Shopping. On one hand I’m not your stereotypical female with a shopping obsession. I don’t enjoy spending time at malls for example. On the other hand, I love holiday shopping! There’s something about being on a quest to find the perfect gifts for all of my friends and family that I simply can’t get enough of.
I used to put off holiday shopping until as close to Christmas as possible. I loved the hustle and bustle of it for that one brief period during the year. But I realized something more recently. While I enjoyed it in the moment, getting caught up in that holiday buzz was really stressing me out! So I changed my plan last year and did my shopping early. In fact, I was finished with all of my necessary gift shopping by Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving here in the U.S.). That used to be the day I started.
I loved the change so much that I plan to do it again this year (or close to it). Combine that with a bit of retail knowledge from my younger years (for a while after school I actually worked in an area of retail marketing), and I have some tips and benefits to share with those of you who might be super-early holiday shoppers in the making.
Early Holiday Shopping: Tips and Benefits
- You can find better deals on staples and casual gifts. — It’s a common misconception that the best deals come around the holidays. You can almost always find a better deal at different times of the year. For example, you might find a better deal on a laptop for your child during the back to school shopping period than the holidays (when more limited models seem to be priced with deep discounts). You can stock up on standard gifts like candles (for co-workers or a child’s teacher perhaps) at any time of the year.
- You get to take advantage of clearance seasons. — Here’s another tip related to saving money by shopping early. While different retailers will have their clearance events at slightly different times, February and July are usually the big clearance months. These are the times when stores are clearing out inventory to make room for next season’s products. You can save on anything from clothing (choose basics if you buy early since trends can change quickly) to toys and games or even home appliances and electronics.
- Early holiday shopping can help you avoid debt. — Many people go into debt over holiday shopping, putting gifts on their credit cards. Then it takes months to pay off the balances — often at a high interest rate. Don’t be one of those people. Shopping for holiday gifts early allows you to spread out your shopping over the year so you don’t have a huge expense hitting you all at once when the holidays roll around.
- Shopping early for gifts can save you stress. — I didn’t realize how stressful the holidays had become for years. And I know I’m not the only one. They can cause burn out if you aren’t careful. While the fun and anticipation and general excitement can be a good kind of stress, it’s still stress. Now I know I can have even more fun by getting the shopping out of the way early — no last minute wrapping, no fights for parking spots. Instead I’m left with more time to decorate, bake cookies, watch my favorite holiday films, and visit friends and family. And when family members complain about the hassle of shopping, I get to sit back and reminisce about what that felt like without having to join them in reliving it year after year.
What about you? Do you finish your holiday shopping early, or are you a last minute type of shopper? Do you have other tips on finding great deals on gifts by shopping early? Is it something you’d like to try? Leave a comment and tell us about it.