Last week I shared some tips for giving nice baby gifts without breaking the budget.
This week I’m going to let you peek into my gift closet and give you some tips for children’s gifts without breaking the budget.
First, I should say that I haven’t always had a gift closet. It began as one box in the closet where I’d store gifts I found for family throughout the year. As my sister began having children, it expanded to 2 boxes. By the time we were shopping for our own two children and 5 nieces/nephews I had expanded my gift boxes to an entire bookcase inside a closet. 2 years ago I was lucky enough that our son’s new room had 2 nice walk in closets with built in organizers. The rest of us have regular closets I commandeered one of his closets for gifts and storage and absolutely love it!
- items for our children and our nieces/nephews in the bottom half, covered by a sheet just in case the kiddos ever figure out how to unlock the door. There are a couple large tubs of legos and saved baby clothes down there as well as some gifts for our siblings and parents.
- items for our kids’ friends, donations and baby gifts in the middle sections, with boxes and tubs as makeshift dividers. The left side is girl gifts, the middle in the tub is boy gifts, the right is baby gifts and on top of the tub is toddler gifts. It’s very easy for me to step into the closet and place my hands on an appropriate gift when needed.
- The very top shelf is mainly storage, but does have a couple of toys that we bought when we had foster children that we’ll get out when our kids are ready for them.
- At the very bottom are a couple of bags with party favors and party prizes for the kids birthday parties.
- I keep a box of gift boxes on hand (the huggies case on the right)
- Hanging on the walls are a bag of ribbons, a bag of bows and a bag of tissue paper (mostly saved from gifts)
- The large baby gift bag on the floor to the left is full of various gift bags to be reused.
You’re probably wondering why in the world I would have so much stuff in my house, being such a frugal person. The majority of these gifts were bought at 70% off or better from the Target January and July clearances. A few at 50% off and I’d be surprised if there was anything in this closet that I paid more than 50% of retail price for. Quite a few items were 90% off! When I consider buying a $20 gift for my 5 yr old to take to a last minute birthday party (and having to drive to the store and pick one out) I cringe. I can go into my gift closet, pick out a $20 gift that I paid $6 or less for, wrap it and be on our way to the party in a matter of 10 minutes. Why in the world would I do it any other way?!? My motto of course is “Saving You Time & Money”
At the time I took these pictures (back in November I believe), I conservatively estimated about $1,000 of items at retail prices, but had spent just over $200 for all the gifts in the closet. Just the gifts for my kids’ Christmas and birthday would cost $200 at retail prices! Since these pictures were taken, nearly half the items have been given to their intended recipients, and throughout the next year other items will replace them.
So let’s sum it up:
- Buy when the prices are 50% off or better
- Keep the next birthday or Christmas gifts for your kids on hand
- Buy “generic” boy and/or girl gifts that are appropriate for the ages of your children for those last minute birthday parties. Or better yet, buy neutral gifts like puzzles, games or playdoh sets.
- Buy hand picked birthday presents for your children’s close friends. You know you’ll need a gift for those friends so don’t wait ’til the last minute and full pay price! Instead, buy them when you find something they’ll like on clearance.
- Watch for items you can use for party favors and prizes. Many individual holiday candies like Nerds and Smarties come in holiday outer packaging, but regular individual packaging, so they’re great to buy at 75% off and save for a few months.Character themed items and generic party favors and trinkets go on sale/clearance regularly, so plan your parties early enough or by generic items.
- Don’t throw out those gift bags, ribbons and bows. Even the tissue can be reused! It never ceases to amaze me when someone gifts my children a $5 gift in a $3 bag.
- Inventory your closet near Christmas every year and cull items to donate. It’s a great way to bless others when you see you’ve got more gifts in one category than you think you’ll give away before your kids are past that stage. At this point it’s not hurting your budget to donate items, and you paid so little for them it really doesn’t hurt anyway!
- Having all the gift items gathered in one area of the house helps reduce time and stress levels. Plus this method helps keep your checkbook healthy!