WINTER:  ugh, euck, depressing.  That’s how a lot of folks view my good friend, Old Man Winter. Whether you’re someone pinching your pennies and watching your budget, love a bargain or are a crafty crafter, get to know underrated Old Man Winter and his tag along friends to save you money!

As someone who loves to shop for bargains to keep my life-style comfy, I also became a fast friend of Mr. Sale.  While Mr. Sale is terrific, I found myself an even better guy – Mr. Clearance!  While the word “sale” might light my fire, the word “clearance” gives me an automatic rush – even more than my morning cup of strong Pandora Black coffee.

This is it – winter – time for all the stores to get rid of excess merchandise including holiday merchandise.  Spring goods are pouring in and their old stuff must go!  Even if items are picked over when you get there, go through them anyway – a hidden gem may be lurking at the bottom of the pile at a seriously discounted price.

If you’re thinking about new wheels, check to see which dealers have some 2018 cars they need to unload – cheap.  With the 2019 cars rolling in, they can’t afford to have last year’s models taking up valuable space.  Has the weather been horrific in your area?  If so, some of your dealers may have serious slumps in car sales (including NEW cars).  Check it out to see if this is a good time to get that car you’ve been thinking about.

Wardrobe need sprucing up?  Scour clearances for clothing that can not only be worn in winter, but can carry through into your spring wardrobe, such as medium weight sweaters for warmer winter days and chilly spring days.    For fancier attire, look for skirts and jackets in neutral weights and colors that can carry you through two seasons (fall/winter or winter/spring).

Been putting off household items such as a new mixer, coffeemaker, lamp, furniture, etc.?  Mr. Clearance is there to help – even household items and furniture get reduced to make room for newer models and newer merchandise.

Need to spruce up some rooms in your house?  Winter is a good time to hire a painter to give your room an extra boost of newness and color!  Most painters are slow in the winter and offer discounts.  A simple coat of paint can make everything feel fresh and new.  Mix in a few new pieces of furniture or accents like lamps and throw pillows, re-arrange some of the furniture and you’ll feel like you have a brand new room.

NATURE LOVERS:  Is someone you know a nature lover?  Look for clearance ornaments of foxes, birds, bears, raccoons, etc.  Collect a variety of ornaments, package them together in a nice box and save for their Christmas, birthday or Valentine’s Day present. Or use them to create a “nature lover’s tree” (see below).


When scouring stores for discounted seasonal items, think outside the box.  Those gold coins leftover from St. Patrick’s Day or the colorful Mardi Gras beads would be great for a children’s birthday party ANY time of year – what kid doesn’t like shiny gold coins and colorful beads?  Don’t think of the items as “seasonal” – think of them in terms of COLOR:

Snag the gold coins, gold beads, etc. that are out there NOW for future craft projects/decorating for birthday parties, retirement parties, etc.  Party themes can be built around “gold” or almost any other color.

If you’ve followed my DIY posts, you know I get groovy with garland 24/7 – it can be used all year round for decorating, party favors and crafts.  When you find it on the clearance aisle, grab it!

Christmas garland in red can be used for Valentine’s Day crafts…and vise versa – red Valentine garland can be used for Christmas.  If you find garland in red, blue or white, it can be put aside for the 4th of July or Memorial Day decorating and/or crafts.   Snag white garland whenever you can and keep on hand for any bridal or baby showers or parties that you see in your future.  Tufts of garland peeking out of party favors or small party favor bags add an extra “bling” factor.

Clearance tabletop and small (12″ to 18″) trees in white, green or natural wood are great for decorating 24/7.  Use all year round for parties.  Hang individual party favors from them and use as a table centerpiece.  When folks leave, they grab a favor.  White trees are great for bridal or baby showers, Easter or Halloween (see DIY Halloween post)

ST. PATRICK’S DAY:  Small green trees can be decorated with fake or chocolate gold coins, shamrocks and gold beads to make a fun centerpiece.  Gold pouches or mini plastic pot party favors can hold gold foiled candy and hung on the tree.  A tuft of green garland peeking out of the favors gives an extra shine.  Guests get to take a pouch or pot of gold home.

FOR NATURE LOVER FRIENDS:  Having a party or need a gift for a NATURE LOVER?  Fill a small tree with wildlife ornaments such as foxes, bears, raccoons, birds, birdhouses and/or party favors.  Each ornament can be an instant take home party favor at the end of the event…or save the whole tree for the guest of honor.  Another option, hang wildlife ornaments AND party favor bags randomly on the tree.  Guests take home the party favor bags and the guest of honor takes home the ornaments (keep a nice “to go” box aside with colorful tissue to pack the ornaments in).

Winter clearance really is the time to get some of your best deals ever on things you need  (or just plain “want”).  I don’t like taking advantage of people – but even mom would approve of taking advantage of Old Man Winter, Mr. Sale and Mr. Clearance — what a bunch of great guys!  Winter’s here, get out there — get some exercise AND great deals by going shopping – EMBRACE, ENJOY, SAVE DOUGH!