This post brought to you by Dollar General. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you frequent dollar stores (and we know you do), you know that they have deals on all kinds of different stuff. I don’t know about you, but I am on a serious budget this year, which means I will be looking for those deals as I shop and craft my way through my Christmas gift list!
In addition to gifts destined for under the tree, there are the stockings to consider. What is your top money-saving tip for filling stockings? I like to stretch my stocking-stuffing dollar farther by giving useful things that I know the recipient will actually use. Don’t get me wrong, I love just-for-fun gifts too, but I feel like my money is better spent on practical gifts than on random odds and ends that are destined to collect dust.
I had a chance to go shopping at Dollar General with a mission to stuff a few stockings on a $25 budget. I managed to fill stockings for my whole household: My husband, myself, and our two cats. Check out the video to see my shopping in action, and to see how I made a couple of crafty alterations to some of my purchases!
- 3 stockings, $5.50
- Word search book, $3.00
- Amazing Goop glue, $2.85
- Socks, $1.00
- 2 plastic tumblers, $5.00
- 2 packages chocolate truffles, $2.00
- 2 packages catnip mice, $3.00
- Laser pet toy, $3.00
- Catnip, $1.95
- 2 cans cat food, $1.20
Okay, so I ended up going a teeny-tiny bit over-budget, but I found a lot of good stuff and didn’t want to put any of it back! The stocking for my cats was somewhat of a splurge at $3.50, and putting it back would have put me right at $25 on the button. But once I saw it… I had to have it! Plus, if you already have stockings on hand that you use every year, you can strike those off your shopping list in the first place. So really, the contents of my stockings cost a mere $23!
Win a $25 Gift Card to Dollar General! Do you want to fill a stocking too? One lucky reader will win a $25 gift card to Dollar General for their own holiday shopping spree. To enter, answer this question: What is your top money-saving tip for filling stockings?
Giveaway open to United States residents only, 18 and older. Ends on Thursday, December 8th, 2011 at 11:59 PM. Full rules here.
Congratulations to our winner:
My top money saving tip for filling a stocking is …..
1 batteries for any toys the kids got as gifts that will need batteries
2 I type or hand-make a letter from santa
3 leftover halloween candy (its still good and kids are always thrilled with candy and we always have bags leftover)
4 items I already have to buy shampoo/bath soap (buy fun characters) new toothbrush,fun socks and etc.
connie brigitte bardot curcuru
Look for big sales, or go to any dollar store, look for items with more than one in package and split for 2 people or more.
Use more *large* inexpensive items (to take up more space in filling up the stocking), like the word search book and tumblers you selected. :)
Don’t wait until the last minute to buy your stocking stuffers. Buy them as you see bargains for things that would make good stuffers. I tend to agree with a recent Life as Mom post about buying consumables for stuffers also. I sometimes have included things I thought were ‘cute’, but really they were a waste of money when they ended up being thrown away later.
Have a Stocking Stuffing Party. Get together with fellow Moms/Family. Everyone brings 1 bag of something like: candies, socks, cars, stickers, play make-up etc… Everyone shares with each other. Dollar General is perfect for this type of thing!
I shop after Christmas the year before when Christmas items are 75% off. Last year, I found adorable beanie babies and fun little games. I’m amazed I didn’t lose them for this year!!
Creative and Curious Kids!
I have to agree with what others have said. I look for little goodies all year round! I do have one place to put them in the house so I don’t forget and lose them. My other favorite stocking stuffers are local craft fairs. I have gotten nice jewelry, small soaps and so on for a good price.
I try to make sure that the stocking is filled with things that can be used in December before Christmas (not that that’s a money saving tip, more of a preference)… but with that said I do try to gather things early so that I am not buying last minute… I tend to overspend when close to a deadline.
I find things all year, but mainly at the dollar stores.
I shop after christmas and all year long.. I will even find fun things at yard sales and thrift stores.. Homemade items can be show stoppers and can also be very inexpensive to make. Gift cards are also a great item for stockings, such at those for the Dollar Store and McDonalds.. A little goes a long way and they can be wrapped in creative ways.
My top money saving trick is to buy packs of things. Like at the dollar store they have crayons, then they have packs of crayons. I have 5 kids to stuff stockings for so I always look for the packs of things to split between them.
I watch sales and combine coupons.
I love putting pieces of fresh fruit in stockings — oranges, pears, apples, etc. It reminds me of Little House on the Prairie – where getting pieces of fruit out of season was one of the best gifts ever.
candy is always a big hit and inexpensive!
I think one of the best ways to save money on stocking stuffers is to make a budget for them. It’s easy to stray from the gift giving budget when you find cute little things you just can’t put back on the shelf. :) So, have a separate budget for stockings. (Or item limit, if you’re dollar shopping!)
Pam in Missouri
A great big orange and a handful of nuts in the shell fill up a lot of space. Now is the time of year to replenish art supplies that are worn out. Buy extra at super cheap back-to-school prices and set some back for Christmas stockings.
Halloween is not so far from Christmas. The after holiday candy sales are great for stocking stuffers, especially to pick up family favorites.
I try to pick up things several months beforehand, and the stockings are predominantly items they will need. So while every stocking will have a tangerine in it (a must), the rest of the goodies will be toothpaste, razors, floss, ponytail holders, etc. Buying in bulk helps. At their ages, the girls are happy to have at least one less thing on their grocery lists- they look forward to the stockings!
Try Party City. Party supply stores tend to have tons of cute items that make great stocking stuffers as well as party favors. The prices tend to be good. Also don’t forget the party aisle in most discount stores, Target’s has been especially useful for me along with their usual dollar area.
My best tip is to shop clearance year round. Shopping the clearance section & adding coupons will really save. I’d love to win the gift card!
I like to get toiletries and candy for stockings! My mom always did this and my brother and I ate our candy on xmas morning then had new soaps, lip balms, socks etc. to use when we got ready to go out for the day to visit family. I really like the reusable cups that you bought too.
I use freebie samples that I get throughout the year to add some bulk to the stockings, things like soaps, travel deodorants, etc.
My tip is to set a budget and stick to it. My husband and I set a strict dollar amount and then fill each others stockings with whatever we can buy for that amount.
My big money saving idea for filling stockings is ALWAYS be on the look out for inexpensive items for stockings. Whenever I find something on super clearance at one of the stores that I frequent that I KNOW someone in my family will love, I buy it. Plus after holiday sales can turn up lots of cute items in the right “colors” if you pay attention.
Thanks for the giveaway!
My top money-saving tip for filling my kids’ stocking is, that no one item costs over $1 each!
I put fruit in the stockings. Always one apple, one orange and one banana. Takes up alot of room and is healthy.
Definitely the dollar store! But I also shop the Christmas baskets at Walmart.
Nessa The Procrastinator
I don’t buy “stocking stuffers”. Because it’s just my husband and myself, I fill our stockings with the small gifts we were already going to give one another. For example: My husband wants a few new CDs and DVDs, a couple sockets and work socks. Instead of wrapping a bazillion small items (waste o’ paper and my time), I just stick them in the stocking from Santa. I usually just stuff the toe of the stocking with wrapping paper scraps to make it seem fuller. I also never waste money buying big bags of individual candies. I just buy us a bar of candy we really like. We don’t need a ton of candy. We’re jolly enough as it is! :)
I like Target’s cheap section. The stuff there is either $1 or $2.50, and it gets rotated out on a pretty regular basis, so if you start looking a couple months beforehand, you can find plenty of good stuff. :)
I fill the stockings with things I have picked up on clearance year round, usually from the Dollar Spot at Target. Or I use coupons to get things like new toothbrushes or body washes for free (or close to it!)
Boxes of movie theater candy for 1.00 and practical item
I always try to make fun toys for my kids or other things that are useful….of course, I have to include candy and gum, too!
My family saves sample and trial sizes for a month or two before Christmas and adds those. My mom would always get us consumables – lotion, shaving cream, body wash, Axe.
My fiance and I don’t really do stocking stuffers, but we definitely have Dollar General stockings! I personalized ours (and our dogs’ of course) by ironing on our names.
Go to the dollar and travel bins first.
I get small things the kids need, like toiletries
I like to fill our stockings with useful things like toothbrushes, fun socks, pencils and notebooks
I haven’t done my stocking shopping yet this year but for kiddo in my life (she’s only two so she’s easily pleased still), the dollar tree has a large array of books, coloring books, and crayons as well as glitter, water colors, ect crafting supplies that I’ll probably fill her stocking with. Also, I’m debating on getting her those wash clothes that come in a block and opens up when you put it in water. I loved those as a child and can’t wait to introduce them to my little one! She’s getting a pair or two of these fluffy socks I think she’ll enjoy too.
fill your stocking with things tht are useful. candy just causes cavities. which can be an expensive dental bill. fill with pencils, pens, crafts and giftcards.
I try to buy multi-packs of things. I have 5 kids. So, lets say a store has 3 pair of gloves for $2. Three of them are getting gloves! lol Alot of stores also have the 4 or 5 packs of the little holiday decorated tumblers..SCORE…one for each of them! Anyway, you get the point. Buy multi-packs and divide em up!
For my husbands stocking, I always buy an Axe gift set, open it, and put the pieces in his stocking. It is much cheaper than buying them separately unless you find a really good deal. I always put a body puff in the toe of stockings. They take up a lot of room and are always needed in my house.
First tip don’t get too big of a stocking. I collect little stuff all year when it’s on sale/clearance. Then I top it off with candy
I like doing a few larger things. (To take up more space.) As the kids are getting older the items are getting more practical too.
Purchase items after Christmas when they are on clearance.
lela l. m.
Top money saving tip – shop smart & throughout the year. Always be on the lookout for items that would work in the stocking. Be creative!
I buy things for stockings all year as I see them. I still give my grown daughters their stockings as well as the grand children and grand pups.
Candy is always a hit, and a good way of fulling up the stockings, but I like getting things like lip balms, nail polish or other small makeup items.
If I have to fill more than one stocking I try to save money by buying packs of erasers or pencils and then split them up into each stocking. My daughter also LOVES the 25 cent machine toys. And I save alot of money there too.
My top money saving gift for stockings is to stuff any of his small toys that I already planned on buying him for Christmas. I don’t usually buy just “stocking stuffers”. If it fits, it goes in the stocking instead of under the tree. I usually buy 1 or 2 packs of candy for the stocking as well, at less than $1 a bag!
Start early! That way you can get the same things but when they go on sale, rather than at the last minute for full price. I put in useful but fun stuff such as character toothbrushes, favorite flavors of chapstick, fun bath products, whatever the recipient might use (four kids 5-15, both genders, hubby and cat). Also a much loved chocolate bar. This year I am definitely adding fruit to tide the early risers over till breakfast eggs!
I have a box where I put things I collect all year for stocking stuffers. They can also be pulled out when the kids are sick or just need a little cheering up :D I have friends and relatives who spend hundreds of dollars every year filling their kids’ stockings, going over budget without fail. I RARELY spend more than $10 for all three stockings because I fill them up with what I already have and then only add things that I see while shopping and have to have :P
Some things that always seem to end up in our stockings:
1. Toothbrushes (Usually a cheap character brush, but last year my kids I bought spin brushes. They LOVED them, and they’re great for speech & sensory therapy! (all three of mine are on the autism spectrum, so gifts that do double duty are common :P) I had found them on clearance at my local riteaid, then used coupons. I spent >$1 each)
2. Socks–usually character or Christmas socks, and usually one of the items from the $10 budget :P
3. Batteries for their other gifts.
4. Bathtub crayons or markers. My kids love both art and bath time, and this way it’s no (ok, very little) mess. Last year I found them on clearance in June :P
5. Little people, often loose ones that I’ve picked up second hand and sterilized. My ‘most severe’ autistic son loves these, so we can never have too many.
6. Small toys or action figures, often also picked up second hand.
7. Mittens, hats, scarves.
8. At least one small wrapped gift. Watches are common, and if you look on ebay you can often buy kids watches for around $1 including shipping.
I shop the after Christmas sales for the next year. I start about a month or two early and look for deals. It never hurts to shop the after halloween sales for candy. This year I froze some of our leftover candy and made cute Christmas tags to cover up the wrapping. I also love to look at the drugstores for some amazing deals. I coupon so I can get toothbrushes and such for practically free.
I try to pick up things that can do double duty for possibly two or more people. Like buying 2 packs of chapstick to split up, or those boxes of instant coffee packets I can split up between three or more peoples stocking for one or two cups for each person. I also thrift shop alot and always try to put a new xmas ornament each year in the stocking toe. I tend to shop starting at the end of August for stocking stuff. I look at clearance only and dollar store finds along with thrifting, in my house they items can only be $3 and under for each stocking stuffer (but sometimes my boyfriend cheats!). I find that even some places like Deal Extreme and Meritline have good cheap little do dads for stockings, they take longer to ship (about 2 weeks) but worth it if you’re really on a budget! The stocking is my favorite part of the whole Christmas morning because it really does require lots of thought and I always love the small gifts, even when I was a kid.
I try to stuff their stockings with halloween candy since we have a lot left over this time of year. Just decorate it into Christmas. Plus I try to recycle little toys for their dolls like make belief doll or sew little pillows for them as Christmas theme. My girls love it!
Heather dela Cruz
I try and shop for little items all year long. That way I don’t go on a stress-induced buying spree right before Christmas and I tend to put a little more thought into it!
I add several small handmade items to my kids stockings
I have a son in the Army in Kabul Afgh. I was in your store yesterday and picked up all kinds of goodies.
disposable cleaning wipes ( Clorox)
handy wipes for hands
a plastic box that had Penguins on it,I filled it with lose candy.
a round tin with a cookie in it.
just part of his x-mas gift, ( hard to buy for)
oh Yes a calling card.
Your store saves me mega $$$
You have to get things all year, otherwise you end up with an expensive stocking full of junk the kids don’t want.
This year’s stockings will include craft things from the dollar area at Target, body spray, shower gel, lip balm, wacky shoelaces, a few pieces of candy, but also some fruit like an apple or orange.
I also buy little things all year round. PlayDoh, when it goes on sale after Halloween is a good stocking-stuffer. I also like to add a larger-sized gift to take up a bit of space. Small items are fun but the stocking can look a bit limp if there are only a few.
My mom used to wrap every item in the stocking. Individual pencils would be wrapped!
My father always gave us fruit, candy and nuts in our stockings as did I when my children were younger. This year I will revisit that, and include a favorite for each child. For instance My daughter loves socks and they are inexpensive, my husband loves chocolate turtles and my son has lots of hair and ALWAYS breaks his comb so a nice durable comb. And to top it off this year I will write a special letter to each one of my children and include it in the stocking.
Shop for stocking stuffers year round.
It’s just me and my boyfriend so I only make stocking for my younger siblings and cousins. (All under the age of 11) I like to buy small stocking for them or make lines stockings out of old or cheap T shirts that have characters they like on them.
I save small things I pick up all year around for stockings. I like to especially stock up on school supplies when they go on sale in the beginning of the school year. I like that they will actually use what I gave them! I also include candy and a small nonsense toy like a slinky, car, playdoh, juggling balls for something fun to do.
Stuff I think would be a good idea :
use samples gotten over the year that are of interest to the person
look over things at the dollar store
put in fruit
multi packs because the cost per ounce is better
(littleangel_mw at yahoo dot com)
I like to include small versions of things the person uses on a regular basis, like shampoo, soap or shaving cream. You can usually get travel sizes for REALLY cheap. And they may be inspired to take you on a road trip!
Also, the drug store clearance section is great. They almost always have things I find uses for. That’s usually the first place I look for things I need.
Make things! Crafts are the BEST and people appreciate handmade gifts. Jewelry, embellished photo frames, key chains, sweet treats & personalized coffee mugs are all SO EASY and enjoyed by all!
I always include basic toiletries that we’re going to be buying anyway…(new toothbrushes, toothpaste, brush, etc). It saves money and they fit in the stockings perfectly!
My stocking stuffer fillers consist of useful items and a few fun items. I usually put sock in there, a candy cane, and a pez (they collect pez dispensers). Then I add some educational- ABC cards, number cards, a early reader book, and something related to Jesus (a DVD or devotional)
Charlotte (Shay) Brewer
These are the items I almost always put in the stockings for my 3 small people…
2. Slippers (we get a new pair every year at least until their feet stop growing)
3. Their favorite candy king sized (skittles for my boy, a hershey’s bar for my girl and for the littlest he loves gummy bears)
4. Almost always darts for the nerf guns and a new journal for teh girl.
Big usable items instead of little dollar trinkets!
Momma to 3
When I was a kid, my stocking always had an orange and brazil nuts in the shell and peppermint sticks. We would roll the orange around (still unpeeled) to squish out all the juice, cut a hold in the belly button, and put the peppermint stick in there to suck out the juice. You need teh softer peppermint, not the rock hard canes. So that fills up much of the stocking and has the added bonus of entertaining the kiddies as they squish, suck up the juice and then spend hours cracking open the brazil nuts. My son still gets these in his stocking … at 36!
I buy for stockings throughout the year, any time I see something either useful and cheap or fun and cheap, and put it away until December. If it doesn’t get used in the stocking, there are plenty of other holidays/birthdays/random celebrations to bring it out for.
I would have to say, thrift stores are my new best friend. It’s amazing the cool stuff you can find for lovers of antiques or “fun and funky” type things. I also think buying things throughout the year is a great way to keep the cost down — I love the idea of a previous poster to have a “cheering up” box for stocking stuffers and “just because” gifts!
Thank you for the giveaway!
I love eyeslipsface.com $1 lip glosses for my girls and stickers are a fav. I can always find those at low prices, and a paperback book on amazon.com
I like to look for practical things my kids (who are now adults) will be using anyway… batteries, flavored coffees, salt & pepper shakers, small tools, etc. I try to shop for stocking stuffers all year, especially right after the holiday when everything is on clearance. A central place to hide the stash is essential or I will totally forget where I’ve hidden things!
Michelle in Htown
I have kids of both genders, all in college now. The trick for me it to go to Target and hit the food and personal grooming. All the guys appreciate some Axe body wash (usually too expensive for their budgets) and extra razors. The girls get bath puffs, body wash and make up brushes and the like. Then, it’s to the food area. Beef jerky is a traditional (I don’t recall why) favorite and gets eaten while opening gifts Christmas morning! Trail mix, candy bars and gum round out the items. Small stuff, all, but the fun mainly is in the opening!
this is a big one for me…mainly because i remember it so well from when i was a kid. an apple and an orange in the bottom.
The trial-size isles at Target/walgreens/grocery stores are GREAT for finding fun stuff. They don’t just have toothpaste and tampons, there are fun things like beauty implements, cute tissue packs, first aid kits, sewing kits, little snacks, and more! Perfect for older, hard-to-shop-for teens. Add some candy, an i-tunes giftcard and they’re happy.
I shop all year and buy little items (1 a month)I see my family memebers use or hear them say they wish they had~I also try to watch sale ads to save $$$. By December you have 11-12 items for each stocking!!
I shop for stocking stuffers all year round, looking for fun and unusual items under $3. But I also purchase “normal usable items” like toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, q-tips, etc. as well as desk items used all year long, like paper clips, staples, index cards, bill paying envelopes. But the favorite stuffer for everyone to receive is a scratch-off lottery ticket…lots of anticipation and fun for only $1…plus sometimes the recipient makes a profit!!
I usually go with food in stockings: candy, fruit. Things like hair elastics and combs are easy and cheap, too!
clementine oranges are always fun in a stocking!
oh my gosh, the giant peppermint sticks. kids LOVE giant candy, and right now dollar general has them 2 for $1.
I put oranges or apples in the stocking, plus a canister of pringels, then fill it up with the small stuff…candy, small toys, etc.
I always buy toiletries, underwear, socks and special school lunch snakcs and juice boxes!
In my family, we always use the stockings for addictions/essentials so it’s my mother’s favorite cookie or my brother’s favorite candy and then toothbrushes and hairbrushes and umbrellas and gloves and whatever else I can think of that they can use but wouldn’t necessarily think to buy for themselves.
We stuff the bottoms of the stockings with fruit so that helps cut down on the other extras. We buy little things throughout the year when we see great deals.
I come from a large family and we buy in bulk! Buy cute little inexpensive gifts in large numbers and then find adorable ways to personalize each stocking stuffer for each family member!
Get things from a dollar store that will be used by the recipient like chapstick, cologne, hair barrettes, clips, etc. Other personal items that are always appreciated. We always received fruit in ours when I was growing up but that doesn’t seem as special with the abundance of year round fruit these days. We couldn’t afford to have fruit all the time in the 60’s.
My kids will mostly get candy and small items like a note pad as well as tooth brushes. My oldest will also get a gift card.
I’ve used dollar store items like crossword books and cute socks, and like to add hand-made notes, little candies, etc, and I do use the fruit at the bottom trick…mostly ’cause it’s tradition from my own childhood. Those curly ribbons Dollar General sells for gift wrapping are fun for topping off stockings, too!
I always scout around the clearance sections of stores. Often you find multipack items that may be missing a piece or two for huge discounts that can then be split up for several different people!