I’m thinking it’s not much of a secret that I like to shop. But the thing is that I like to shop, but I don’t like to spend money. Those two things can go together, of course, but it takes a little more work.
One of the things I’ve done for years and years is to maintain a stash of gifts—assembled from various clearance finds—and then when it’s time to head to a birthday party or round up teacher gifts, I don’t have to run out and shop. This saves me from going to actual stores (because those places are filled with cranky people, plus they require getting dressed and leaving the house), plus it saves money because I’d rather buy stuff on sale whenever than buy stuff at full price because I need it RIGHT NOW.
[The best part about toys in the gift closet is that as the kids and their peers outgrow stuff, each year I do a November clean-out and go donate a bunch of stuff for the various holiday charities, and that's all kinds of fun.]
Unfortunately, like SO MANY other things in my life, my children are ruining my careful planning. Typical.
The thing is, the last time I checked, Chickadee was still a CHILD. But she begs to differ. She and her friends do not give each other toys anymore, MOTHER. They give each other books (yay!), make-up (lalalala not listening), craft supplies (all the better for scattering all over the house), and various objects that I do not pretend to understand (for her last birthday, Chickie’s party invitation specified no gifts, but a friend brought her a wooden chipmunk that she prizes as if the damn thing was made of chocolate). I… do not really understand what’s acceptable amongst her friends anymore, nor do any of them have parties with any sort of regularity, and both of these make it very hard to buy ahead.
So. There’s a birthday party next week. Chickadee wanted to go to Target today to look for a gift.
The good news is that I’m finally feeling a little bit better. So an outing sounded fine, actually.
The bad news is that I hadn’t been to Target in a long time. I forgot that my brain ceases to function reasonably in Target. And the WORSE news is that when Monkey asked me if he could “maybe buy something” with his allowance I said “Sure!”
Apparently I am feeling better but my brain has been turned to mush.
Once we started walking up and down the aisles, the endcaps of clearance items started calling my name. Chickadee wanted to go look at nail polish, Monkey wanted to go look at Bakugan, and I was remembering that OH! Target has cheap towels! And cute dishes! And all sorts of other things!
Target endcaps are my kryptonite, man. It’s not my fault.
We got out of there in about an hour, which really, wasn’t too bad. And we NEEDED those dive sticks, you know (75% off). Plus those wall decals were totally sweet (80% off). And, um, I’d been meaning to pick up a new tube of mascara.
Plus we got to do some math, too, which is part of any good Target trip. The kids had to calculate their expenditures (Monkey had to find his best Bakugan deal; Chickadee had to figure out how many nail polishes I was willing to buy, and how much extra she wanted to buy with her own money to add to the gift), including tax, which totally justified the extra stuff I bought because it was a LEARNING EXPERIENCE.
So I may not know what to stock in the gift closet, anymore, but apparently I have not lost my knack for being utterly unable to get out of Target with “just one thing.”