Smart Spending

Save Money By Doing Your Christmas Shopping Early

Every year Christmas comes at exactly the same time.  And every year a good majority of people, me included, do their Christmas shopping on December 24th.  It seems that no matter how resolutely we say we will get it done earlier next time, we almost never seem to do so.  So this year, doing your Christmas shopping early can save yourself the stress of shopping last minute, but you can also save a lot of money.

Many stores will admit that between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when they make the majority of their profit for the year.  When you wait until last minute to do your shopping, you often do not shop the sales.  Impulse buys are more likely, and not as much thought will go into the gifts.  While it takes a little more planning, you can carry a notebook with you while you shop.  If an item stands out that would be a good gift for someone on your list, write down what it is, the cost, and where you saw it, regardless of the time of year.  Then keep an eye out for the items on your list.  When one goes on sale, you can pick it up cheaply and store it until Christmas comes.  You will save yourself the headache of trying to think up gifts last minute, and you will spread your spending out over many months.

For bigger purchases, ones where you are buying the current model television, computer, or other items that are not likely to go on sale, Black Friday is still a great time to shop if you can handle the crowds.  A quick search on Google will reveal several sites that give sneak peeks at what the deals for this year will be.  As Black Friday approaches, more and more ads will be revealed.  If getting up at 3AM and battling the crowds to get your hands on the latest goods makes your stomach turn, try shopping on Cyber Monday.  No crowds, no lines, just a lot of great deals at your finger tips.  The discounts often are not as steep, but it is a whole lot less stressful.

A great way that many stores are bringing back is layaway.  K-Mart brought their program back, and it has helped keep their store afloat during times where it looks like the company might go under.  The concept is simple, you pick out the items now, put them on layaway at the store, and then you make regular payments until everything is all paid off by the time Christmas comes. Using the program is like taking an interest free loan from the store.  You have to wait until the “loan” is paid back before you can pick up the items, but no interest is a whole lot better than carrying a balance on your credit card.

There are many reasons for doing your Christmas shopping early.  The biggest benefit of doing your Christmas shopping early is probably saving you the stress of dealing with crowds and worrying about finding the right gift.  Along with that stress saver is the satisfaction that you have saved money on your shopping this year.  You can relax and enjoy the holiday season instead of worrying about shopping and then worrying about how to pay for the gifts.