In your household, are those words sung with hearts full of glee or said with a panic as though the sky is falling? Using coupons and watching sales effectively this month will keep even the toughest Scrooge happy.
In my household, December is busy. We traditionally visit with our Alabama families before or after Christmas, so we can be at our home in time for Santa’s arrival. My husband and I will celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary the week before Christmas, which usually is spent in preparations for trips, events and parties.
This month means different things to different people. This month marks the official beginning of winter and is host to Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa and New Years Eve.
One of my favorite things to do this month is to drive past Trinity Hospital once a week and point out the Three Wise Men to my children. As the month progresses, they will move across the campus to the manger scene set up on the opposite side of the lawn. On Christmas morning, Baby Jesus is added to the scene. It’s a lovely setup and one not to be missed. We also enjoy seeing some of the wonderful Church activities and live nativities and events such as Lights of the South in Grovetown.
Our family also reflects on being thankful for our many blessings. We just completed one of our holiday giving projects, which was for Operation Christmas Child. My couponing came in very handy as we added free toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps and inexpensive toys, candy and many other items into our boxes. We delivered our shoeboxes to a local drop-off point and will anxiously wait for an e-mail telling us where our box was delivered. It is a wonderful way to get the holiday season started.
With all the winter activities, gift giving and baking, it’s nice to know that coupons and sales will help keep the food budget down this month. This month’s 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 soups, fried onions, green beans, potatoes (boxed and fresh), stuffing mix, gravy, frozen pies, egg nog and soda will have good stock-up prices this month. This month is also a great opportunity to stock up on baking supplies such as flour, sugar, cake mixes, brownie mixes, muffin mixes, pie fillings, pie crusts and marshmallows. Dairy items such as butter, heavy cream and sour cream, cheeses and whipped cream will also be on sale.
Nonfood items on sale this month include Christmas décor, wrapping paper, tape, bows, ribbon and greeting cards. Clearance items this month include autumn or Thanksgiving themed items and some wedding supplies. On Dec. 26, one of my favorite clearance deals will begin. Christmas bath toy sets will start to be marked down 50-75 percent. This is a wonderful opportunity for parents with young children. I will grab several of these sets and put away for my children throughout the year. It gives us new toothbrush sets, bath crayons, and paints and plenty of bathroom toys for the entire year.
Big savings can be found in several big-ticket items. December is typically when the lowest prices can be found on new and used cars and RVs, tools and lawn mowers, trees and shrubs, carpeting and flooring, cookware, sneakers, wedding dresses, wine and toys.
Produce in season this month includes 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. Fruits in season include 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.
So, grab some hot cocoa, turn on some Christmas music and get to clipping those coupons! Until next time, happy shopping!