Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holidays 2013: Stocking Stuffer Ideas Galore!

I love STOCKINGS!! My husband always does something sweet and usually frugal, that brings to tears to my eyes in mine.. Here are some ideas on how to save or do them frugally!

1. Look in dollar bins at Michael’s

Michael’s has great dollar bins as you are waiting in line to make your purchase. They make great stocking stuffers.

2. Shop at the Dollar Store

The dollar stores is a great place to find bargains on hair accessories, candy, socks, books, stuffed animals, and craft supplies.

3. Check the Target dollar bins

I have purchased eye masks, lotion, flash cards, and notepads from the Target Dollar Bins.

4. Re-gift

Although I am always appreciative of every gift I receive, I think we can all admit that we can’t always use everything we are given. Some of the things I have re-gifted are scented body lotions, small books, and pens.

5. Sign up for freebies

I have signed up for sites such as Freebies Frenzy and I Crave Freebies and received things like razors, shampoo, makeup and lotion samples.

6. Give something useful

I like giving my kids things they can actually use as I know that it won’t be money wasted. Socks, toothbrushes, razors, and books make great stocking stuffers!

7. Shop after Christmas

Shopping after Christmas is a great way to save on things like Christmas ornaments, Christmas themed books, and coloring books. You might also be able to find things like scarves, hats, and mittens.

Here are some more ideas from other folks:

  • I have a plastic shoe box for each member of the family in a closet and I shop all year round. Since I have 17 stockings to do this year and 18 next year (unless we have another grandchild announcement) I have to keep an eye out all year long for items to fill them with.

  • I have teens, so I use my $10/$10 JC Penney and Kohl’s coupons for T-shirts, jewelry, the more expensive nail polish, men’s items, etc., for free or nearly free. I have a $20/stocking budget, so these really help out. Plus, by getting each teen a t-shirt (for free!) that helps take up some room in the stocking, so I don’t have to buy a lot of little stuff to fill it. I also try include a book in each stocking that I’ve gotten from Paperback Swap – again for free. Books also take up space, so I can go for quality and not quantity.

  • I try to do only edible or consumable items in the stockings. For instance, candy, gum, jerky, Gatorade, crackers, chips, cookies, fruit, nuts, deodorant, toothbrush, etc. I may do one little toy, but that is it. I don’t want any more junk and clutter in my house, and my kids love to have their own bag of whatever is in their stocking. I have 5 boys so snacks don’t last very long at my house.

  • I always put a new toothbrush in everyone’s stocking. my husband gets a mini lint roller for his desk at work. Mini lint rollers are REALLY popular teeny gifts. I also put an orange in. I got a great idea in the comment section on The Prudent Homemaker’s blog last year and that was to put breakfast food in the stockings since children are usually too wound up to eat on Christmas and this way breakfast is fun. I am going to get single serve cereal and milk and let them “camp” under the tree.
  • My cheap (and easy!) (and recyclable!) way to wrap stocking gifts is to drop each item onto a square of aluminum foil and just SCRUNCH it closed. No tape! No scissors! No gift wrap! After unwrapping all the stocking gifts, you just scrunch all the aluminum foil together and toss it into the recycling bin. (As an added bonus, it’s silver and shiny…just like tinsel!)
  • One of the fun, CHEAP things I put in stockings for my little ones are band aids and scotch tape. Another day of the year, I’d never let them “waste” a package for fun. They love it and both are very inexpensive at Dollar Tree.

1. Give Experiences
-We try to give our children experience gifts when we can, such as Zoo Passes or amusement park tickets, and you can use the same principle, obviously scaled down, for stockings. These can be some of the most meaningful, yet inexpensive gifts you can give. Some ideas:

  • A sprinkle shaker, with a homemade coupon for making and decorating cookies together.
  • A homemade coupon book, including such privileges as staying up 30 minutes past bedtime, or going out for ice cream, or having a family game night.
  • An inexpensive DVD (Target often has family/children's movies for under $5) and your child's favorite sweet treat with a plan to have a family movie night. 
2. Useful Doesn't Have To Be Boring 
-I know, I know. You're going to read: "give socks" and immediately go to the next idea. But, useful and practical gifts don't have to be depressing. And you'll save yourself some money buying something you'd probably have to buy anyway.

  • Fuzzy, cozy socks in fun colors (slipper socks are always a hit)
  • A toothbrush in a fun color/shape/size
  • Band-Aids with your child's favorite character
  • Brightly colored hair clips or hair ties
  • A hat, scarf, or mittens
  • A flashlight (kids love flashlights, and they're always good to have on hand in case of emergency!)
  • School supplies (maybe something you picked up for free with coupons during school supply season.)
  • A festive holiday plate, cup or utensils
  • Books
3. Consumable Gifts 
 -Food is always fun for little ones to get in their stockings. At least mine. Junior's nickname is "Beast" for a reason. The boy can eat! His whole stocking will probably be snacks this year.

  • Sweet treats your child doesn't normally get
  • Mini cereal boxes for breakfasts
  • Fruit with a hard peel such as an orange or tangerine
  • Art and Craft supplies (considered consumable since they get used pretty quickly!)
  • Hot cocoa packets
  • Fruit snacks or other favorite snack items
4. Moderation is Key 
-I still like a add a couple silly little toys, such as a mini My Little Pony figurine for my daughter or a Hot Wheels car for my son, or a little light up ball or wands, but those are the exception rather than the rule. And, since there are only a few, it makes the clutter more tolerabl

These ideas came from Save Money Live Joyfully  and go here for 101 ideas.

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