Holiday Shopping: Start Early, Save Money

No matter what gifts you're buying, planning ahead will always pay off. So make that holiday shopping list, check it twice, and let's get ready to shop and save!

Holiday shopping can be a seasonal headache, but it doesn’t have to be. The trick is beating the hustle and bustle at just the right time. And that time is right now.

Some savvy shoppers who swear by Christmas in July might say you’re already running behind. But I disagree. Once you get into the swing of it, October is truly the sweet spot. In fact, there’s no time like the present to affordably get all of the gifts you need, and then some.

You’ll Avoid The Last Minute Rush

There’s no place like stores during the holidays. And near the 25th of December, it’s somewhere most of us dread going.

The closer it gets to Christmas, the more crowded shopping centers and malls become. That’s a given. What’s also inevitable is that malls, shopping centers, and stores will be most crowded at the last minute. The pickings will get slim, too.

From start to finish, avoiding the hordes of holiday shoppers will work in your favor in more ways than one.

people shopping in the mall at Christmas time
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Last-minute holiday shopping will always mean competing with an army of other shoppers, no matter where you go. On top of crowds, the gift options will continue to dwindle as each last-minute shopper scrambles to find a suitable gift.

No matter what, last-minute shopping means risking things being sold out, including that perfect present you’d been waiting to buy. So be proactive and start shopping early. Plus, you’ll likely have more fun.

The earlier you go, the more you can turn your shopping trips into pleasant outings rather than a hasty hassle. If you’re not in the mood to go alone, invite a friend or two and make the most out of it. Chances are, they’ll also benefit from getting some of their holiday shopping done in advance. You’ll be spending some quality time with each other before the holidays hit and everyone’s super busy.

You’ll Have Time to Pick Thoughtful Gifts

If you start browsing and buying gifts now, you’ll not only find better prices, but you’ll also have ample time to come up with perfect presents rather than just settling on something once time’s running out.

person making christmas  list surrounded by packages wrapped in twine and brown paper
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By starting your search early, you can plan out your presents thoughtfully. Shopping early will give you the chance to secure the best possible gifts (and the best deal on those gifts) for everyone on your list. And there’ll still be time left over to come up with more ideas if need be.

Also, you’ll also have the opportunity to compare gift options and prices before making your final selections.

Off-Season Deals

Christmas often comes with jacked-up prices. They seem to start skyrocketing as Thanksgiving approaches. So use your time wisely.

With sales in mind, October through early November is the ideal window to buy gifts. Most times, a significant number of sales will start popping up as stores attempt to get rid of older merchandise and prepare for hot-ticket items at Christmas time.

So do yourself a favor and take advantage of this moment.

orange and white "Sale" flags on ceiling in shopping mall
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Figure out what you want. Then make an active effort to start shopping for things on sale as soon as you can. Also, when you’re out and about, keep your eyes peeled. Even if you’re not sure what you’re in the market to buy as gifts for your loved ones, browsing fall sales may spark inspiration and reveal a few major deals.

Most of the sale items you’ll find now will be snatched up when the next month rolls around. So beat the crowds and get more bang for your buck all at once. After all, retailers know that smart shoppers are already out scoping the scene for Christmas gifts. In turn, they’ve created special sales with go-getters like you in mind.

Don’t miss out!

Online Orders Will Arrive On Time

There’s nothing worse than finding the ideal gift online but not being sure if it’s going to arrive on time–except when you pay extra for speedy shipping and it still doesn’t make it.

Unfortunately, this scenario happens to the best of us at one time or another. Don’t let it happen to you this holiday season!

Last-minute shopping is more popular online than ever before. Even companies that promise a timely arrival aren’t always able to follow through. As Christmas nears, online retailers become swamped and understandably overwhelmed with people desperate to wrap up their Christmas shopping.

All things considered, it’s not really a risk worth taking.

woman drinking coffee and christmas shopping online
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Start your online hunt now. You’ll probably find the best products at bargain prices. Best of all, they’ll be delivered with tons of time to spare.

Hopefully, you get exactly what you paid for, but if something isn’t how it should be, you’ll also have plenty of time to return or exchange it.

You Can Save Up For Something Special

Buying most of your gifts early means you’ll be able to spread your holiday shopping out. Not only will you be able to avoid marathon shopping this way, but you’ll ease the burden on your budget.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t buy anything close to Christmas. But since you’ll likely have saved money over the weeks and months leading up to December, you’ll be able to put even more saved money towards a few special (and potentially more costly) items.

piggy bank wrapped in rainbow string lights against red background
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In other words, take that extra time and spend it making sure you’re getting the best deals, then save the rest for later. One smart way to go about this is to schedule your shopping trips around pay cycles. Each time you get paid, buy a present for another person on your list and continue saving for next time.

This way, you’ll be able to avoid breaking the bank, you’ll get your loved ones exactly what you have in mind, and you’ll be able to more effortlessly and responsibly put money towards those extra special gifts.

There’s Time For Restocking

No matter when you shop, retailers run out of things.

The earlier you get started, the better your odds of getting what you want. Most times, what you’re looking to buy will be restocked sometime before Christmas. But chances are, you’re not the only one waiting for that special something to make its way back to the shelves.

woman walking with shopping bags at Christmas time
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Nothing ruins the Christmas spirit like knowing exactly what you want and being faced with the words “out of stock” too close to Christmas. But it happens all the time.

The sooner you start shopping, the sooner it’ll be back in stock. And as mentioned, if you’re shopping online, you have to factor in the time it takes for things to ship (and unforeseen delays). In contrast, if you run into this problem in December, you’ll likely be out of luck.

So start your shopping ASAP and time will be on your side.

A Headstart on Wrapping Gifts

Every year, I feel like the week (and the night) before Christmas is spent frantically wrapping presents. I know I’m not the only one who sets themselves up for this nightmare over and over again. But let’s make a pact to do everything earlier from now on.

The earlier you buy Christmas presents, the earlier you’ll be able to wrap them. While that might be obvious, it’s an important thing to think about.

Man holding Christmas presents laid on a wooden table background
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Why spend those final moments of holiday magic wrapping presents when you could spend that time truly being present? Plus, you’ll have your pick of the best wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows when you’re not competing with everybody else during Christmas crunch time. And we all wrap with a little more finesse when we’re not in a rush.

As soon as you buy your gifts, go ahead and wrap them. The time and thought you put into the entire process will definitely show. When you put out your tree, you can put presents under it right away, and you’ll be able to build anticipation for even longer.

Less Holiday Stress

We all love the holidays, but a certain amount of stress seems inevitable. There’s always so much to do, so little time, and so many other shoppers running into similar issues. One of the biggest drawbacks of waiting to do all of your shopping is you’ll be left with a lot less time to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

The best thing about Christmas shopping early (other than all the money you’ll surely save) is the chance to stop worrying about what you have left to do before Christmas is here, spending time with the people you care about, and just relaxing.

What could be a better gift to yourself than that?

happy and laughing gray haired woman sitting in her living room next to presents she's wrapped before Christmas
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No matter what you spend, you can’t put a price on peace of mind. With all of your shopping wrapped, you’ll take a hefty chunk of the typical hassle out of the holidays. When Christmas is finally here, you’ll be able to enjoy the festivities fully–and your wallet will undoubtedly thank you.

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