INDIANAPOLIS — Some Hoosiers have started to craft their holiday shopping lists early this year, but with Black Friday approaching, more people will begin to look for deals on must-have items.

“It’s a little stressful for me this year,” said Samantha Keizer, a local shopper.

Even though Thanksgiving is still more than a week away, local shoppers like Keizer are already feeling the stress of getting all their gifts this year.

“I actually had to start early this year just so I could prioritize my time just to kind of get ahead,” she said.

Some shoppers believe they will be spending more on holiday gifts this year. Others, however, are hoping to spend less money on presents this season.

“(I will) probably (spend) a little bit less,” said Justin Lawson, another local shopper. “We just got back from a big overseas vacation, so we are trying to take care of that, and maybe we can think about some bigger gifts later on.”

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday spending is expected to grow between 3% and 4% — a typical annual increase. Total holiday spending is expected to hit between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion this year.

“A lot of the things that we’ve looked at is that people are going to spend about the same or a little bit more on gifts because things cost a little more and food costs a little more,” said Andy Mattingly, the Chief Operating Officer at FORUM Credit Union. “But where they are trying to cut back is how much they do on travel.”

Experts urge consumers to compare prices while they shop, instead of buying the first thing they see on the shelf. Mattingly said it’s especially important to keep the principle in mind on Black Friday.

“A lot of times what happens is we go out into Black Friday with no plan, and we buy whatever is on sale, and we come home with a lot of gifts that we don’t know who we are going to give them to,” Mattingly said. “Maybe we end up giving something more to someone that we didn’t plan on spending that much for, and all of a sudden, your budget is out of whack and you haven’t even made it to December yet.”

Mattingly said it’s also important to approach Black Friday shopping with a plan in place.

“Make sure that you know who you are buying for,” Mattingly said. “Make sure you have how much you intend to spend for them, and then do that last step and know where you are going to buy that gift for them at the best price.”

Lawson and Keizer both have plans they’d like to implement this holiday season. As Mattingly suggests all shoppers do, Keizer set a budget for herself.

“Just prioritizing what you have,” Keizer said. “Really set aside (specific amounts of money) per person. I’ve done that in the past, and it’s always been really good for me.”

Although it’s often hard to predict consumer spending habits, Mattingly said more information about this year’s holiday shopping trends should be available in the next few weeks.