Yesterday on the way home from visiting my adorable 10 day old nephew, I stopped at Aldi’s to buy some milk and bread. Aldi’s is about 30 minutes from the house, and with the price of gas already up to $3.01 here in the upstate area I decided I better stock up on a few things while I was there.
So there I was, wandering through the aisles and picking up items I need to restock my pantry, when I got to the “toys and household goods” section near the back of the store. I went a little nuts. They had 6pk boxes of matchbox cars for $2.49 (they retail for about $6), and Doodle Bears for $6.99 (they retail for about $14). Princess got a Doodle Pet from a friend for her birthday and she loves it, so I decided that it was a pretty safe bet for a little girl toy. I bought 3 Doodle Bears and 2 sets of Matchbox cars for my gift box.
My “gift box” is an actual box (hidden in a downstairs closet) but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a closet, drawer, shelf or even a garbage bag stuffed under the bed. It is simply a place to store miscellaneous “gifts” that you pick up on sale throughout the year. I try to pick up a few birthday gift type things for Princess and Buddy’s age groups. That way when they get invited to a birthday party I can go to the gift box and pull out something appropriate.
This strategy saves me many last minute trips to the store, and since the items are bought on discount it can save a considerable amount of money (especially if your kids get invited to a lot of birthday parties). My gift box also contains a few miscellaneous baby and adult gifts,such as a mini baby photo album and some yummy smelling scented candles. That way I always have a gift for an aquaintences new baby, a hostess gift or a holiday gift for someone who unexpectedly gives me something.
All is not fun and games with they gift box, there are 3 big dangers .
#1, You can forget what is in there. You need to know what you have so that you actually use it. Also you need to know what you have so that you don’t buy too many of one type of gift.
#2 You can easily overbuy. You really need to make a good estimate on how many gifts you really go through a year. About 3 years ago I bought these great little scented candles in tins from Walmart after Christmas. They really smelled great, looked cute, and were selling for pennies. However I bought way more than I have people to give them out to-I don’t do a lot of exchanging with co-workers or neighbors. I still have 4 left in the box. In situations like this I have to tell myself “Remember! It isn’t a bargain if you don’t need it.”
#3 You can feel guilty and over gift. I’ve felt it happen myself-Princess gets invited to a birthday party, I go to the gift box and pull out a My Little Pony that I bought a year ago on sale for $2. I wrap it up. Then I start to feel cheap-I only spent $2, so then you add a coloring book, a package of crayons etc, etc etc to assuage your guilt at being “cheap”. The fact of the matter is that the My Little Pony retails for $9 or so, so it is a respectable gift. Noone knows how much you spent if you don’t tell them. You should look at your gift as being worth whatever the regular retail value of the item is, not as it’s sale price.
Besides the miscellaneous gift box, I also keep a family gift box where I pick up presents for DH and the kids during the year for Christmas and Birthdays. I find that this works very well, but you have to be just as careful not to overbuy. Last year I had almost everything bought for them by the begining of December. I felt a little guilty about not shopping more, but it was so lovely not to be rushed and to just enjoy the holiday season.
What are your experiences with a gift box?