Money Saving Monday: Toys

Well, I thought since I am "cracked-up" and all, that I should maybe start sharing with you some of my money saving tips. I have become quite the pro at making the budget stretch. Since Christmas is coming up and I LOVE to shop for gifts I decided today I would share with you some tips for money-saving Christmas shopping. Although my husband likes to remind me that, "we can't afford to save too much money!" Because that's usually how I justify purchases...."yah, but I saved so much!"

Unfortunately in my family shopping is viewed as almost a pasttime or hobby. Nothing gets my blood going like a good sale. I am one of those people that get up before the crack of dawn on Black Friday to rush out to the crowds and save $34.00 on toys and clothes. It's fun for me. A rush. Last year Elise was 5 days old and I still went and brought her along.

So, for today's Money Saving budget tip: toys. I keep a closet full of toys for gifts for my neices and nephews and my friends' kids. That way I always have something on hand that I bought for a great deal and I don't have to go out and spend money that I'd rather buy a latte with on a more expensive gift.

There are a couple good places to look for clearance toys. At Target they almost always put the clearance toys on an endcap at the very end of the toy department on the edge of the sporting goods. You can find $30 toys for $5 or even less. Last year I found a Fisher Price Little People market for $4.96! Stuffed it in the closet and had it ready for Christmas. I make it a habit to walk down the endcaps looking for great bargains every time I'm there. It really does pay off. Also, on an endcap by the cards and party supplies I will find great art supplies on clearance for gifts too. One tip though, don't buy something totally stupid that you'll be embarrassed to give someone just because it's a good deal. Speaking from experience here.

Another great place to find good deals on toys is Kohl's. They seem to kind of hide the great toy deals in the very back of the toy department on a low shelf. But, if you can find them they're golden! Saturday I found a High School Musical game on clearance for $5.99 and it was an extra 25 percent off!! WOW, I'm pretty sure my niece will love it and it was well within my budget.

Ross has great toys that are quite a bit cheaper than they would be at a department store or even Target regular price. You have to be willing to dig, but you can find cool stuff.

Also, Dollar Tree will occasionally have great stuff that is name-brand and not just junk. And, for a dollar so you can't beat it. Unfortunately every time I walk into that store I end up with a cart full of stuff I never knew I always needed. Then as soon as I get home I realize I didn't really need it. SO--keep on task! Don't buy junk!

This year we are experimenting with a much smaller Christmas budget than usual so I'll be eyeing endcaps and clearance bins to make it through the season with nice gifts that fit into my budget. I refuse to give junk as gifts, and you really don't have to!

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