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The Coupon Lady: Finding time to save during a busy holiday

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December will have many opportunities for giving, fun and deals.

So, let’s grab a mug of cocoa, light that fireplace and play the Christmas music – and start clipping those coupons.

My family has several favorite Christmas traditions that we look forward to. We recently kicked off the season by turning in our Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes to a Samaritan’s Purse collection station at Warren Baptist Church. Since I paid for the $7 shipping cost for each box online, my children are waiting for the e-mail telling them where our boxes will be sent. We had a great time filling the boxes with small toys, flashlights, personal care items and candy. My family is also collecting our change for our other favorite giving project. We save our change in a Christmas jar for several months and then donate it to a family in need.

In addition to our giving traditions, we will make our traditional visit to Lights of the South near Grovetown. We started going there when my son was a toddler, and we have continued the tradition every year.

Bargain hunters can find several Lights of the South coupon offers. My husband received one this week from a nearby McDonald’s. Last year, The Augusta Chronicle’s Daily Deals offered a discounted family ticket package, so keep a lookout for advertisements among local coupon sources.

Sales this month center around Christmas, including deals on Christmas décor, wrapping paper, tape, bows, ribbon and greeting cards. Clearance items this month include fall- or Thanksgiving-themed items and some wedding supplies.

After Christmas Day, one of my favorite clearance deals can be found at Target and Walmart. Christmas bath toy sets will be marked down 50 percent to 75 percent starting Dec. 26. This is a wonderful opportunity for parents with young children. I highly encourage parents and grandparents to purchase several of these sets and put them away for their children or grandchildren throughout the year. We find new toothbrush sets, bath crayons and paints and plenty of bathroom toys.

According to All You magazine, December is the best month to buy toys, electronics and new cars. In addition, December is the month when the lowest prices can be found on used cars and RVs, tools and lawn mowers, trees and shrubs, carpeting and flooring, cookware, sneakers, wedding dresses, wine and toys.

December’s grocery deals will focus mainly on party meals and Christmas dinner foods. Pre-made platters, paper plates, napkins, breads and rolls, crackers, chips, dips, sliced meats, whole hams, chicken broth, cream-style soups, fried onions, green beans, potatoes (boxed and fresh), stuffing mix, gravy, frozen pies, eggnog and soda will have good stock-up prices this month.

Now is the time to stock up on baking supplies such as flour, sugar, cake mixes, brownie mixes and muffin mixes, pie fillings, pie crusts and marshmallows. There will also be specials this month on butter, heavy cream and sour cream, on cheeses and whipped cream.

Produce in season are winter greens such as Bok Choy, kale, spinach and turnips. Other seasonal produce includes: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage (red, Savoy and Napa varieties), Haas avocados, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yams, rutabagas, winter squash, parsley and wild mushrooms, dates, pears (anjou, bosc and fuertes varieties), kumquats, lemons, kiwi, mandarin oranges, grapefruit, navel oranges, quince, red currants and cranberries. Nuts in season include pecans, walnuts and chestnuts.

My family will see many changes in the New Year. My husband will be leaving in January to work overseas for a year, so we will spend time preparing him for his move and being together as much as possible before he leaves.

For health reasons, my father will be moving in with us shortly after Christmas. With all the preparation for my husband leaving and turning our master bedroom into an apartment for my father, I have a strong feeling this month is going to pass in a blurry haze.


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