I love holidays. Who doesn’t, right? But you wanna know a secret? The after-holiday shopping may even thrill me more than the actual holiday. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. I think it’s because I’m always on the hunt for a bargain. I think I might actually be allergic to paying full price for anything. It makes me itchy.

And since we’ve just passed Halloween, you bet I’ve been scouring the shelves for scary good deals. Here are a few I’ve found and my guide to not going off the rails. Because I have. Many times.

#1- Know Where To Shop

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’ve probably noticed I reference Walmart and Target a lot. I’m pretty loyal to them for their consistently good prices and quality. But they’re also very different.

Walmart is where I go to get basic items. For example, here are some things I snagged at Walmart’s after Halloween clearance sale today. The skeletons were just under $5 each, the bags of spider webs were under $1 each, the strings of ghost lights were $2.44 a pack and I grabbed some pumpkin garland and a few bowls for around $1 each.

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At Target I know I will always find items that look a little more high-end. That’s where I got these great fabric wrapped pumpkins. The large one was $5 and the small was $3.

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They had a great selection of painted and sequin pumpkins too. But if I’m going to have painted pumpkins next year, I’d rather also have the fun of making them myself.

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#2- Don’t Buy Everything

I speak from experience. After-holiday shopping can turn into a sort of feeding frenzy. There is so much to choose from at such low prices and the aisles are packed with bargain hunters. In the past I’ve swept through each aisle grabbing up everything that looked cute in giddy abandon. But the next time that holiday came around, I pulled all the stuff back out and wondered where in the world I would put it all. And BTW, why did I think I needed 10 tablecloths? I mean, I only have two tables for crying out loud!

I’ve learned to dial it back a bit and choose items that A- I love, B- I would have bought even if they were full price, and C- I could visualize a place for them in my home.

For example, after-holiday shopping is great for buying party supplies like holiday themed plates, napkins and cups. I used to have a Christmas party every year, so I would always stock up on this stuff the year before when it’s super cheap.

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3- Buy Things That Will Make A Big Impact

In the previously mentioned years of after-holiday hoarding, I often picked up small things that I thought were cute. But when I pulled them out the next year to decorate I was underwhelmed at what the previous year’s money had been spent on. Now I take this money saving opportunity to get large pieces that will have a big impact. And usually, they’re items that I’d been coveting before the holiday but held out for a better price.

For example, this pack of tombstones ($7.50) and skeletons ($4.98 each) from Walmart will surely get noticed next year. As will the strings of ghost lights ($2.44 each, also from Walmart) and felt garland in cat, spider web and pumpkin shapes ($0.50 each from Target).

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#4- Don’t Overlook Opportunities To Get Something That’s Useful Now

There are a few rare cases when you can snag something for a wicked good price that doesn’t go into storage, but gets used right away.

For example, my daughter is really into the chapter book series about fairies and has been asking for weeks to dress up as a fairy. So I was thrilled about the chance to snag this pair of fairy wings for $2.50 and colorful mask for $0.99 in Walmart’s costume clearance. She can use these now and year ’round for dress-up.

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And these cute pumpkins at Target ($5 each for the large size) could easily be used for Thanksgiving decor.

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#5- Store Stuff Well

Now that you’ve made an awesome haul of great after-holiday bargains, store it well to avoid A- Forgetting that you even have it, B- Misplacing it or C- Pulling it out to find it damaged. I like to store mine in large Tupperware style containers. Most stores anticipate this need and have the containers for sale right there in the holiday section.

These are the things I’ve learned along the way (the hard way). Hope they help.

Happy bargain hunting!

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