The days following a holiday is prime time for saving money. That’s because everything holiday-related — whether Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, etc. — goes on clearance.
But don’t just buy the obvious (things that you can use next year) — think a little more creatively, and grab clearance items that can be repurposed to save you even more all year long. Check out the ideas below, but first…
Know when the biggest stores mark down items after a holiday
KCL will always alert you to great clearance finds in our DEALS section, but you should also know this info so you can get first dibs on the best merchandise:
Target will typically mark down all food and candy items 30-50% the day after a holiday. About two days after the date, they’ll offer 50-70% off clearance, followed by 70-90% off 4-5 days after the event. Once you see 90% off clearance, expect any leftover holiday merchandise to be completely cleared off the shelves the following Wednesday.
Walmart stores (most of them) usually mark down merchandise 50-75% the day after a holiday. This percentage will be the same for 3-4 days before more reductions are offered. Clearance markdowns will almost always be done in these increments: 50%, 75%, and 90%, depending on inventory and the manager’s discretion.
Walgreens holiday clearance markdowns vary by location, but you’ll generally see 30-50% off the day after an event. A week or two after a holiday, the markdown increases to 70%. And depending on whether any merchandise is left over, look for 90% off a week or so after the last markdown.
CVS starts discounting their merchandise the day after a holiday. Discounts start at 50%, then drop down to 75%, and finally 90% (which is rare and will only be done if there’s leftover merchandise).
Rite Aid will mark down all holiday items 50% the day after a holiday. Seven days later, expect to see 75% off merchandise near the front of the store.
1. Store lunchbox snacks in clearance Easter eggs.
2. Or, use plastic eggs to help kids learn new words.
You can also use them to help kids learn math.
3. Make Rice Krispies treats with clearance Easter Peeps.
4. Or, use leftover marshmallow Peeps to make colorful s’mores.
5. You can also use Peeps to make taste-safe play dough.
All you need is a handful of Peeps, cornstarch, coconut oil, and some food coloring.
6. Use Easter grass as packing material.
7. Use paint to turn Easter eggs into Halloween skulls.
8. Transform clearance hard candies into custom candy to give as gifts.
To get these custom candies, you’ll need some leftover Jolly Ranchers and a hammer to smash them with. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet and the insides of cookie cutters. Then drop the smashed candy inside each, and set in a 350-degree oven for about five minutes or until fully melted. Allow to cool, and pop your candies right out.
9. Create a dress-up trunk with clearance Halloween costumes.
10. Use clearance Halloween candy to decorate gingerbread houses during Christmastime.
11. Paint Halloween/Thanksgiving clearance pumpkins and use them to make holiday snowmen.
12. Make wreaths for every holiday with Christmas decor clearance.
Check out this simple DIY wreath tutorial.
13. Paint clearance Christmas ornaments and use them as garden decorations.
If you don’t have any spare paint on hand, try old nail polish!
14. Or, use clearance ornaments in crafts for next year.
15. Clearance ornaments can also be used instead of ribbons when wrapping gifts.
16. Line drawers and the backs of bookshelves with clearance wrapping paper.
17. Or, use clearance wrapping paper to make paper decorations.
Grab solid color and metallic papers for year-round use!
18. Use Valentine’s Day cookie cutters at Christmas.
For more alternative ways to use cookie cutters, check out: 23 Unexpected Ways to Use Cookie Cutters.
19. Grab Valentine’s clearance items for weddings or bachelorette parties.
Rose petals aren’t the only V-Day clearance items you should stock up on if you or someone you know is getting hitched. Look for clearance candles and love- and heart-themed decor as well!
20. Add clearance candy and chocolates to sweet treats.
Stuff your favorite cookie with clearance chocolate, or melt the chocolate down and dip fruit in it. Or use the candy for an ice cream topping. Try mixing it into Rice Krispies treats or hiding candy in the middle of a cupcake. The possibilities are endless!