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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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creating a gift closet or stockpile
This weekend, my children had not one, but two birthday parties they had the delight of attending.  This could have been a panic filled time for me as I remembered to purchase one of the gifts, but the other gift, well, I forgot.  My gift closet saved the day once again.  I pulled out 3-4 choices of age appropriate gifts that I had stockpiled, and my daughter chose which one she wanted to give to her friend.  It was still personal and thoughtful, and it had the added bonus of being cost and time efficient.

While we are all aware of the benefits of stockpiling household and grocery items, there is another area of life where stockpiling is truly helpful and that is the area of gifts.  Now, before you get stressed out trying to figure out where to fit another space in your house that looks like Toys ‘R Us or TJ Maxx, let me demystify this zone.

The “Closet”

Growing up, we had a gift closet in our house.  This was where my Mom “hid” all the gifts for upcoming birthdays, but mostly it was the Christmas present hiding place.  It was no secret that our presents were all in there, but we were well aware of the dire consequences of taking a peek in that closet.  So, we didn’t touch it.  In my house now, I have two “closets” of sorts for gifts.  I have a storage box underneath my bed where I put away gifts for my kiddos, and in our hall closet, I have a plastic box that holds presents for others.  It is amazing how much stuff can fit into these two areas alone.  The first step is to find a “closet”.  The second step is to not forget where you put it!  The worst part of stocking up early on gifts is when you can remember you have a gift, but can’t for the life of you find it.

Consider your Season

In my season of life, I have kids’ birthday parties, baby showers and weddings to attend.  These (in addition to Christmas) are my main gift giving occasions.  You might be in a different season full of graduations and retirement parties.  It is helpful to start off making a list of what you are consistently purchasing gifts for.

What to Put in the Closet

Here are some ideas of what I have stockpiled over the years.

Baby showers – I almost always give a package of diapers and wipes.  What Mom doesn’t love free diapers!?  At times, I’ll add something homemade, a favorite board book or even a regifted item from one of my own babies.

Birthday parties – Board games make great gifts (and they are on sale once a year at least in a big way!)  I try to think through what age and stage my three kids are in, and when there are good sales, I will buy not more stuff for them, but gifts for their friends.  If you have older kids, iTunes gift cards might make a great deal.  It never hurts to talk to your kids about what kind of gifts they want to give, and then keep that on your radar when looking through the sales.

Weddings – I must admit that I do not stockpile for wedding gifts.  I know how much thought I put into registering for what I needed; therefore, when I purchase wedding gifts, I try to get something off of the person’s wish list (but I’ll go to Bed, Bath and Beyond and use a 20% off coupon if I can!)  :)

Graduations – You could create a lovely snack box of prepackaged goodies for their dorm room from your grocery stockpile.  If they are moving into an apartment, a caddie of cleaning supplies would be a great idea.  Any graduate would love some of those movie tickets you purchased off of a daily deal site or a restaurant gift card that was purchased when they had a special running.

Regifting

Now I know that some of you are vehemently opposed to regifting, and that this can be a touchy subject.  In all honesty though, I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of folks haven’t been on the receiving or giving end at least once.  A time comes that you get a baby outfit from Great Aunt Beth that just isn’t your style, and while you can be incredibly grateful for the kindness of Great Aunt Beth to remember you, it is a bit wasteful to use something once out of duty and then let it just sit there.  So here are some tips to regift:

— If you think you might forget who gave you the gift, put a sticky note on the bottom of it with the name of who gave it to you.

— Don’t re-gift it in the same circle of friends.  You are less likely to hurt someone’s feelings that way.

— If you are going to be embarrassed if your regifting is discovered, just don’t do it.  Save yourself the stress.

Gift Bags and Tissue Paper

One other massive money saving tip is to save your gift bags and tissue paper!!  I got married nearly 10 years ago, and we are still using up wedding gift bags.  I cannot imagine how much money this has saved me over the years.  You can also get creative with your wrapping paper and tags.  My artistic husband and I make snowflake gift tags each year for our Christmas presents, and my children have been known to decorate a brown paper bag with markers to wrap a friend’s gift.

One last thing, thoughtfulness is key.  You want to make sure that your gift communicates love and care.  If you are just shoving an old gift into a bag, it will look that way.  We really try to sort through our things with the person we are “shopping” for in mind.  The purpose of giving gifts is to show love, and your heart will come through regardless of how much you spent.

    • A friend turned me onto this about a year ago – and we now have a nice little stockpile of presents to give for baby showers, for my 4yr old twins’ friends, and my 13yr old’s friends (gift cards mostly). I restocked it last week at Target’s clearance sale! I figure if I have something that everyone outgrows I can always donate it at Christmastime :)

    • AP

      I do this mainly for Christmas.  I also buy the big pack of white tissue paper during the after-Christmas clearance that lasts me all year.  White tissue paper goes with just about every gift bag!

    • Melissa

      I have a young son who has lots of friends and I have lots of baby showers I attend for friends.  I have a gift closet full of baby items and toys that I buy on sale after Christmas and at the end of seasons.  I also have lots of gift wrap that I pick up when it is on sale.  I rarely ever have to go shopping just before a party.  

    • LuvCpns

      I’m one of those that don’t regift. If it’s something I know I won’t use I give it to Charity!

      • Grace

         I agree!  I don’t want to receive a “regift” from someone else, so I don’t do that to others.

    • sapplegate

      I love getting clearance seasonal gifts like Christmas plates and mugs for the following year.   I have a few stashed away for this year.  I also have lots of expensive Hallmark wrapping paper that I got on Clearance the day after Christmas last year. 

    • Bbeteag

      I buy Easter Baskets and Halloween Baskets to use as gift bags.  As all bargain shoppers know, Target usually has a lot of these after the holidays and they get marked down to 90% off.  I buy generic baskets–beautiful woven ones, often white or with little flowers make a beautiful ‘gift bag’ for wedding gifts.  Easter baskets with little lambs or ducks on the edge make a precious baby gift bag–tuck in a couple of outfits, or baby products and you have a cute present for a shower.  Hello Kitty and Barbie (both Easter and Halloween) soft cloth baskets make a wonderful gift bag for a little girl,  and for boys, I’ve gotten the Disney Cars guys, Shrek,and Tonka Trucks.  With tissue paper and a card, it is a neat way to present a gift.   I never pay more than a dollar for the baskets, and the basket itself is a nice extra gift, too! 

    • Crafty_cat_86

      I love using the $10 Kohl’s coupon cards that come out every other month to get clothes for my nephews.  I only end up spending a few dollars and I can get them really cute outfits.  For wedding presents, I agree, stocking up is difficult.  My go-to for such occasions is to use my credit card points (we run everything through our credit card and pay it off every month, plus hubby has to use it for business expenses which are reimbursed) to “buy” a $50 giftcard (hopefully, somewhere they’re registered).  There is no way my gift budget ($500 per year) can afford the large purchase that I beleive is required for a wedding, so those credit card points are a God-send.  I also tend to use accrued points from Crowdtap and Savingstar for gifts on Amazon (this has the added benefit of shipping included).  I try really hard to stay away from toys in my gift closet b/c every parent I know begs for no more toys!  Games and clothes (if you know who you’re buying for) are both great ideas!

    • Beckyd

      I like to wait until there is a coupon code for someplace like Disneystore.com (like there is right now) and I buy LOADS of sale items (I just recently bought 24 t-shirts for around $7 each).  I keep certain kids in mind and then a few extra in my own kids’ sizes for gifts I hadn’t anticipated.  Kids love getting Disney stuff, and I have the piece of mind knowing that my Christmas and birthday gifts are already in the closet!

    • Bamabobie

      The bottom of my closet is now running over.  LOL  I Christmas shop all year long and usually write down everything I buy and stash away so I want have to pull everthing out all the time and recheck. Right now I have a 5 X 7 piicture frame for a wedding gift that they resgisterd for but in an 8 X 10.  Sorry about the size.  Then I will put money all over the picture part.

    • Ejones

      If you ever come across reusable grocery bags at a super price those also make great gift bags. Even at the normal price of $1 or so they’re a better value than the paper ones. Sometimes I find them with seasonal designs at Kroger or with characters at the Disney Store. I like to use them for graduation gifts, “basket” type gifts, and gifts for my young nephews.I also love the posted idea about buying the actual baskets on clearance and using those. That would take more storage room than I currently have but I will have to think about it after Easter next year.

    • Kimboone123

      I’ve been doing this for YEARS and at first my husband though I was crazy.  That is, until he needed a bunch of gifts for his employees at the holiday season!  I had him make a list of their names and what he knew about their hobbies/interests.  THen we went through my closet (yes, I have an entire closet in the basement for this), and he found something for each of them!  We re-used all the gift bags that I save and he looked like a very generous boss, but it didn’t cost us a fortune!  

    • Mzeggert

      I have also been doing this for a while. Last January, we bought the recordable Christmas books for 75% off and we have 1 for each of our children’s families. It will be a treasured gift for our grandchildren this Christmas. I also by for the next year as soon as the sales start. Your site helped me save a bundle last year on the food savers. I bought 5. 1 for each of our children and 1 for myself!

    • Mandalynn536

      I have teenage girls and last year they both told me the night before that they had to give a secret santa gift at school. They were SO excited to go through my drugstore stockpile and find gifts to fill bags that we had bought as filler items at Walgreens for 10 cents. Their friends loved the gifts and we didn’t have to go last minute shopping!

    • Danielle

      We love wrapping gifts in artfully colored pages from a giant coloring book.  This is especially great for gifts straight from the kids.

      •  That’s a really fun idea especially for kid gifts that they give grandparents too!

      •  That’s a really fun idea especially for kid gifts that they give grandparents too!

    • Couponbhumi

      I have a 4yr old and my circle of friends has kids ranging from 2yr to 7yr olds. so every year i buy gifts for the kids in my circle as and when they go on sale, but now that my older one has started regular school i’m dealt with his school friends birthday invitations. Now I do not know how to buy gifts for 20kids in addition to my already 10kids in the circle. 
      What do you suggest for that?

      • Tfrost99

         I have a 6 yo so the school parties started coming piling up last year for us as well.  The two main places I stocked up for these bday parties were Target (during the 70% off sale – strawberry shortcake dolls, disney items, legos, hot wheels, etc) and Staples (during the school sales right now – all crayola stuff, construction paper, scissors, etc.)  So, my daughter has a choice of either a toy or putting together an “arts and crafts kit” for her school friends’ bday party.

      •  We only attend the birthday parties of the kids we are either close too already or that my kids really want to get to know better. We are fairly selective. And it’s not a money issue; we just focus our efforts on the people we most care about. Quality over quantity.

        • We did the same thing – when my son started school he got invited to literally 23 parties throughout the year. We only went to five, because he liked those kids. Otherwise we just politely rsvp’ed no :) 

    • Cookie

      I have 2 girls in high school. I have a huge stockpile of free covergirl and revlon make-up and nail accessories . I also stock up on cheap pencil pouches when back to school time is here . We make up gift bags using the pencil pouches as a make up bag. . The girl all seem to love it.

    • Cookie

      I have 2 girls in high school. I have a huge stockpile of free covergirl and revlon make-up and nail accessories . I also stock up on cheap pencil pouches when back to school time is here . We make up gift bags using the pencil pouches as a make up bag. . The girl all seem to love it.

    • anita

      I am like Jenny when it comes to wedding gift.  I try to buy from their registry.  althought, for one of my cousin, I gave her a tote full of HBA items for her and her soon to be hubby while my mom put a small basket full of groceries (mostly condiments)  on top.  SHe and everyone else truly loved it…….
      Another good idea is to put a towel that the bride to be wants and “wrap” your gift in it so that there is no waste……

    • Susan

      I picked up some GREAT deals this afternoon at Target’s toy clearance aisle for my kids birthday party gift stockpile: various Zoobles originally 7.99-24.99; now 2.38-7.48, Gibber Gabber watches originally 19.99 now 5.98; and a Monopoly Crazy Cash game orginally 19.99 now 5.98.  These will round out the stockpile of Webkinz on their way from Graveyard Mall (thanks for that tip, Jenny!).  I think I’m good for the school year!

    • couponmonster

      My mom did this and now so do I, but she always has greeting cards on hand.  Especially thank you’s and sympathy which can be very spur of the moment. I print Hallmark coupons and stock up whenever I can!

      • I print thank you’s, sympathy, and birthday cards every time a freebie rolls around from shutterfly, etc. so I have them on hand :) Your mom was onto something!!

    • Grace

      Great idea.  I am going to TRY to do this (on a small scale).  Best tip in your article for me:  Don’t forget where you put the gifts!  Typically, if I buy a gift in advance, I can not find it when I need it, or I don’t remember that I even bought something. Then I end up buying another gift instead. Ha!  I like the plastic storage box idea, so maybe things won’t get lost in my closet. Wish me luck………..

    • Grace

      Great idea.  I am going to TRY to do this (on a small scale).  Best tip in your article for me:  Don’t forget where you put the gifts!  Typically, if I buy a gift in advance, I can not find it when I need it, or I don’t remember that I even bought something. Then I end up buying another gift instead. Ha!  I like the plastic storage box idea, so maybe things won’t get lost in my closet. Wish me luck………..

    • Grace

      Great idea.  I am going to TRY to do this (on a small scale).  Best tip in your article for me:  Don’t forget where you put the gifts!  Typically, if I buy a gift in advance, I can not find it when I need it, or I don’t remember that I even bought something. Then I end up buying another gift instead. Ha!  I like the plastic storage box idea, so maybe things won’t get lost in my closet. Wish me luck………..

    • Ahhh I have been doing this for years!!! I love it and I go into my closet every time for a housewarming basket, or baby basket, or what have you. I buy those rags (at Walmart typically) in bulk, find out their color scheme, roll them up in cute decorative way, add some candles (also bought in bulk) and maybe a spatula or other house hold item. <3 <3 <3 your site btw.

    • Watts_coupons

      Kmart usually has a nice clearance on toys. I have to buy for several children so I stock up on clearance toys and put them on layaway around Aug/Sept and they’re paid for way before Christmas. My mom has been buying for.Christmas all year this year and put everything in her closet! Much better than spending.a bunch at one time