Best Shopping Season

afterxmas saleThis is my favorite time of the year for Christmas shopping.  I know, I know, Christmas was a few days ago, but hear me out.  This is the time of year where things are so deeply discounted that you can stock up for all of your 2018 birthdays, celebrations and yes Christmas.  Most of your stores are trying to get rid of not only their Christmas inventory but their winter inventory as well.  So why not stock up now and save money on your 2018 Christmas budget.

Stores like Bath and Body Works and the Body Shop are my favorites.  The Body Shop has a seasonal scent, cranberry that is only available during this time of the year and I stock up on this scent EVERY year.  Last year I purchased several gift sets valued at $45 for $5.  They made great gifts this year.  Also at Bath and Body the holiday scented lotions are normally marked down to less than $5 so why not stock up.  Lotions last a long time and you don’t have to worry about them getting watered down or not lasting through the year.

Also stores like Walgreens and Walmart have gift sets that are drastically reduced during this time of year.  I remember hosting an event during this time of year and being able to provide all of the participants with great gifts because of the reduced rates during this time of year.  This is a great opportunity to purchase gifts for everyone on your list.  This is also a great time to shop if you have birthdays coming early in the year, buy a great gift without breaking the bank.  I know personally my dad’s birthday is in January and I can normally find great valet sets or cologne sets for a fraction of what they normally cost.

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This is also the best time of year to stock up on hats, scarves and gloves.  Most stores have these so deeply discounted that I purchase gloves in all colors and I purchase additional sets to give to local shelters or to people in need.  For those with kids, especially kids who always lose gloves, this is the perfect time to prepare for the rest of winter as well as next winter.  You can always find great sales on these items and if you live in a cold weather area like I do, hats, scarves and gloves are a necessity.

Additionally, this time of year is great for holiday decorations.  I love to switch up the color scheme on my trees each year (even though it has been awhile since I actually put up a tree).  This is the time where stores like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby discount their ornaments and other décor sometimes as much as 90%.  I have found some amazing deals on ornaments, tree skirts, baskets, wrapping paper and gift boxes.

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Another tip.  Valentines Day is around the corner.  If you make gift bags for schools or friends or send care packages, holiday candy is holiday candy.  You can always use the chocolates and other items that go on sale right after Christmas for your Valentines day goody bags.  And since red is a popular color for both Christmas and Valentines Day you are in a position to win either way.  The key is to think outside of the box and to find items that are holiday neutral.

After my after holiday shopping is complete, I simply store all of the items in a box or tote and everything is on hand once the holiday season returns.  It is really that simple.  Shop with the people that you gift in mind and you can sit back and relax next December because your holiday shopping is complete.  The only things you may have to buy is for kids because of new toys and changing sizes.

Holidays are a great time to give and show those you care that you are thinking about them.  The truth of the matter is far too often people find themselves stressed after Christmas because those Christmas bills begin to roll in.  Why not save yourself some frustration and some money by preparing (yes a year in advance)  and get use the money you save to donate to a great cause or add to your savings or vacation fund.

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I hope these tips helped you as much as they have helped me over the years.  I used to drive myself crazy attempting to shop for everyone and often ended up spending money I didn’t have.  Once I broke the habit of trying to please everyone and focused on how to get more for my money without going broke, I learned that it was quite easy to give great gives and not go broke attempting to do so.

Be Blessed!  Be Fabulous!

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Thankful for What You Have

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Last night I blew a fuse, of course it was the fuse that powered my stove, refrigerator and microwave.  Basically, the entire kitchen.  The building that I live in is a little old and I had to wait until this morning before they could come and change the fuse.  At first I started to panic, because that is what I would normally do.  However I had to take a moment and be thankful for what I had.

While there was no power in one room of the house.  There was power in every other room of the house.  And since it was below zero outside, the loss of power did not affect my heat in any way.  Because it was below zero, I was able to put some of my items from the freezer on my balcony (the ice cream of course!) because priorities.  To make a long story short, the blown fuse in one room did not affect anything else.

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What I had to stop and remember was that I was warm.  A blessing.  I had power and lights in all of the other rooms of the house.  A blessing.  I had already eaten and it was late, so there really was nothing left to do but go to bed.  Blessed with food and a bed, double blessing.  I am also in a position to replace anything that went bad in the refrigerator or freezer.  Another blessing.

I had to think of my priorities.  In a city where I frequently see people living under the bridges and where I know people are living exposed to these deadly elements, I had to check myself about being frustrated about a blown fuse.  In this life, one thing is for sure and that is that you will have some uncertainties and things will happen both good and bad.  The key to navigating this life is being thankful for what you have.

The lesson I learned was a powerful one.  Well I would say that there are multiple lessons learned.  The first and most important one was to be thankful for what I have.  Food, shelter, health, strength, activity of my limbs.  I have a great deal to be thankful for.  I also learned to not take anything for granted.  I almost short circuited over a fuse, while it was not worth, the frustration it would have caused me.  I had to be reminded to roll with the punches and to allow the cards to fall as the may.

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I didn’t lose anything.  All of the food was spared.  Nothing spoiled or was ruined in the process.  The ice cream survived a night on the balcony.  I still have more than enough food, I have a place called home and everything is in working order.  There are times when I too, lose focus on what is really important and have to readjust my thinking to understand that I have so many things to be thankful for.

During this season of giving and during this time of perpetual hope, it is the things that we often take for granted that offer us the biggest blessings.  Let me, no let us never forget to be thankful for the things we have no matter how big or how small.  In our over commercialized society, it is the little things that matter, not the things we can buy or purchase.  The greatest gifts we can offer are normally our time and attention as opposed to something you can buy.  Remember over all to be thankful for what you have.

Be Blessed!  Be Fabulous!  Be Thankful!

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