AARP Eye Center
October brings a drop in temperatures and an increase in all things pumpkin spice, and it’s also become the unofficial start of holiday shopping season. Although Black Friday may be more than a month away, a growing number of shoppers have already begun checking items off their holiday gift lists — and some stores are offering deals to entice them.
“October has really become the gateway for holiday shopping season,” says Kristin McGrath, of RetailMeNot, a coupons and deals company.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
A September survey by Bankrate found that half of winter-holiday shoppers planned to start their holiday shopping before Oct. 31. A separate survey by Salesforce found that nearly 40 percent of early holiday shoppers cited concerns about rising prices and inflation as the number one reason for them to start early.
That said, while shopping early can help spread out the costs of gifts, the deals in some categories — such as toys and electronics — tend to get better later in the season when retailers lower prices to help clear out their inventory. Kimberly Palmer, a spokesperson for personal finance website NerdWallet, suggests using price-tracking apps or browser extensions to get a sense of whether you’re really getting a good price on an item. Two to try: Amazon Assistant and Honey.
If you’re not quite ready to start playing Santa, here’s a look at some other categories where you’ll find sales this time of year, according to shopping experts, including where to shop and how much you could possibly save.
Retailers stock up on denim, including jeans and jackets, ahead of back-to-school season and fall shopping. Now that school is in session, they’re ready to move out any apparel items associated with fall to make room for more winter-oriented clothing items.
Where to find deals: Kohl’s, Macy’s, Marshall’s
Potential savings: Up to 40 percent off
Plants and gardening equipment
You’ll find plants, including perennials and fall bulbs that you still have time to plant this year, on sale as local nurseries or the plant departments of big-box stores try to clear out their inventory. Bonus: It’s also a great time to pick up equipment such as lawn mowers and gardening tools at prices far lower than they’ll be at the start of next season.
Where to find deals: Local garden centers, Walmart, Home Depot
Potential savings: Up to 50 percent off