Over the years, Christmas shopping has become one big, expensive commercial splurge that starts the day after Thanksgiving and continues right up until Christmas Eve. For many people, this has resulted in a great deal of stress as they put gifts on credit cards and scramble to buy last-minute presents.
Instead of waiting until Black Friday to get your Christmas shopping underway, start now. It may not be Halloween yet, but October is a great time to get a jump on your holiday shopping—and avoid the stresses and expenses of last-minute purchases.
Many people are feeling the budget pinch that comes with these tough economic times. Planning ahead for your holiday shopping can actually ease your budget crunch.
Figure out how much you plan to spend this season and divide that number by three. Plan to buy one-third of your holiday gifts each month leading up to Christmas - October, November and December. (Financial planning tip for next year: Start in September and spend one-fourth of your budget each month leading up to Christmas.) Spreading out the expense and working it into your budget in smaller increments, can prove to be a huge budget saver.
Not only that, but when you have more time, you also have more time to comparison shop. You have the luxury of ensuring that you are getting the best prices on merchandise.
Make a List
Create a list of gifts you plan to buy for friends and family. If you can’t think of anything specific, at least decide on a dollar amount. Having this list can help you look for bargains. When you start your holiday shopping early, you have more time to find good deals. Many retailers have been holding weekly sales for months now. Look through sales fliers, finding clues as to where the deals are for items on your list. Purchasing items on sale, and on your list, can help you avoid wasting your money.