It's been a busy week. We're getting into the last month and a half of school which, for me, means crunch time with a lot of paperwork that is associated with my job. This weekend is jam packed with amazing, fun things to do. In the midst of t ball and preparing for out of town visitors and a birthday party, my daughter is also attending a birthday party for a friend. I didn't have a chance to go shopping for a gift. I'm always torn when I go shopping because I want to get something that is nice that the child will enjoy and use. But, buying birthday presents for the birthday parties of the year can add up! This morning, instead of heading out to the store I went into our loft and we went "shopping" in our gift box. No checkout lines! :)
About a year ago I was at the Green Valley Bookfair. This is a large warehouse like building surrounded by farm land that is open for a series of weeks a few times a year. They have books, novelty gift items, games, puzzles, etc...all at steeply discounted prices. As I was walking around, some really cool children's games caught my eye. Then, I had an idea. What if I shopped for gifts when I found them on sale? What if I had a plastic bin or a space in a closet that housed these gifts? What if when there was a birthday party I could let my children "shop" for their friend at home? Each gift is still selected especially for the person it is being given to, it is just selected from a store of items that we have especially for this purpose at home instead of an actual store.
It has been amazing! I now pick things up that are on sale that I know people in our lives are interested in and I put them in our gift box. This isn't fail proof, there are times that we'd like to give someone a gift and there isn't something in our box that is right for them. Then, we go shopping. Since I have an idea of what is in our box, I'm able to plan for this when they pop up (which is rare). I used to spend about $20 on gifts when we went to a friend's birthday party. I'm now able to give equivalent gifts for $5-10.
It feels great to have found a way to be smarter with our money without changing the types of gifts we give. Try it out! Don't live near a place like the Green Valley Bookfair? Target, Kohls, and Kroger are other stores that I like to check out for our gift box. They have clearance sections and items where you can find some great deals!