People are often surprised when they hear we do 6 boxes for Operation Christmas Child. They ask if it is very expensive for us.
Um no... not when you have this Scots woman shopping!
We get tools for the big boys for FREE through Harbor Freight stores. They offer many items we use for the boxes - screw driver sets, tape measures, volt meters, scissors, hammers, and so on - free with purchase. That's not an issue because there is ALWAYS something we need from there. Tape, nails, and so on. And sometimes you can score free with no purchase needed! And the coupons are everywhere.
After season sales are great too. Last February I scored those little panda bears for .73c each and the glasses were six for .50c on a Valentine clearance sale. August I get school supplies... at Walmart the notebooks were .20c each, rulers were .10c, crayons were .25c, and so on.
And of course there is Dollar Tree for soap, toothbrushes, certain toys like balls, and so on. Just shop carefully to make sure the quality is good.
Stopping for fast food? Order a kid's meal and get the toy for your box. And you'll have the bonus of a smaller meal.
If you have a Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or JoAnn's around use their 40% to 50% off coupons to buy plastic tubs for your 'shoe box'. The tub becomes part of your gift as it becomes bug free storage for food.
When you spread your Operation Christmas Child shopping out over the year, it's actually quite easy to do six boxes. We store the items in one of 3 under-bed boxes (you can see one in the second photo). Almost everything we need is already there in late October.
Try it and see how well it can work for you.