It is that time of year, the day after Christmas – when the end-of-the-year and After Christmas Clearances start! This is a great time of year to maximize your budget to grab some great deals! But not everything is a great deal and so we are providing you the schedule, best things to buy and the tips to maximize your savings over the next few weeks!
First, each store will be a little different, but as a general rule for stores across the board, here’s the schedule of markdowns that will occur nationwide from national to local stores.
- December 26th – December 31st: Most national (and some local) stores will offer a 50% off Christmas clearance. This will be mostly on seasonal items, but sometimes everyday/gift ideas as well!
- January 1st, 2012 – January 7th, 2013: Most national stores will start markdowns at 75% off.
- Starting January 8th, 2012 and until gone: Most national stores will start markdowns at 90% off.
Now obviously – the earlier in the markdowns that you shop, the better selection you will get! Personally, we find that the second week after Christmas where items are 75% off is a perfect time for us as it is a nice discount and the selection is still decent!
We also wanted to note that most local and small businesses and stores in your area will start with a smaller markdown and slowly move up each week. We often see them start at 25% off and move by 5% or 10% increments from there.
Here’s a list of the BEST things to get during the end-of-the-year and after Christmas clearances:
- This is the BEST time to get your Christmas decorations, lights and more, essentially anything at all that is Christmas themed. We generally don’t buy any Christmas decorations before, but wait until these time periods! Then next year it is like Christmas twice when we also pull out the new stuff at the beginning of the season!
- This is also a great time for cold-weather accessories and wear for the whole family as you are still in the heart of the winter season – but we often find this a great time to grab winter wear for our family! In fact, we weren’t sure if we were going to have a White Christmas. But we just barely did with a beautiful snow fall on Christmas Eve. The snow is now still coming and our kids are dying to finally enjoy their annual snow play. But now we will most likely have a great amount of snow from now until March and the snow wear is going to be very cheap now.
- This is also a FANTASTIC time to buy the gift sets that range for foodie options to personal care. Even if you do not still have someone on your list this year, most of it will last until next year. This is also even a good way to buy personal care for yourself as it is the same products sold on the shelf individually, but you can get them for much cheaper when they are in the gift sets. Also, we told you about these super printable coupons for the gift sets to make for great deals before Christmas. They do not expire until 12/31/12. BUT just like we predicted, they were no longer available to print after Christmas. So hopefully you were able to print them and now you can really maximize the after Christmas sales for your own personal care or gifts for remaining get togethers this year, birthdays or even for next year’s gift for someone.
- Christmas Candy! Just like the first point, we will add this as an additional item because Christmas candy will be going very cheap! Now I am not focusing too much on this as I don’t want anymore to enter my home mostly for Alex and me to not have to fight temptation, but it is a good time for this too 🙂 Plus, just like some of the personal care gift sets, we posted about a number of Christmas candy coupons a few times this month. Most of them expire on 12/31/12, which means that if you printed them while they were available, you can snag even better deals now. But again, these coupons are no longer available to print, so it would only be for those that printed them already.
- Finally and separate from the Foodie Gift Sets, are the themed holiday and Christmas foods like crackers, cereals, cake mixes, cookie mixes, holiday packaged pastas, etc. Many brands make special holiday packages or shapes for the holiday season, but it is the same exact food from that company as normal. The best news, you can use coupons with those prices on those foods too. So this can be a nice way to pick up grocery items for even less to fill-up your pantry. Be sure to use our coupon database HERE to find coupons to combine with those items. The most popular brands that make special holiday packages to find coupons for are:
- General Mills, Kellogg’s and Post cereals
- Yoplait and Dannon yogurt
- Pillsbury products (especially the cookies mixes and premade)
- Kraft Mac and Cheese and other type Kraft products
- Kellogg’s and General Mills fruit snacks
- Pepperidge Farms cookies and goldfish
- Keebler and Nabisco crackers (especially Club and Ritz as they commonly have holiday themed boxes)
- There is probably a lot more, but those are the foods and brands that come to mind that commonly make holiday/Christmas themed foods each year that go on clearance after Christmas.
Here are a few tips for after-Christmas shopping:
- Most of the deals are also offered online at each store’s websites for non-food items.
- Also, note the return policy because you might find the same items at another store even cheaper during this time, or you may get the item home and realize that you do not want/need that item. So to avoid buyer’s remorse, then know the return policy as they are varied for different retailers when it comes to their end of the year/after Christmas markdowns.
- KEEP all receipts somewhere together (tape them to the box where you store it) to easily locate them in case you do decide to return the items. In most cases, you will be able to return your markdown items, but if you do not have a receipt, they will only honor the lowest marked price that this item has been. If you do not have the receipt this is a big hit to your budget when you return something. Also, without a receipt, not only will you get the lowest price it has been, but you will most likely only receive store credit, which may also put a damper on your budget and shopping.
- If you are returning items, it is is just a different size or color of the exact same item, then you should be able to safely make a straight across exchange without losing the value of the item and potentially no receipt needed. This option does vary greatly in terms of the policies at each store, but it is generally a safer return as you will not lose the value that was paid for the item.
- If you are retail shopping, use your gift cards and maximize them with retail coupons. To help you find coupons that are good right now, here’s a round-up of retail coupons that you can take with you to maximize your markdown savings (thanks to YourRetailHelperfor putting this together:
- Carter’s – Facebook Exclusive 15% – 20% off purchase Exp 12/26
- Goody’s – Various Coupons
- Hobby Lobby – 40% off regular priced item Exp 12/29
- Kohl’s – 20% off purchase Exp 12/29
- New York & Co – 10% – 20% off purchase Exp 12/26
- Office Depot – 25% off Photo Books, Calendars & More Exp 12/29
- Old Navy – Facebook Exclusive – $10 off $50 Exp 1/2
- Target – Various Coupons
- Ulta – $3.50 off $10 Exp 12/29
Finally, go in with a plan so that you do not overspend. Please do not go into debt to grab the deals as ultimately this is not a deal if you end up doing this. Between the interest you pay, the affect on your credit and the emotional taxing down the road that you will experience is not worth the discount!
Have fun out there!
Photo credit: LowesCreativeIdeas