organize

Money-saving tips in July

There was a time when I would be finished with my Christmas shopping by Halloween.  That way I could hit the Black Friday sales and shop for me.  I never stressed about the holidays.  I enjoyed the decorations, the sales, the seasonal treats.  I shopped without a list and had a blast while everyone else wore that wide-eyed panic look.  Now, I’m beyond that wide-eyed panic look and have moved on to the blank resigned gaze of hopelessness.  This is post marriage and mochis.  I live in the last-minute zone. 

Last year when I was drowning, I vowed to be proactive.  I started making a list of things I wanted to do to save money throughout the year.  I strongly believe that if you do 2 things and do them well, you can really save yourself some serious money in the long run:  

1) Plan Ahead – Make lists

  • Start Christmas shopping now.  Make a list of everyone you shop for and keep it with you.  Keep an eye out everywhere you go and pick up things here and there.  If you’re not sure about something, just jot it down and keep the idea on hand for later.  Shop online for deals, check out the clearance sections and see if anything might be nice for someone you know. 
  • Make a list of things your kids will need later and stock up.  School uniforms go on sale in mid- to late-July at Kohl’s.  Shop end of summer sales for bathing suits for next year (buy a size bigger, of course).  Always pick up socks and underwear whenever they go on super sale.  Murphy’s Law will guarantee it’ll never be on sale when you absolutely need it.  Buy jackets and pajamas in bigger sizes at the end-of-season sales.  I don’t recommend doing this for daily wear as bodies and styles change, but jackets and pajamas are pretty standard.
  • Make a list of things to do in the near future and keep an eye out for coupons.  Have an oil change coming up?  Look for Jiffy Lube ads.  Someone getting married?  Save those 20% coupons for Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Is someone pregnant?  Collect weekly coupons for Michael’s Craft Supply and get your 40-50% off coupon and buy your yarn one skein at a time to crochet your baby blanket. 
  • Do your kids take treats to school for the holidays?  Get treat bags 50% off after the holiday and hold onto it for next year.  Check online for Halloween costumes and pick it up now.  Do you sew your own costumes?  Now’s a great time to get started so you won’t have unfinished costumes or stay up til 3 am on October 30th.   
  • Get Christmas wrap for next year when it’s 50% off.  Do you have a bunch of birthday parties for little girls coming up?  Keep your eye out for coupons from Bath & Body Works or Ulta.  Justice stores frequently have 40% off their entire store sales.  Camisoles are good for any season and make great gifts.

2) Organize – Collecting things little by little takes storage space. 

  • Do NOT pile everything up in the closet and forget about it when the holidays come around.  You’ll end up settling and buying an expensive thoughtless gift when you already had the perfect gift picked out for your mom but just couldn’t find it.
  • If you buy holiday decorations, make sure they’re kept organized and you know what you have so you don’t overbuy.

Avoid trendy items or anything perishable for obvious reasons.  Don’t go crazy and buy 6 of one item just because it’s such a great deal.  When you purchase something, have someone in mind and cross them off your list.  If you’re unsure, don’t get it.  Something else will come up.  It always does.

Here, take a look at this.  These are Valentine’s Day bags from Wal Mart, Target and Michael’s Craft Supply.  The bags were $.15 each from Wal Mart, the striped ones were $.50 from Target and the Martha Stewart gift bags were on clearance from Michael’s (teacher’s gifts so I only need a few).  This photo combined cost me just about $5 (versus $21) and could potentially take care of the next 2 Valentine’s Days for each mochi and then some. 

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