We know it’s taboo to bust out the holiday decorations too early, but what about the shopping bags? While gift-giving is a blast, the shopping can take a toll on your wallet. And when you’re already busy with holiday-season activities, Christmas shopping can feel rushed and strained. That’s why getting it out of the way early makes your holiday season a little—or a lot—less stressful. Plus, it’s way more fun if you ask us!
Skip the Crowds
Procrastination leads to stress, which will cloud the magic of the holiday season. Do your Christmas shopping early, and we guarantee that you won’t miss those crowded stores, long lines and grouchy shoppers. Another benefit to skipping the crowds is that you’ll get a better selection of items. At Christmas, hot products often sell out quickly, leaving less-appealing gift options behind. Plus, shopping sooner also means the stores aren’t solely filled with Christmas-themed trinkets that scream “last-minute gifts,” so you have a higher-quality selection of products to choose from.
Head to the quieter stores to take advantage of more available sales staff. Ask questions about which products have better features to make sure you’re giving a great gift. You can also ask about upcoming sales, so you can plan out your purchases.
Spread Out Spending
Speaking of planning your purchases, that’s one of the most important parts of getting your Christmas shopping done early. With more time to look for the items you need, you’ll also have more time to include gift purchases in your budget. Shopping early means you don’t have to run up your credit card bill this December to cover gifts.
To make the most of your extra shopping time, write down each person you plan to buy a gift for along with a per-person budget. Figure out how long you have until you want your shopping done, and then divide the purchases up among the remaining weeks or months. You’ll save money and reduce the stress of shopping for everyone at once.
Another way to make smart financial choices when shopping early is to use a layaway system. You’ll find several stores with layaway programs with interest-free payment plans. This is a great option for those who don’t want to deal with a pile of gifts taking up space for months at a time—and for parents who are worried about curious kids finding the present stash. You’ll secure the items you want, make budget-friendly payments and have everything ready to go once the holidays arrive.
Research Deals the Right Way
Now that you’ve got a game plan for gifts, you can start hunting down the best deals. If you wait until Black Friday to start your shopping, you’ll only find true deals on a few select items. But by shopping early, you have time to search out sales, deals and coupons. This is the best way to get great deals on the hottest products because your purchases aren’t limited to the span of a few weeks.
Shop From Home
Think shopping online will save you from the stress of holiday crowds? Think again. In many cases, the best items sell out online during the holiday rush, too, leaving you high and dry. And with higher rates for fast shipping, you’ll pay extra to make sure your gifts arrive in time.
When you start your shopping early, however, you’ll be able to take advantage of online purchases. Amazing deals can often be secured online, saving you money on every purchase. Plus, you won’t have to scramble to get things delivered by Christmas, which lets you take advantage of free shipping offers. That extra time also allows you to make online purchases with confidence because you’ll have plenty of time to make returns or exchanges before Christmas comes.
It takes a bit of organization to get your Christmas shopping done early. But once the holidays roll around, you’ll experience them in a way that you haven’t in years (or maybe ever). You can spend time enjoying your wintery surroundings rather than waiting in long checkout lines. Even better, you can focus on fun times with family and friends. This is shopping done the smart way, and we guarantee that after one year, you’ll be hooked on early Christmas shopping for life.