My mom always bought our birthday and Christmas gifts long before we ever had a chance to even create a list. As an adult, it now makes sense why she shopped the way she did, but even with the best of intentions, I am not perfect. However, I have found ways to spend a little over a long period of time and even maximize my efforts last minute without spending more than I should have throughout the year.
So these ideas are for the moms like me.
The ones that like the idea of planning ahead, but aren’t perfect at it.
They get the idea of spreading out the cost and shopping the deals but sometimes forget.
Parents that need add some last minute presents or have fickle kids & don’t have a ton of extra money.
It’s a mix and a balance in finding great seasonal deals during the year and even some great last-minute ideas to score the best presents for children without breaking the bank.
How to save money on Christmas and birthday presents for kids… even without planning ahead.
Birthdays and Christmas are some of the most magical, memorable, and special times of the year for kids. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most expensive even if you’re planning ahead. The good news is you don’t have to break the bank to give your kids amazing memories.
Read about what to do if a birthday party invitation asks for no gifts.
Hit the Clearance Racks
On top of birthdays and other gift-giving holidays, you want to start shopping for Christmas as early as possible to get the best deals. Each time you go shopping, check the clearance racks regardless fo the time of year. You can almost always find a clearance rack in the toy section. You can also find video games on clearance as well as movies, clothing, and more.
Join local B/S/T and free groups
Guys, I am a part of a few different freecycle, buy nothing, and for free groups on top of the ones that actually sell and trade. Let me tell you, I have found some amazing stuff that people are just freely offering before they donate or trash it.
Latest score? A really great backyard swing set with climbing walls, a slide, and multiple other features that would cost well over $1,000 to buy new.
And you know what? My daughters don’t care a bit if it’s been used before. Because it’s the most amazing thing for them to have it in their backyard and call it their own.
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Shop Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday Sales
Toys are one of the best items to shop for during Black Friday. You can find unbelievable deals. Whether you’re shopping for board games, gaming systems, bikes, toys, or clothing, you’ll find deals that will allow you to save money on kids’ Christmas gifts. Check the sales, compare prices, and don’t forget you can also find deals online.
You can find unbelievable deals and it’s getting easier to cash in on these without losing sleep or participating in a beat down just to get your kids the perfect gift. Whether you’re shopping for board games, gaming systems, bikes, toys, or clothing, you’ll find deals that will allow you to save money on kids’ Christmas gifts. Check the sales, compare prices, and don’t forget you can also find deals online.
Whether you’re shopping for board games, gaming systems, bikes, toys, or clothing, you’ll find deals that will allow you to save money on kids’ Christmas gifts. Check the sales, compare prices, and don’t forget you can also find deals online.
Check out my friend Becky’s guide to beat the stress of Black Friday shopping.
Coupons on toys? Believe it or not, you can find coupons for toys. Hasbro usually puts out a few coupons during the holiday season. This is a great way to save on board games. Match these coupons to sales to save even more money.
Visit (& target specific) thrift stores & garage sales…
My husband and I have done this long before we even began planning a family. We purposefully visit thrift stores while on vacation, go to garage sales in elderly and affluent areas, and scout thrift stores in higher income neighborhoods.
It doesn’t matter if you yourself make a lot of money or not, saving is great for everyone, right? And The reality is, understanding the demographics of the neighborhood selling and donating means you’re more likely to score what you’re looking for.
Looking for snow gear? Go to a thrift store in a ski community.
Want scuba equipment? Look in the classified ads near a larger body of water.
Want great Montessori or special types of toys? Visit second-hand shops near the type of school. (Families and the school could both donate there!)
Read more about how to best shop at thrift stores and secondhand stores.
Look for Special Sales
A lot of stores have special sales leading up to Christmas. You might see buy one get one free for certain toys or find toys for 50% off. Make sure to check your local sales papers each week to see if there are any great deals on the toys your kids want this holiday season.
eBay can be a great place to find deals on the toys your kids want. With literally millions of sellers, you’ll find a variety of prices. The key is to purchase from trusted sellers so that you’re not getting knockoffs. Also remember to consider the cost of shipping to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
You don’t have to overspend this holiday season. There are so many great ways to save on kids’ Christmas gifts. Whether you check eBay or shop on Black Friday, you can get great deals.
Plan ahead in January and July
These are the months that are most likely to yield great results when trying to find gifts for kids. In fact, Target typically marks a lot of their toys down for clearance the 2nd or 3rd week of July to start making way for the new arrivals in time for the holidays.
And Quarter 1 starting in January is typically pretty dismal for retailers, meaning you can typically find some great deals to plan ahead and put back for Christmas or the next birthday.
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living on a farm in New England. She believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience and has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development. She is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!