It’s definitely a smart shopping move to buy up holiday items when there’s an after-holiday clearance sale.
You’ll find the tricky thing is inventory, because most of the big stores offer clearance that gets better and better as time goes on, but inventory is depleted as the savings increase.
Keep this in mind as you make your after-holiday clearance shopping plans. Generally speaking, the best items tend to be gone by the 90% markdown. But there are a couple exceptions!
1. Buy Easter stuffed animals at Walmart when they’re marked down to $0.99.
About a week after Easter, expect to see Walmart’s holiday clearance marked down 90% across the board.
You may need to verify prices because it’s common for the store not to change out sale signs the very first day of a new markdown. You may still see 75% off, when if you scanned the item, you’d find it’s actually 90% off.
Look for items like giant floppy bunnies for only $0.99 (regularly $9.99). Save them to give next Easter, or put them in your gift closet for baby showers and toddler birthdays.
2. Shop Dollar General and pay $0.25 per St. Patrick’s Day item.
The day after St. Patrick’s Day, look for all of Dollar General’s holiday-themed items to be marked down to $0.25 (regularly $1.00).
You’ll find mostly party decor like cloverleaf garland, party favors, mini hats and light-up bracelets, but a lot of the items could be repurposed for other uses during the year (you could spray paint hat decorations to use at other parties, for example).
Or save items until next year’s St. Patrick’s Day.
3. Shop Target for up to 90% savings on Valentine’s Day decor and party favors.
Target’s holiday markdown schedule is always basically the same. Target marks down all holiday items by 50% the day after the holiday.
Four or five days later, look for 70% markdowns, and then a week after the holiday, you’ll find 90% off markdowns on non-food items.
Candy and other food items won’t reach 90% off, so buy them at the 50-70% off markdown.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day clearance, the best things to buy at Target are valentines for next year’s class parties, heart-themed decor that can be repurposed, and Valentine’s Day baby clothes.
This year we saw a cute kitty baby sweatshirt that wasn’t overly Valentine’s Day themed for $0.99 (regularly $9.99).
4. Shop Walmart a week after Christmas for up to 75% savings.
Walmart marks down all Christmas items to 50% off the day after Christmas. A week later, look for 75% off markdowns on decor — and even a few toys (last year we saw L.O.L. Surprise! Pets marked down too).
Then, a week and a half after the 75% markdown, Walmart marks it all down by 90%. Best things to buy at the 90% markdown are strictly Christmas-themed items like tree trimmings and gift wrap. In fact, wrapping paper can reach as low as $0.10 per roll.
If you’re shopping clearance toys, don’t wait for 90% off; instead settle for 50% off on Disney or Marvel and 75% off on all other toy brands.
5. Shop Walgreens a week after Valentine’s Day for 90% off clearance.
The past two years, Walgreens’ Valentine’s Day candy and gifts received a 50% markdown the day after the holiday, a 70% markdown four days later, and non-candy items received a whopping 90% markdown two days later.
To compare, CVS’s Valentine’s Day items only receive one 50% off markdown a couple days after the holiday.
This year we got $400.00 worth of stuffed animals for only $37.00, which we will give to local refugees through the KCL Foundation.
Focus on deals at Walgreens for stuffed animals, candy and Valentine’s Day cards.
6. Snatch up leftover Christmas cosmetic gift sets at Ulta in January.
Many prestige brands like Tarte, Philosophy and Urban Decay offer great deals on holiday sets from Black Friday through Christmas.
But watch for up to 50% markdowns after the Christmas holiday on fragrance, makeup and body care sets.
You could save these to give as gifts next Christmas, or break them up and create your own gifts to give all year long.
7. Buy Easter and Halloween candy at Rite Aid a week after the holiday for 75% off.
Rite Aid offers the deepest candy savings.
Where Walmart, Walgreens and Target’s markdowns on candy don’t exceed 70% off, Rite Aid offers 75% off.
You’ll need to wait at least a week after Easter and sometimes a week and a half. But go into Rite Aid about five days after Halloween.
For Easter, you should be able to find jelly beans, Hershey’s, M&M’s and Cadbury items. And you’ll see Halloween candy like fun size M&M’s packs and mixed bags of Nerds, Laffy Taffy and Bottle Caps, all marked down 75%. Stock up!
8. Get next year’s Halloween yard decor at Walgreens for up to 90% off.
If you shop a week after Halloween at Walgreens, you can find 70-light strings of orange or purple house lights for just $0.49 (regularly $4.99) and yard inflatable decorations like a Jack Skellington pumpkin for $2.99 (regularly $29.99).
9. Get an artificial Christmas tree a week after Thanksgiving at Michaels and save 65%.
In past years at Michaels, we’ve consistently seen up to 65% savings on artificial Christmas trees about a week after Thanksgiving.
For example, you can find a 7′ tree for $89.99 (regularly $229.99) and 4′ trees for 19.99 (regularly $49.99).
This is typically an in-store price, so plan to go in after the Black Friday dust settles.
10. Get Easter toys at Walgreens for 90% off and save them for stocking stuffers.
Just like with Valentine’s Day, if you wait a week at Walgreens, everything Easter-themed will receive a 90% markdown.
Look for small toys you can repurpose and use as stocking stuffers this Christmas.
For example, we’ve seen games like a little net and balls for only $0.19 (regularly $1.99). This could easily double as a stocking stuffer.
11. Shop Hobby Lobby’s Christmas clearance before Christmas Day.
Hobby Lobby wants to sell everything by the time Christmas comes, so you’ll see Christmas decor start to roll out as early as June.
It’ll usually get marked down 40% in August, 50% in November and then it’s marked down to more than 60% off several days before Christmas.
Anything left hanging around after a holiday is marked down to 80% and then finally 90% off.
To be honest, the 90% markdowns are slim pickings and they only fill up a small section of a wall. If you’re concerned about inventory, shop when items reach at least 60% off — it’s better than the typical 40% discount you’d get using a Hobby Lobby coupon!
12. Buy Halloween costumes at Target and Walmart for up to 75% savings.
Aim to shop four days to a full week after Halloween is over if you want to save on costumes.
Target and Walmart will both mark their Halloween items down 50% the day after the holiday, but there will be a second markdown a couple days to a week later.
For Target, it’ll be up to 70% off and for Walmart, it’ll be up to 75% off. Plan to shop both stores in order to get the best selection on costumes for next year.
If your kids like to play dress up, consider buying costumes they can play with all year long. When you can get a snow owl costume for $6.00 (regularly $20.00), an L.O.L. Surprise! costume for $9.00 (regularly $30.00) or a vampire costume for $1.22 (regularly $4.88), there’s no reason not to stock up!
13. Stock up on holiday storage solutions at Kohl’s the day after Christmas.
The day after Christmas, you can load up on everything you’ll need to put Christmas away and store it for the year.
Every year Kohl’s marks down items like gift wrap organizers, wreath and garland storage bags, and ornament organizers by 50%.
Plus there’s usually a 15% or 20% off sitewide promo code you can use, making it possible to save up to 70% on Christmas organization.
14. Shop CVS the day after a holiday for holiday candy you can repurpose.
After Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and Halloween, CVS marks all holiday candy and decor down 50%.
Since it doesn’t get another markdown, it won’t be as picked over. Plan to shop the day after the holiday for the best selection. Skip holiday-themed candy since you can get that for 70% off at Walgreens or Target.
Instead look for bags of M&M’s and other candy you can use any time of year.
15. Get Easter-themed items at Target for up to 90% off if you wait a week.
If you’re shopping for next year’s holiday, you can comfortably wait until the 90% markdown happens since the actual holiday-themed items tend to be the last to go.
At Target a week after Easter, we usually see Easter baskets, Easter grass, plastic eggs and dye kits still around at the 90% off markdown.