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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, December 26, 2018 1:00 am

You may want to reconsider buying after-Christmas "advance" gifts

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Most years, when planning end-of-year expenses, I've not only had a Christmas shopping budget, but also an "After Christmas" shopping budget.

I try to finish my holiday shopping by the second weekend of December, but am still drawn to the stores by coupons or just browsing - amazed partly at all the variety that stores offer in the last quarter of the year. But I often use more restraint the final two weeks before Christmas, knowing that retailers will offer even deeper discounts starting Dec. 26.

Thanks to a tip from a friend, I even learned years ago to buy some really nice Christmas cards from Walgreens at 50 percent off after the holiday.

Part of my After Christmas budget goes toward candles, which I love. But there have been plenty of times when I have purchased items, thinking they will be a nice gift for a particular individual or someone when the next Christmas rolls around.

And so ... after a few years, I had a closet at home with quite a stash of "advance" gifts. The problem is that when the next year's shopping season starts, I typically find other gifts - on sale - that would be perfect for some of the same individuals I had in mind when I made end-of-season purchases.

Even if sale items are 75 to 80 percent off, I'm learning the value of slowing down my purchases of "some day for someone" kinds of gifts.

Stores will always have some kind of sale. And there will always be another perfect gift to be found.

This year, I was able to gift several end-of-season purchases and simply donated many items to a Treasure Chest fundraiser a ministry at my church held in July.

Still, I'm sure I'll stop in a few of my favorite stores this week, and probably over the next couple of weeks. Some pretty good buys can be found even through the end of January. But unless I am buying something for myself, I am going to try to use more restraint this season.

I think it might help that this year, for the first time in a long time, I didn't establish an "After Christmas" budget.