Cheap Garage Sale Christmas Shopping

Christmas should be a time of great joy, but in modern times, it's come to be a time of unparalleled expenses.  If you're looking to be frugal during the holidays, here are some of the best times and places to buy Christmas gifts for your relatives and friends.

Giving Christmas presents purchased from a garage saleGarage sales, yard sales, and flea markets are perfect places to get gifts.  The only problem with these vendors is that you never know what you'll be getting -- you can't exactly predict what merchandise each sale or stand will have.  However, being able to barter for the presents you buy is a unique experience.  Just make sure you can stand putting the gifts away; some people can't stand the suspense, and want to hand over the present right away.  They have to last until Christmas!

Speaking of the holidays, right after Christmas is a great time to buy presents, because stores are overstocked with merchandise they couldn't sell for the most recent Christmas and put it on pretty great sales.  (This is also a good time to get decorations for next year!)  Check out department stores the week and especially weekend right after December 25th.

Dollar stores offer some inexpensive items that, while potentially cheap in construction, are very inexpensive to buy.  Often, you still exchange gifts with old friends only because of the sentimental idea behind it -- so if you get them something small that pertains to an inside joke you share, it will probably be sufficient.

Looking for a garage sale option that's later in the year?  Try your local thrift stores, which are similar to garage sales in: they have second-hand materials, all selling for prices far below retail value.  Though you can't haggle at thrift stores, everything is neatly organized into permanent categories, so you can go in knowing what you're looking for.

Purchasing clothing for presents?  Go to department stores during seasonal switches.  The best times are between winter and spring and summer and fall, when the new summer and winter lines come out, respectively.  Stores making way for the new merchandise will put lots of the older items on deep discount, so just hunt down the discount racks for some amazing deals.  (Buy yourself clothes while you're at it -- this is a great time to do so!)

Many other holidays throughout the year make retail stores put on sales, just to draw more crowds.  Although you may not get all the items you're looking for on sale, plan your shopping according to the "theme" of the sales.  For example, Father's Day sales usually have items like tools, electronics, and men's clothing on sale, so shop for the men in your life this time of year.

Online stores often save you money, as there's no middleman for the manufacturers to pay, but don't forget about shipping.  Try to purchase multiple items from one vendor so you can combine shipping and save.

And, of course, no frugal Christmas shopping list would be complete without a mention of Black Friday.  The day after Thanksgiving is full of insanely good prices, but at a cost: you have to brave some ridiculous crowds to get to them, and often they're limited deals that only work for a certain number of items, so you have to go very early.

Need more frugal tips in your life?  Check this blog -- and the other great ones here at -- on a regular basis for some great lifehacks!

Comments (4) -

Pamela Chambers
Pamela Chambers
2/28/2013 1:31:38 PM #

I usually bring my nephews and nieces when I go to garage sales during the holidays. When it's Christmas, I give them an equal amount of money and I would let them choose anything they want because I know that the items are all cheap. It's easier compared to shopping in malls and wrapping their gifts with expensive gift covers.

I prefer this style because they get to choose what they want and they'll enjoy it together. They can share their experiences afterward and gain new friends in the process of finding their garage sale present. We even play games and pretend to be treasure hunters and I would give a price to whoever finds me a specific item I want.

Diego Pickett
Diego Pickett
2/28/2013 1:38:58 PM #

Buy gifts when it's only a few days from Christmas because the stores would have greater discounts to sell all the remaining products. That's when you want to come in and shop; take advantage of the opportunity and find the best discounts. The only issue is that there are a lot of people joining you in your quest to buy the cheapest but best gifts possible. If you choose, you can have someone help in sorting through items and finding nice gifts.

Penelope Garlock
Penelope Garlock
2/28/2013 1:44:48 PM #

I buy present for my family members the moment the month of december starts. It also signals the starts of big time discounts and I can still go through the items throughly with less competition around. I can't shop well when the place is too crowded and the lines are too long just to pay for a few items.

I'm used to in being the early bird shopper. I like to do things in advance when there still not much attention in malls and I still can go to different stores and compare prices. If I go with the crowd during december 23rd or 24th, the tendency is, I will panic buy and not choose the best fit present for a loved one.

Erica Davis
Erica Davis
2/28/2013 1:51:36 PM #

From my personal experience, I shop after the new year because that's when I stock piled all the money I received during Christmas and the stores are trying to get rid of last year's items. Most folks are still at home slacking and enjoying the holidays while I'm out shopping with all the discount signs everywhere. It's like a dreamland for a shopper like myself. I can roam around the mall for eight straight hours and I wouldn't feel a thing in my legs or a bit of stiffness anywhere in my body. I was built and born to be a shopper. Now who wants to shop with me?

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