Smart Shopping Strategies for the Holiday Season: Target, Walmart, and Dollar Stores

As we enter the holiday season with Christmas just a brisk five weeks away, it’s time to acknowledge the mixed feelings many of us experience: the merriment of the season paired with a hint of financial anxiety.

With the cost of living reaching new heights (can you believe a cup of coffee now costs $8.50?), and gas prices soaring, even a quick grocery run for milk and eggs can’t seem to stay under $100. In these times, becoming more strategic with our holiday shopping is not just a choice but a necessity. This is particularly true for parents who are balancing both time and budget constraints.

We’re all eager to witness the sparkle of joy in our children’s eyes as they unwrap their presents. However, the big question is: how can we make this happen without straining our wallets? Don’t worry, we’ve got some ideas up our sleeve to support your Santa Claus dreams and make this season feel successful and fulfilling. And the best part? You can find these solutions without even leaving your office chair, perhaps even while sneakily shopping during those Zoom meetings. Yes, mastering the art of multitasking with a shopping-side glance has become a real skill for many of us!

Embracing this new reality, the secret lies in exploring a mix of shopping avenues, from digital marketplaces to local hidden gems. Staying informed through newsletters and social media can lead you to timely deals and unique finds. Remember, the best holiday bargains are often discovered with a blend of strategy and timely action. So, let’s dive into where and then how to find those perfect gifts and amazing deals.

Where can I shop on a dime?

Target: Known for its convenience, Target offers a quick and easy shopping experience with features like drive-up pickup, online ordering, and same-day delivery. However, as Target’s popularity soars, so do its prices. It’s worth asking: is Target truly a budget-friendly option anymore?

Walmart: Despite its mixed reputation, Walmart remains a strong contender for budget shopping. Their online store, offering a wide range of outsourced brands, provides an expansive variety. I’ve personally found that Walmart is an excellent spot for purchasing my 2.5-year-old’s clothes at prices significantly lower than Target or Old Navy, without compromising on quality.

Dollar Stores: These are fantastic venues for stocking stuffers. I begin my stocking stuffer hunt as early as July, picking up small trinkets and toys whenever I spot a good deal. Stocking stuffers can be challenging to find, so stay tuned for a future post with some helpful tips!

Amazon: This mega store has almost everything, with products coming from various sources. But is Amazon always offering the best deal? It’s a mixed bag. Some items may initially have inflated prices, which are then reduced to appear as though they’re on sale, creating the illusion of a deal.

The key to navigating these shopping destinations is to have a plan of attack. Know what you’re looking for before you start shopping to avoid getting sidetracked. If browsing is necessary, make a note of potential purchases and then do a price comparison to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

How to find the deals

Social Media:  In an era where many earn their living through social media by posting and influencing, these platforms have become a goldmine for finding deals. These influencers get paid through our engagement with their posts, so why not let them do the heavy lifting in hunting down the best bargains? The trick is to find influencers who focus on quality items and the stores where we actually shop. Here is a list of influencers that we at The Nanny Tribe regularly follow:





Second-Hand, Hand-Me-Downs, Thrift Shopping: There’s a treasure trove of gently used items out there, often in excellent condition. Great places to hunt for these bargains include Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and various mom/dad groups online. Don’t hesitate to reach out to these communities to let them know that you’re looking for specific items. Remember, many larger items like bikes, playsets, and outdoor toys are typically assembled for children rather than being presented in a box. They likely won’t know these items are second-hand, and this approach can save you a lot.

Utilize Store Apps for Great Deals: There are tricks with these apps that many of us might not be aware of. For instance, did you know that when using the Target app, you can access exclusive Target Circle offers? These can be found by either searching through categories or directly on the product detail page. When you spot an offer you’re interested in, simply select it to reveal the ‘Save Offer’ button. Clicking on ‘Save Offer’ adds it directly to your list, ensuring you don’t miss out on potential savings.

Black Friday Deals Beyond Black Friday: Many companies, including Amazon, are now offering Black Friday deals well in advance of the actual day. The best strategy here is to take a quick look each day to see if the items on your list are on sale. Chances are, most of your desired items will be discounted at some point. The key is to exercise patience and keep a vigilant eye out for those deals as they pop up.

Shopping Local: We are big proponents of shopping locally and supporting US-based businesses. Not only does this practice help our local economy, but it also often leads to finding unique, handcrafted items. A great place to start is Etsy, an online marketplace that showcases a plethora of artisans and crafters. Additionally, local craft fairs are fantastic venues to discover one-of-a-kind gifts while directly supporting small business owners and artists in your community.

Other Considerations for Gift Giving: When it comes to gifting, sometimes the most cherished presents are those that come from the heart. Consider homemade gifts, like crafts or baked goods, which add a personal touch. Plants can bring a bit of nature into a home and are gifts that keep on growing. A framed family photo is always a hit; find frames on sale and print out cherished memories. Encourage children to make gifts, adding their personal creativity to the festive season. Homemade playdough in fun containers can be a delightful surprise for kids. Assemble a movie night box complete with a gift card for a new release on demand – perfect for family bonding. Gifting an experience, like a date with a parent, a membership to the zoo, or a museum, can create lasting memories.

Stay tuned for our upcoming post on creative ways to gift smaller items. Did you know experiences often leave a more lasting impression than physical gifts? We’ve got plenty of ideas to elevate those smaller gifts, making them feel monumental and meaningful.