Save time and money with the Gift Repository


This morning we were leisurely having a coffee and reading books when the reality hit me. “OH GOD BEAN, YOU HAVE TO BE AT A BIRTHDAY PARTY IN AN HOUR!” I threw some cereal on the table and then shooed the eldest off to get ready quickly so she would make the party in time. Luckily Mr. Tucker hit the shower and offered to walk her over to her friend’s house while I headed to the office and spelunked to find a gift.

I used to be one of these parents that got the invitation to a party, promptly forgot about it and then rushed out the morning of the party to buy some high-priced item at the mall. At some point though I realized that this was absolutely ridiculous and was a waste of both my time and my money. So I got organized about it.

In general, what your kid is into other kids their age are going to be into, so it’s not too hard to shop for gifts. I’ll often ask the parents what their kids are into and we get a lot of the same answers: LEGO, crafts, books. I also love those $10 movie passes for kids that you get at Costco. Stuff into a card with a dollar store glow wand and VOILA! Instant gift.

A few things I currently have on hand

I only hit Costco about once a month but when I do I make sure to nab those above-mentioned movie passes as well as any great-looking gift material under $15. Their craft sets look really great and often you can get a series of books for about $10. I always make sure to hit the discount section of discount retailers as well. I once got a Barbie summer house for $14 but have also found great My Little Pony sets for $10 as well. If I am really lucky, I will find a great deal at Scholar’s Choice, which also offers free gift wrapping.

I got this awesome night sky projection kit for $9; I bought two of them and they were wrapped for free

Generally speaking, I try to remember to check out the clearance toy section every time I hit a discount retailer. For those of you who prefer to do all their shopping online, most discount retailers offer free shipping. Just sort by price and see what they are offering in your birthday present budget range. The end of summer or after Christmas is a great time to do this. I find the in-store deals to be better, but there is still great stuff to be had online if you are too strapped for time to be seeking stuff out in-store.

Aww yeah, free wrapping

Generally speaking, this strategy has saved me a lot of time, money AND headaches. I keep everything in a bag in a cubby under my desk and I never keep so much that I don’t know what is in there. It’s been surprisingly handy – especially when we receive last-minute birthday invites – and it has probably saved me $5-$10 every birthday. I tend to also stock up more when I am working because that is when I am more strapped for time and have more disposable income. Even if you only have one or two items on-hand for emergencies, you will be ahead of the game. Try it!