I have an incredibly large family. Parents, grandparents, kids, multiple cousins, nieces, nephews—the list goes on. With all of these people in my life it has become harder each year for me to keep up with gift giving during the holidays—let alone everyone's birthday, anniversary, or surprise engagement party. Thankfully, as an avid couponer, I've grown my own gift stockpile to keep myself from forgetting all of those important dates (and save me for when I do).
My stockpile is not a "one size fits all" stash. It includes appropriate gifts for several types of occasions, plus all-purpose wrapping supplies and cards so I can easily grab them whenever I need them. Take it from me—I know it may take a bit of extra effort to start your stockpile up front, but if you start building your gift stockpile this year, by next year you will be up and running to save on presents for every consecutive year in turn! Here are 7 tips for starting your gift stockpile.
1. Identify an appropriate space in your house or garage.
I keep my gift stockpile in my home office's closet. I don't fill up the whole closet, but I've sectioned off one wall to use for storing future presents and wrapping supplies. Depending on how much space you have, you might even want to set up a little workstation where you can wrap the gifts and address the cards.
- Tip: If you and your kids will "shop" together out of your gift closet for their friends, you might want to designate a separate super-secret space to hide their presents in!
2. Make a list of future events that you will need gifts for.
The idea here is to never again feel your stomach descending into your socks when your kid announces their friend's birthday is that day and they need a present. So you want to make a list of events—basing this on past gift-giving history can be helpful.
- Some ideas: Birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, major holidays (spiritual and secular), weddings, graduations, etc.
3. Create a working list of gifts you'd like to add to your stockpile.
Similar to creating a grocery list before you go to the store, start by making a running list of desirable presents (so you don't risk overspending on specific items). Instead you're ensuring that when you do run across a great gift deal, you'll recognize it and snap it up!
Brainstorming gift ideas per category:
- Kids: Board games, puzzles, stuffed animals, action figures, Barbie dolls.
- Teens: iTunes gift cards, portable wireless speakers, makeup, games.
- Baby showers: Diapers, wipes, baby toys, baby outfits, onesies, blankets.
- Wedding showers: Candles, picture frames, spa lotions/gels.
4. Start with "re-gifting" gifts.
Since you don't have much to add to your gift stockpile yet, the best way to get started is to gather up all the presents and gift cards you have received that you pretty much know you will never use. These will form the foundation of your budding gift closet.
- Tip: Just in case, you may want to make notes of who gave you what item—just to make sure you don't give it back to the person who gave it to you!
5. Decide what qualifies as a "great deal."
The whole idea of a gift stockpile is to ensure you never pay full price for presents again—so you need to decide what a "great deal" is for you. For some, it might be 15 or 50 percent off. For others, it might be anything bought with rewards points or during sales like Black Friday. Here are some tips to help ensure you never pay full price for the presents in your gift stockpile.
- Check KCL's "What's on Sale This Month" posts for gift ideas to stockpile (view November's post for ideas and evergreen links you can refer to all year long!).
- Use after-holiday sales (like Halloween) to stockpile general-purpose gift items.
- Know where to go to buy gift cards and not pay full price (check out this post).
- Use your gift stockpile creatively for custom gifts and for donation gifts.
6. Focus on "evergreen" gifts.
Here, the more classic your gift closet stockpile is, the less you risk giving a present that is "so last season." Plus, you want to focus on non-perishable gifts. Gifts of a perishable nature might be better relocated to your regular grocery stockpile.
- Examples: Wine, perfume, diapers, candles, gift cards, board games, etc.
7. Use your grocery and gift stockpiles together.
There are plenty of ways your two stockpiles can overlap. For instance, if a loved one is sick and needs a care package—you can shop in your gift stockpile for a festive basket, tissue paper and a card, and shop in your grocery stockpile for soothing tea, cookies, TheraFlu packs, and other "get well soon" essentials.
- Tip: You may want to look at your monthly grocery stockpile budget and either allocate a smaller portion of that budget for gift deals, or add just a bit to your budget to incorporate purchasing gifts.