Monday, January 02, 2006

After-Christmas Bargains

It's so hard to be patient. Like any consumer, I've watched the after-Christmas ads--but experience tells me that the very best retail markdowns won't come until late January.

I'll do most of my 2006 Christmas shopping in January and February. That's when department stores like Dillard's slash their prices to between 75 and 90% off.

Last year I bought big crystal bowls of Aromatique potpourri for $2.50 (reg. $25), fine cotton weave blankets from $40 down to $5, and tins of California grilling spices for $3 (reg. $30). My in-laws sometimes send me a Dillard's gift card, which is why I've studied the pricing there.

What do you do if your nearest department store is already picked clean?

Find the one in your area that is the least shopped; in Nashville, that's usually the Hickory Hollow location. I had hunted all over for Dillard's blown glass trout ornaments for my husband, with no luck; we just happened to be at that mall when I found several boxes still unopened at 75% off.

Likewise, my aunt, who buys entire seasons' of clothes from the Gap, waits until the final round of markdowns...and then drives out to Hickory Hollow, where she can still find pieces of every collection on the racks.

If you have but one store to shop, you can also check the store's web site. F0r instance, has 75% off seasonal merchandise, with very reasonable shipping. I once ordered deluxe gourmet food baskets online; slashed from $50 to $12.50, the baskets, though dubbed seasonal, had no holiday decorations at all--and I was able to have them sent directly to recipients without having to wrap.

Happy hunting! And do share your own tips for after-Christmas treasures below!


Mrs.Garcia said...

Meredith, thank you for the great tips on After-Christmas Bargains.
I can not wait to use these helpful and useful tips.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a bargain hunter -- I tend to make my own or do without -- but I read your suggestions with interest. Do you find that the spices and potpourri stay fresh for the whole year? Or that you can predict your kids' sizes for the next season?

Meredith said...

Good question! I carefully investigate before buying something perishable--for instance, the grilling spices were sealed in plastic in tins and wrapped again in plastic, and had a "good through 2007" stamped on the bottom. Likewise, the potpourri was tightly sealed, and being such a high quality brand, smelled just as strong (to me) when I pulled it out again in the late fall. If it hadn't, I would have just used it in my own home. Sometimes these things are a gamble!

I don't buy new clothes for my son, but I will pick up the next couple of sizes when I see great items at a yard sale for 50 cents or less. If it doesn't work out later, I can consign them. My aunt who buys the Gap seasonal wardrobes actually resells them after the season on Ebay...she ended up finding a Japanese lady with a son one year behind who would pay $400 for the season's worth, and their arrangement lasted a few years.