I truly hate paying full price for items at the store. It’s not just because I’m on a limited, very tight budget (though that’s certainly part of it). It’s because I discovered the magic of clearance shopping and I know how cheaply I could be paying.
By all means, I’m not going to get in-depth with clearance “hunting” here (and, yes, “hunting” is quite applicable here. Clearance shopping is definitely a sport!). This video by TheKrazyCouponLady gives a really nice overview of Target clearance shopping and how to read their clearance labels. In my opinion, Target seems to have the best clearance sales for toys, though you can sometimes find good clearance at Wal-Mart.
For this entry I will be focusing on clearance shopping for toys (though I may cover other clearance shopping, such as kid and adult clothing, etc. if there is any interest).
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge planner. I thrive on planning ahead and it’s one reason why clearance shopping really works for me.
I don’t know about other parents but it seems like my daughters always get invited to birthday parties a day or two before they take place (or it might just be that the invite sits in their backpack for a week before I eventually see it…) We go to A LOT of children’s birthday parties a year and, let’s be honest, buying presents for even a few friends a year can really add up.
After I discovered the thrill of clearance shopping (getting a good deal is actually VERY thrilling!) I created a “Party Present Stash.” When I find a really good deal on toys, I’ll buy several (sometimes setting a few aside for my daughter’s own “Present Stash,” which I will get to a moment). Since I have two daughters, the majority of their friends are girls and so I purchase mostly toys that they like, since it’s quite likely their friends will as well. I’ll also pick up a few toys that I know are popular with their boy friends (not to be confused with boyfriends! Note the space in between the two words! 😛)
When we get a birthday invite I can open up my “Party Present Stash” and have a nice selection of (cheap!) presents to choose from. It also works out well with my schedule, since I don’t have to find time to go to a store and shop. I store these items in the top of my closet, in several bags so you can’t see what they are.
I also pick up toys on clearance that I know my daughters like but that I really don’t want to pay full price for. Since I like to plan, I’ll stock up my “Present Stash” for them with items for their birthdays, the holidays and even to be used as rewards. It does mean that you need to plan ahead but it’s worth it! I was mostly finished with my Christmas/Holiday shopping before Halloween and completely finished by Thanksgiving!
As I’m sure you can guess, I can save A LOT of money, buying toys this way. I do still occasionally purchase toys at full price but I mostly reserve that for “must-have” items (such as any new Monster High characters, which if you know anything about MH, can be quite difficult to find so you buy them when you see them.) Target currently has many toys on 30-70% clearance. Today I picked up all of the toys shown above for $40.98! All of the toys I purchased were 70% off.
In case you are interested, here’s the breakdown:
Squinkies Carousel Dispenser ——-$5.98 (original price $19.99)
Monster High Designer Tape ——– 2 x $0.88 (original price $2.99 EACH)
Squinkies Mansion Playset ———– $14.98 (original price $49.99)
Mini Lalaloopsy Pet Parade Train — $4.48 (original price $14.99)
Squinkies Princess Crown ————- 2 x $2.96 (original price $9.89 EACH)
Squinkies Scepter Dispenser ——— 2 x $2.96 (original price $9.89 EACH)
Mini Lalaloopsy doll ———————- $1.94 (original price $6.49)
Total Paid: $40.98 Total Original Price: $137!!!
I hope this inspires you to clearance shop too! It may take a little bit of extra time and planning but it can save you a lot of money and you’ll never be without a birthday present again!
P.S. Please don’t share these pictures with my kids (or yours!). The real magic of clearance shopping is that when a child opens their present they’re none the wiser…