Thursday

10 items to shop for after the holidays (Part Two).


Catch Santa off duty to bend his ear, or follow some seasonal shopping strategies.

This is part two of a series "10 items to shop for after the holidays." To read the first part, go here.

If you haven't built a home stockpile then January, or post-Christmas is good time to start. Why? Many of the items we use all year long can be purchased for rock-bottom prices. With just a little investment now, you won't be buying the following items for the rest of the year or next winter when they'll be expensive again. Nor will you be buying these other five things.

Don't forget to print a coupon for these items to make your final price even lower. When you stack a clearance sale with a coupon, you come out a huge winner with free or nearly free items.

Here are five more types of items that I look for both in-store and on-line this time of year, because they'll be marked way down.


Luka and I both love sweater dresses.

1. Winter Fashions: In case you haven't noticed, retailers are already setting out spring fashions. I know it's hard to think about wearing cotton in wool weather...and that is why you're going to come out ahead by still thinking wool. Those same retailers have to make room for the spring styles by clearing out the fall and some of the winter clothing. Men's, women's, and children's. Boots, pajamas, sweaters.

I like to supplement my own working wardrobe this time of year with cardigan sweaters, scarves, and sweater dresses. I'm looking for deals on boot socks, pashminas, and cute gloves and winter hats that I can match to one of my several girly coats. New gloves and a scarf are an easy way to refresh an older winter coat.

For the kids, you'll notice that Old Navy, who's biggest selling season is August, and now at clearance prices, at stores like Old Navy, Children's Place, and Walmart. When you think about clothing off-season (and a size bigger for your kids to save for next year) you win every time. You may even get lucky with a clearance winter coat for your child, because retailers are already focusing on bright Easter outfits for them.

Look for these type of items on sale also at JCPenney, Walmart, Dillards, Kohl's, Sears, and Kmart. Department stores are your best bet.


Angry Birds merchandise is still the rage with kids.

2. Items produced specifically to target the Christmas Shopper: Not only are holiday treats produced for the Christmas Shopper, but apparel, licensed merchandise (sporting the Angry Birds and other cartoons), appliances meant to be Christmas presents (like crockpots, toasters, immersion blenders, and cookie presses), and home decor items (like candles, pottery, platters and dishes) and fragrance and beauty gift sets. Now they're all marked down 50% off or more. Not necessarily stockpile items, but if like me you need to replace something like a crockpot, now may be the best time to do that.

One of the obvious things to look for are gifts for your "Present Box". Getting your sister-in-law an Immersion Blender for $15.99 now will be less than getting it next year when the store knows you want one and the price is over $30. Getting your little boy an Angry Birds hat, t-shirt, or socks and stashing it until their birthday gets you ahead of the game early.

Don't forget that the excess of holiday snacks like Chex Mix will be on sale, and that adding a .50¢ off coupon to a clearance price gets you the best price.

You can find items like this at Old Navy, Target, Walmart, and even on Amazon.


Garlands looking worn out? Added a new baby to the household?

3. Christmas Decor: As you're taking down your tree and all your decorations this week, take stock. Do your garlands look worn out? Strings of lights that don't light? Holes in your stockings? Down to two wisemen in your nativity? You're in luck. Everywhere you look this week, Christmas decor is marked down...as low as 90% off in some cases. Retailers WANT IT OUT of the store immediately. You can help them with that, yes?

The same rule that applied to getting deals this week on wrapping paper and bows applies to Christmas Decor. Plan a new color scheme for your tree's decorations, and get those ornaments this year. Then, you'll be pleased to find stores selling organizational items like big lidded plastic tubs and other containers for organizing your Christmas Decor storage.

Again, don't forget to look for paper napkins, plates, and cups. This year's Christmas Red plates and napkins can be this summer's Fourth of July BBQ plates and napkins. Look for solid color or generic patterns that can be used for other parties at your house this year.

Look for decor on sale at Kmart, Sears, Target, Walmart, Party City, your local grocery store, even Barnes & Noble and Michael's. Michael's may be your best bet, and you can probably find a bargain on clearance Christmas at Dollar General...use this $5 off coupon on Saturday to make your dollars go further.


Look for toys like remote control cars on end aisle sales.

4. Popular Toys: Your favorite toy store or department store stocked up, perhaps overly so, on the toys they projected they would sell during the Christmas season. Now, if they didn't sell, they'll be found on end-aisles and on-line in clearance sections. A perfect opportunity for you to fill your Present Box for less. Just like educational toys and games, toys meant purely for play are marked down.

Look for these everywhere. You'll even find bargains from daily deal sites as well. Make sure you're signed up for all of the daily deal sites here to keep your eye out.


Great Wolf Lodge anyone? Now's the time to go.

5. Off-Season Travel and Dining: Want to go to Great Wolf Lodge but with out the Great Wolf Lodge price? Go off-season (like in January and February). In fact, you can get a huge discount on all the Great Wolf Lodge locations today on Groupon here. Off-season is when hotels, and entertainment destinations are empty and begging people to come visit. This is when you score a cheap vacation or meal out. Remember, the kids are probably off school, like mine, on Monday the 21st for MLK, so there's a 3-day weekend to plan around.

And, Restaurant.com usually offers $25 gift certificates for a huge discount here. We never dine out at our favorite restaurants without this deep discount. Combine this discount with an in-store promotion, and maximize your savings.

Try Tuesday nights at your local restaurants...often restaurants are trying to fill seats on "off-nights" like Tuesdays and Wednesdays by offering deals like kids eat free, free appetizers, or drink specials. Make Tuesday your new family eating-out night for the best deals. Often, you'll even find printable coupons for restaurants here to make your family dining really affordable.

If you have certain items that you shop for this time of year, and get a bargain on, please share them with everyone in the comments below!

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

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