanessa Lumby

Ha, that is awesome! I love that the 2 kids worked together. Way to teach em early!

Brian
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Brian

The only thing on this list I wouldn’t do is the Walmart tip… I don’t enjoy going there once (especially the day after Christmas), let alone twice which is what your tip would make me do. It is a great tip, it just isn’t for me.

Vanessa Lumby
Admin
Vanessa Lumby

If you go in through the lawn and garden entrance, it’s much less busy and makes for a better buying experience. This is also where all the deals are after Christmas.

Money Beagle
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Money Beagle

This sounds great in theory but my experience is that most of the ‘wish list’ items that end up turning into gifts are not reasonably identified until closer to the holidays. Buying so early in the year would either mean I’m making assumptions on what everybody might want, or I’m working off information that will likely change in the coming months.

I’m fine with shopping toward the holidays, but we do save for the holidays throughout the year, so we are fully funded in terms of paying for gifts. That’s stress free enough for me!

Vanessa Lumby
Admin
Vanessa Lumby

In our family, no one really says they want anything, so it doesn’t matter what time of the year we buy it for them. We just know general things that our family members like and buy for them in that category. We don’t stress over whether or not it’s the perfect gift. Most of the time, you can’t remember what you got for Christmas last year, let alone who gave it to you.

Kathy
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Kathy

Well, I’ve at least started shopping. Have one gift for daughter-in-law. I keep my eyes peeled for deals throughout the year but can’t face going out the day after Christmas due to all the crazy return crowd. You guys are brave.

Vanessa Lumby
Admin
Vanessa Lumby

If you don’t want to go the day after, they still have lots of good deals the week after. Worth your time!

Marie @ Financial Debauchery
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Marie @ Financial Debauchery

Oh, I love talking about Christmas! When I saw the title of your post I counted how many months to go before Christmas, time flies really fast! You really made a wise buying Vanessa!

Vanessa Lumby
Admin
Vanessa Lumby

Thank you! Let me know how your Christmas shopping turns out!

Catherine
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Catherine

Good for you guys! We tend not to shop until oct/nov when our Christmas fund is fully stocked. We don’t have a ton of people to buy for so it’s not usually a big deal and of course we always shop the sales 😉

Vanessa Lumby
Admin
Vanessa Lumby

Oct/Nov is still a great time to shop. That way you’re done before the Christmas season hits, and you can really enjoy your holidays.

Dee @ Color Me Frugal
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Dee @ Color Me Frugal

Oh my gosh, you guys are Christmas rock stars. You are right, I hadn’t thought of Christmas in six months before I saw the title of this post! I’m definitely going to have to start making it a point to hit stores the day after Christmas.

Vanessa Lumby
Admin
Vanessa Lumby

It’s the best time to buy!