Other than post-Christmas clearance, the only place I buy wrapping paper is the dollar store (or the dollar spot at other stores). It's a great deal and they have some interesting papers. When you can get wrapping paper at this price it makes it a really economical choice for lots of projects, not just wrapping presents. Last year I picked up this gingham red and tan paper, planning to use it for some Valentine's projects. You might remember it as the photo backdrop for my chocolate covered potato chips, which I made as a Valentine's treat.
I also used it to make some gift bags, just cutting out hearts and sticking them to brown paper bags with scrapbook sticky squares.
Then I made table runner for our Valentine's dinner. You could also just cut out place mats.
Since we didn't have any major spills, after the Valentine's dinner I turned the paper over to the plain brown side and let Thing One have it as a giant coloring sheet, kind of like we did when we covered the coffee table. I've talked about other uses (or re-uses) for wrapping paper when we made the magnets and the kids coffee shop. I have another little project I want to show you soon using that faux wood wrapping paper (from the coffee shop), that stuff is extra versatile. I hope this gives you some ideas for using cheap wrapping paper. It's not just for birthday presents! Have a great week!