The Saturday Weekly Review

How A Gift Closet May Be Your Secret Source For Savings : The Saturday Weekend Review #245

gift closet savings



I’d like to introduce you to our new savings source, The Gift Closet. Just about everyone I know has a junk drawer or closet where odds and ends gets tossed in hopes it may get used again.

You know what I mean right?

However, last week one of my readers gave me this idea about getting organized with our junk closets and opening up a gift closet. Sounds like you’re starting your own business but in a way, you are. If you consider savings for your bank account a business then you’re in business. It’s that simple.

Not everyone has gifts they need to buy for people during the course of a year but there may be those odd times you find something that is too good to be true and you buy it. You may not want or need to use it right away so instead of it getting lost in the dust pockets of your home you open your gift closet.

A good example for us are dish towels. Mrs. CBB has a love for dish cloths and towels and quality products are expensive to buy. When she sees a super deal she will stock up. Our closet currently houses brand new dish towels, bath towels, bed sheets, pillow cases etc.

We’re stepping up our game now.

Whether it is a gift for you or for someone else keeping yourself organized and having one spot to deposit your purchases will save you money.


What is the gift closet?


When we designed our budget back in 2012 we incorporated birthdays, Christmas and other holidays into category selection. We also saved each month so we had the money available in our projected expenses account ready to use when we needed to buy these gifts.

No, you can’t predict everything but the more you can get ahead of your financial needs, the better you will be. In the past we used to draw names for our family Christmas gift exchange at the beginning of the year which would give us ample time to find gifts at bargain basement prices. It worked and this is how we went about our shopping for the holiday season.

What I found interesting was that we didn’t quite have a name for it until a fan mentioned she had a Gift Closet. Moving forward our new space to stash gifts we buy throughout the year is, The Gift Closet.  Another name could be the frugal closet. Call it whatever you like but keep it a secret or you may just have nosey people checking out your stash.

Our gift closet is on the second level of our home where we rarely go unless we have to. It’s a small gift closet in the hallway which also houses our fresh linens, new towels and other new with tag items. It seemed like the perfect place to have our gift closet since we had already stashed away bits and bobs for ourselves.

The idea is to have a gift closet which will help motivate you to shop for savings throughout the year for items you know you will need or have projected in your budget. The choice is yours but I’d say give the gift closet a try but keep it real and don’t going buying too much because then your savings may just turn into debt.

Planning for your gift closet will certainly go a long way financially. A simple book that you can write in and leave in your closet to review or a spreadsheet on the computer may be easier for computer savvy folks to track the gift closet needs.


Holiday Gift-Giving in our family is UP and down


Over the years our Christmas gift exchange has went from drawing names to only buying for our parents and the kids. That seemed frugal and fair but come Christmas morning it didn’t feel the same for our family. Christmas has been a HUGE part of our family engagement because we all lust for the holidays and time together. It’s not something we get to do often as it’s not easy to get home as much as we’d like.

Moving forward we’ve changed the way of gift-giving once again but adding something small for even the adults. The reason for this was that our 5-year-old nephew wanted to use his allowance to buy Christmas gifts for everyone. He was well aware that his mom and dad and others had nothing to open on Christmas day last year and he wanted to change that. How thoughtful. This was a sure sign he was growing up and wanting to be independent.

Our son who also LOVES shopping (insert gulp here) is not at that stage as his cousin just yet. Whenever we go shopping our son is with us. He is keen to learn about the way we shop so we teach him about finding deals and educate him in the produce section. It’s a fun game and he loves learning. The idea is to invite him to learn about products and how to tell whether they are a good deal or not from a young age.

One day we’d like to teach him how to shop without spending a fortune. It’s more about being able to put a smile on everyone’s face during special occasions like Christmas, especially the kids.

This year our little guy is making homemade Christmas cards for everyone and including a little message in each one. He will also include a hand-made ornament made from Popsicle sticks, glue and other Christmas crafts. Although we will be helping him we would like to keep this as a family tradition.

When our son is old enough and wants to spend money of his own like his cousin to buy small gifts under $5 to exchange we will inspire and motivate him to take space in our gift closet. Not only will this teach him the art of saving money while gift giving but also open his imagination to creating gifts ahead of time.

Right now he has one of those huge water bottles that go on the water towers filling up with coins and bills that he collects. If he gets money from his grandparents or anyone else it’s usually in small denominations so we have him put it into his savings bottle.

This bit teaches him about money and why he should save it before going shopping. When we hear him pipe up and say, “Let’s go shopping now, come on”, both Mrs. CBB and I melt. It’s the most adorable thing ever even though to some of you it may seem like a spending disaster waiting to happen.

He doesn’t like to buy things, he likes to get out and look. He’s into toddler window shopping and making sure the ladies smile at him because he sure does garner a following at times with his wit and huge smile. I’m sure he just adores the attention.


Last-minute gifts can be costly


Most people and maybe even you wait until the last-minute to rush out and buy Christmas gifts or order online but with the gift closet you won’t have to do that any longer. There might be the odds and ends but for the most part you’ll be scanning flyers and shops for deals throughout the year.

You will see your Christmas budget drastically drop if you are one of those random shoppers who buys now pays later. Not everyone has a Christmas budget and if you do why not save some of that money for drinks and good food. Just because you have the cash in a budget category doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. Save in one spot and carry it to another whether it is back into savings investments or to fund other budget categories that need a boost.

Thankfully we don’t celebrate Christmas until Boxing Day which gives everyone an opportunity to jet out if need be to pick up some of those ultra last-minute sweet Boxing Day deals. That is also a great way to start your new gift closet year.

Discussion Question: Do you have a gift closet and how do you manage it?


A Week In My Life


This week was pretty boring for me besides all the excitement I’ve been having shovelling snow. Insert sarcasm. It was fun 11 years ago when I moved to Canada but now I’ve outgrown it. Oddly enough the UK has got hit with snow and my sister has told me everything has come to a stop with the school systems due to black ice. Oh, and the sidewalks are too slippery to risk the kids walking on to school. Can you tell we aren’t a winter type country?

No other exciting news to report besides I’ll be buried in wrapping paper, gift bags and bows this week. Most of our shopping is coming via Amazon but next year with our gift closet in full-swing we might not have to do any online shopping at all last-minute.

I’ll be baking a few Keto desserts this week to bring home for the family by request. I’m thinking I’ll make a low carb lemon loaf and some biscotti. That should have everyone covered in the sugar-free department.

Happy Christmas Week everyone!! Chat to you next Saturday.



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Top Post This Week: The Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) in Canada


Top Finance Weekly Read


When I read the post ,When Your Wife Says, “Don’t Buy Me Anything”, I had to sympathize. Every year Mrs.CBB says don’t buy me anything so I don’t. I know, I’m a dummy. This year she let it slip she bought me something so now I have to get her something. Why do women do this to us? We are straight up…say one thing and do it. Maybe I’m not romantic enough or good with secret code. There must be a manual on the internet somewhere.

The only reason we don’t buy gifts for each other is because we typically buy something for the home after the holidays that we both enjoy. One year we bought our Smart TV and another we bought clothes.

This year, I’m going to be on top of my game (or it may seem so) because I’ll have the best gift ever wrapped up for her, ME! Just kidding but I have an idea what I’m going to get her. No, she won’t read this post either, so don’t worry.


CBB Words of Wisdom




Budget Recipe Pick


Chocolate Cherry FudgeThis weekend is all about making last-minute homemade treats and final prep for Christmas Holidays. I wanted to find a simple recipe that was elegant and perfect to serve to your guests or pack in a tin to hand out to your loved ones. When I saw Cherry and Chocolate Fudge over at Tip Hero I knew this was the recipe.

2 cups white chocolate chips (11 oz bag)
7 oz jar marshmallow creme
3/4 cup (6 oz) butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
pinch salt
1 Tbsp cherry flavored gelatin
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
10oz dark chocolate, finely chopped

Simple ingredients that most people have or you can run out to grab without fuss. Get the full recipe here.


Cool Budget DIY Ideas


merry christmas candy cane table name tag

I couldn’t find a source for this cool idea taping two candy canes together to use as table name tags for Christmas. How cool!! Easy, elegant and perfect for a last-minute festive look to your Christmas table.


Saturday Search Term Giggles


  • Dumpster Diving Laws– Easy, do it and risk a fine or getting arrested.
  • Why should I be house poor?– It’s the new cool thing to do!
  • Ontario Retail Cashier Code– I’m starting a list of all the ways consumers research The Scanning Code of Practice. Quite comical at times.

Always begin and end your day with a SMILE!- Mr.CBB

Every week I get tens of thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. (SIC) means I’ve copied the text exactly and it has spelling errors.

Most times funny, Sometimes serious.

  • Does Value Village buy stuff?– Ha, they don’t know they word ‘Buy’ only sell for profit and donate.
  • Why are doctors exempt from jury duty in Canada?– Do I really need to answer this?
  • How to be mortgage free?- Pay your mortgage off. It’s not that easy but it was good for a laugh.

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  1. I’ve collected things in a few storage boxes for years to give on special occasions. It started when my children were little and I found they gave me the birthday party invitations for their friends parties the day of! I find things on clearance and into the box they go. I’d keep small items (boy and girl) in the boxes and could pull something together fast!
    This year, I went to the boxes and weeded out some things (ie. lots of earbuds, Bluetooth speakers, an MP3 player) and donated them to the Christmas toy drive…as well as a few stuffed animals.

    1. Hi Anne,
      That was very kind of you. Now that we have a child we’re noticing an increase in gift purchases. Our plan is to do the best we can and collect items as they are sale. I don’t see this as becoming a closet busting at the seams rather just a small space to stash some gifts at basement bargain prices. Happy Christmas. 🙂

  2. We absolutely have had a gift closet in the past, but now that we’re all older and downsizing, I give special people
    a donation to The Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge, and they do a special donation on my behalf for one of their favourites.
    It means I don’t get to be quite so frugal, as I’m not collecting items that are typically looking much more costly than
    what I actually paid for them. The donation route means ya just gotta come up with the loot, and there is a time for
    that opportunity (one hopes) as one gets older. ( And yes, this is a plug for the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge. Check it out! )

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