Black Friday is still a few weeks away, but a growing number of shoppers aren’t waiting to begin checking items off their holiday gift lists. One in 10 shoppers began their holiday shopping before the end of August, and a full quarter expected to start this month, according to a Bankrate survey.
There are plenty of good reasons to get started early: A longer shopping window makes it easier to spread out the cost of gifts, and buying some items in advance means you don’t have to worry that stores will sell out of in-demand items. Even better, you don’t have to pay extra for express shipping on items ordered online. Plus, if you shop in person, hitting up stores now means you may have fewer crowds to contend with, making for a less stressful shopping experience.
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Many retailers are recognizing that consumers are starting shopping early, so they’re not waiting to unveil their most enticing year-end deals. Here are some tips to bear in mind if you’re ready to take advantage of these early deals.
1. Keep your list updated
If you’re extending your shopping over several weeks or months, it’s especially important to stay organized. Make a list of all your recipients for the year, along with a gift idea or budget for each of them. Check them off as you make your purchases, and store the gifts someplace where you won’t forget about them.
“The biggest risk is that you end up buying double gifts for people,” says Kimberly Palmer, a spokesperson with personal finance website Nerdwallet. “That’s when you end up spending more than you planned.”
2. Pay attention to (price) history
Retailers love to make it look like they’re giving you a better deal than they really are. Use apps like Honey or ShopSavvy to see how the current price for a specific item compares to its price over time. (Use CamelCamelCamel to check price history on Amazon products.) That will give you some context for how the current discount stacks up.
3. November tech deals
Retailers rely on items like laptops, televisions and video game consoles to bring people into their stores (or onto their websites) on Black Friday, so they typically save their best prices for that day. Smartphone deals will also likely be better around Black Friday, since both the iPhone 14 and Google Pixel 7 just hit the shelves.