Want to be a prepared and fabulously frugal mom this summer?
Recession Mama: I have a gift closet. Not a closet full of gifts for me (though that would be nice), but a closet full of gifts for other people. Mostly children's presents, books, and games, but also stuff that is appropriate for a housewarming, or secretaries' day. If they are organized, and you can pull them out when you need them, storing up gifts can be an amazing way to save time and money.
We've all seen fantastic deals on the Internet or at a local store that we really debated. Such a great deal, but do I need it? What will I do with it? Don't hesitate any longer -- buy it, and put it in a bin labeled something like Child (Preschool Age) Gifts or Adult Gifts.
Then, when faced with three birthday parties on an already overly scheduled weekend, you can whip out a gorgeous castle pop-up book ($24.98 retail, which I found for $6.98 at Barnes & Noble last fall, with a buy-3-get-1-free promotion), a Nerf battle blaster ($19.98 retail, $5.19 at Amazon.com after Christmas), and a Star Wars Monopoly Game ($22.98 retail, came free with the purchase of two other games). Or go to your stash of books and pull out a few. Weekly Reader does a promotion every few months for 10 hardback books for $20. The last promotion was a few dollars more and included audio CDs of the books.
If you're feeling cheap because you know how much all that stuff cost, put it in a fun gift bag (2 for 99 cents at, where else, the 99 Cent Only Store) and decorate the bag with candy. It will be a hit, guaranteed!
A former state deputy attorney general and current stay-at-home mom, Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla has three kids and ten years of experience stretching one salary to cover the necessities and more. She's all about saving money whenever you can, so you have it to spend on whatever you want!