365 Frugality Tips: Create a Gift Closet

January 6, 2013
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Day 6: Year of Renewed Frugality

As a book author I am expected to have what is called a platform. That is, a position from which I can promote my expertise and my books. Before our family became suddenly frugal back in 2007 and I began collecting frugality tips, I wrote books on weddings, gifts and etiquette. That was my platform–a gift and etiquette expert. One trick I learned during that time and adopted in my every day life was creating a gift closet. That concept of a gift closet translated very nicely to my newly frugal life.

A gift closet doesn’t have to be an actual “closet” but rather a place where you stock all-occasion gifts you can grab when you need a hostess gift or a thank-you present. The idea is to buy these gifts when they were their cheapest–on clearance, after major holidays, when I have coupons–so that when I need a gift, I not only don’t have to rush out to get one but I also I don’t have to pay full price.

When my kids were younger and attending lots of birthday parties for other young kids, I stocked that gift closet with games and art supplies that I picked up on sale after the holidays or during back to school. If I was at a store like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx or Target and saw bath soaps, candles or bags of coffee on clearance, I’d grab those too and add them to my gift closet as go-to hostess gift. Sometimes my gift closet would “expand” to my refrigerator or freezer where I would stash boxes of chocolate or bottles of wine that I was able to get on sale. Again, the idea was always to have a “gift” on hand and one that I was able to get as a bargain.

With it being January now is a great time to take advantage of after-holiday sales to stock your gift closet for next Christmas and Hanukkah. Even if you’re buying gifts that you plan to give your family, the timing will allow you to get gifts at likely their cheapest price all year.

January isn’t the only time when you can take advantage of sales to stock up. After Valentine’s Day, Easter, wedding season, back to school, Halloween and Thanksgiving are all good times to pick up items that could work for stocking your gift closet or stocking up for future entertaining opportunities–even if those opportunities where those eventsnext year.

If you like today’s frugality tips about a gift closet, tell me: what have you put in your own gift closet, or what do you anticipate putting in yours once you start one?

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3 Responses to 365 Frugality Tips: Create a Gift Closet

  1. Leah Ingram on January 7, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas. I especially like the notion of wrapping the gifts as soon as you get them–that will surely save you time and frustration come December!

  2. Jill on January 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Another idea for gifts is this: as the year progresses, as you see cheap items that conform to a theme, buy them, and then make a gift basket for someone. I actually collect empty baskets and ribbons from my office as we get tons of gift baskets from clients. So one year I made a “Tea Basket” for someone who loves tea. When I saw a really cute cup on sale (for $1), I bought it, along with a cute book on tea, a variety of teas (I am embarrassed to say that I lifted theses from coffee breaks during professional conventions), baked scones, and them attached a cute poem about team.

  3. Jill on January 7, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I couldn’t agree more about this. Another reason for buying in advance is that I simply can’t afford all holiday gifts at one time. So, as I see FABULOUS deals I buy them, wrap them (yes in advanced), and put them in the closet. Last year I bought a George Forman Grill in January for $10 for my uncle and some other great deals. If you really keep your eyes open, especially at this time of year, you can finish your holiday shopping by June–no joke.

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