How to Make the Most of After-Christmas Sales

After-Christmas sales can be a great time to load up on bargains – and not just on Christmas items. Here's how to make the most of those sales.

Use Coupons for More Savings

Coupons. © Flickr user Carol Pyles

Coupons for baking supplies, candy, and other holiday foods dominate the newspaper inserts in the week's leading up to Christmas, but that doesn't mean you have to use them then. Wait until things go on clearance. Then, use those coupons to get an even better deal.

Shop Ahead for Upcoming Occasions

Wrapping Paper and Ribbons
Wrapping Paper and Ribbons. © Flickr user Archie

Shopping ahead for next Christmas makes sense, but so does shopping ahead for other occasions. Use the after-Christmas sales to stock up on birthday presents, anniversary gifts, Mother's Day/Father's Day presents and end-of-the-year teacher's gifts. Some ideas to consider:

  • stocking stuffers can be used as party favors, in Easter baskets or as Valentine's gifts for the kids
  • red candy, candles, and decorations can be used for Valentine's Day
  • green candy and decorations can be used for St. Patrick’s Day
  • solid-colored gift wrap can be used year-round
  • solid-colored party supplies (plates, napkins, cups) can be used for birthdays and BBQs
  • gift sets can be repackaged (if they’re in holiday packaging) and given throughout the year

Don't Overlook Thrift Stores

Thrift Shop
Thrift Shop. © Flickr user Christopher Sessums

Thrift stores receive a lot of year-end donations from folks who are looking to grab a last-minute tax deduction, and that means there's lots of new loot for thrift store shoppers to sift through. Stop in at your local thrift store to see what they have to offer. If you're lucky, you may even find a sale!

Snatch Up Bargains on Returned Merchandise

Best Buy Open-Box Specials
Best Buy Open-Box Specials. © Erin Huffstetler

One man's Christmas return could become your next big bargain. Scour the electronics and clearance sections of stores for open-box merchandise and other returned items that can no longer be sold at full price.

Look Past the Packaging

Holiday Candy
Holiday Candy. © Flickr user Daniel Oines

Nuts, chocolate, cereal, cookies and many other foods get special packaging for the holidays – a selling point before Christmas, but not much of one after. Look for these items to get marked down quickly, and enjoy cheap eats throughout the year. Remember: it's the packaging and not the food that's expired.

Shop the Drug Stores

Shop at Drug Stores
Shop at Drug Stores. © Flickr user Mark Turnauckas

Drug stores are a great source for after-Christmas deals because they tend to receive less holiday foot traffic than big-box stores (read: more leftovers), and they generally mark down their merchandise faster.

Stock Up on Craft Supplies

Jo-Ann Fabrics
Jo-Ann Fabrics. © Flickr user Nicholas Eckhart

Do you make a lot of your own Christmas gifts? Then, use those after Christmas sales to stock up on holiday-themed ribbon, fabric and craft supplies. Bare in mind: red craft supplies can also be used for Valentine's Day and the Fourth of July, while green can be used for St. Patrick's Day.