This year, the holiday shopping season is starting in early October thanks to deals at major retailers. Target, Amazon and Overstock.com are a few of the well-known stores rolling out savings.
“Target is having a deal event starting October 6, Amazon is having a big event starting October 11, Overstock.com has something starting on the first,” said Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert with TrueTrae.com.
The deals mean this shopping season is longer than before, and shopping experts like Bodge encourage consumers to be savvy with their purchases.
“We’re seeing a lot of big sales, but that doesn’t mean you found the lowest price,” Bodge said. “So you want to make sure you do a little digging, compare prices at multiple retailers, use savings platforms, and try to get the best deal possible on every purchase.”
Experts said now is the time to make a plan of who you’ll buy for and how much you’ll spend. Be sure to include Christmas cards and holiday travel, too.
“Those are all the things you need to be thinking about, and that kind of goes into your whole holiday budget,” said Andy Mattingly, chief operating officer at Forum Credit Union.
Despite current deals, Bodge said some items are worth the wait.
“Videogame consoles with game bundles, those are very special for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, so hold off on that,” Bodge advised. “I would also say holiday gift sets.”
If certain gifts top your list, experts encourage comparison shopping. If you can’t afford a specific item right away, they say it can be okay to charge it.
“Whatever you’re going to put on there, know that you can pay your credit card off before the next holiday,” Mattingly said.
If money is just too tight this year, Mattingly said you can always give your time.
“This year my gift to you is I’m going to help you landscape your house because you’ve always wanted to do that, and I’m going to help you do it,” Mattingly said.
If you do decide to do the buy-now-pay-later option, experts urge consumers to stay organized and never miss a payment. Otherwise, you’ll be paying more for the gift than you planned.