10 items to shop for after the holidays.

Start talking to Santa now for next year, while prices are at their lowest.

This article is the first in a two part series. To read the second half go here.

After two weeks of whirlwind out-of-town Christmas trips, the kitchen flooding not once but twice, and the Sears appliance repair man telling me another one of my kitchen appliances is fit for the graveyard, I'm about ready to get out of this house.

One of the first things I always do in the new year is a little stockpile shopping for the items I know I can get for their lowest prices right now.

I know, we all just blew our budgets for Christmas, right?

But I saved a little bit for these 10 things. I'll share 5 of them today, and another 5 tomorrow. Put these items on your hit list when you go out shopping this week, and you'll be getting them at their lowest prices. Often, I can even find a coupon for these items to make my final price even lower.

I'm looking at using them either in a different way other than for Christmas, or I'm getting them now for pennies on the dollar to save and use for next winter's holiday.

RoseArt art supply kits from Tuesday Morning.

1. Art Kits, Books, and Educational Toys: Right now, stores like Tuesday Morning, Target, and Walmart have their toys, kid's books, and craft kits marked way down to clear them off the shelves. I can usually find 5 to 10 really nice items for less than $5 each that I can put in my "Birthday Party Present Box". Luka gets invited to an average of one birthday party a month, and more in summer, so having these items ready on-hand beats buying them at the last minute.

I prefer gifts like Giant Floor Puzzles, Big Puzzle and Brainteaser Books (which I pair with markers, pencils, and crayons), Board Games and Card Games, Art and Craft kits for kids, and stacks of Kid's Books (which I pair with a basket or container for them).

Look for these type of items also at Michael's, Toys R Us, Half Price Books, Aldi, JCPenney.

Raspberry White Fudge Almonds from Target.

2. Seasonal Snacks: Stores like Target, Walmart, Sam's Club, and even your local grocery store have packaged goodie baskets, canisters, and jars of fancy nuts, cheeses, popcorn, and other holiday treats. Now they're all marked down 50% off or more. Another stockpile score.

I'll get these and use them in little ziploc bag portions in lunches, to create fun kid's lunches at home, as party snacks for football-watching parties, as room treats on my snack day at school, or even a Sunday appetizer style dinner at home.

I look for summer sausage and cheese gift boxes, fancy almonds, holiday coffees and teas, holiday crackers and cookies, and popcorn in unique flavors.

Choose holiday wrapping paper than can serve as birthday paper.

3. Wrapping Paper, Bows, Ribbon: Anywhere that sold you wrapping paper before the holiday, is trying to sell it to you for half price or less after the holiday. They are trying to clear it off the shelves. Take advantage of this deal by looking at the wrapping paper thru non-holiday eyes. Look for patterns and colors that could work for birthday gifts, baby shower gifts, anniversary and wedding gifts. Solid colors work for any gifting occasion.

Same goes for bows and ribbon. I have been finding these half price everywhere as well, and choosing non red and green colors, to use all year long. I did also choose a couple of really Christmas-y rolls of paper to use for next Christmas as well. At $1 a roll, this is the lowest price wrapping paper will be all year, so I can stockpile a year's worth of wrapping paper as well as get a few for next Christmas.

Don't forget to look for paper napkins, plates, and cups. Again, look for solid color or generic patterns that can be used for other parties at your house this year.

Look for wrapping paper on sale at Target, Walmart, Party City, your local grocery store, even Barnes & Noble and Michael's. You might get lucky at Container Store, but don't hold your breath.

White Chocolate Cinnamon Pumpkin Cookies.

4. Seasonal Baking Mixes: Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, Ghirardelli and even Aldi and Save-A-Lot produce seasonal baking mixes for holiday cookies, muffins, cakes, and breads. These are mixes that are only in the store for the holiday season. After that, they want it off the shelf, so they mark them way down. Now is the time to stock up on these and have semi-homemade baked good for the coming year for a lot less. And starting with a pre-made bag mix is really convenient and time-saving for me.

This week I have been especially lucky to find Aldi Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix bags for less than $1. I know these won't be in the store again until next November, so I stocked up. I experiment with the mix by adding cream cheese, white chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, a couple tablespoons of pumpkin puree, even brewed coffee to make new kinds of cookies like Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies, Pumpkin Snickerdoodles,  Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies and Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies.

Also, alot of times, I'll find cans of pumpkin marked down now as well. Keep your eyes open for these! You can make pumpkin into just about anything.

Look for these everywhere. I found an end-aisle this week at Target selling out the Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix bags on clearance.

Peppermint Bark is the best!

5. Seasonal Chocolate and Candy: My favorite post-holiday score is Ghirardelli holiday chocolate squares and bags of Lindt truffles. We love chocolate at our house, and it stores well, so I like to stock up on it when I can get it for half-price. Don't you?

Think of a new way to use it in the next few months besides just eating it: crush it up and put it in cookies or on top of brownies. Put a square of Ghirardelli chocolate in your kid's lunch instead of a cookie. Red Christmas M&Ms can be repackaged in a pretty heart shaped box for Valentine's Day teacher presents. And Hershey's Kisses, well they're always good on top of a Valentine's Day cookie!

Find seasonal chocolates and candy bargains at WalgreensCVS, Target, and your local grocery stores.

See part two of this article where I share 5 more items I'm hoping to find marked way down this week. Find that article here.

Find more Shopping Intelligence on Mommy's Wish List here.

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