Early Holiday Shopping Guide 2021

It’s never too early to shop for the holidays, especially when savings are involved. Many holiday deals and sales events occur throughout November, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to save right now. Here are our tips on shopping for holiday gifts early in 2021. 

Set Your Budget Now

Always set your budget in advance so you have time to set cash aside. Make sure your overall budget is all inclusive; make sure to budget for decorations, gits, food, travel, etc. Knowing how much you can spend is going to be an important part of avoiding overbuying (which is easy to do when you’re shopping early) and keeping your finances healthy. 

Look over your finances and talk with your significant other about setting this budget and sticking to it. 

Check Outlets

Outlets, especially now, are great places to look for sought after brand name gifts. Outlets already feature discounted items and often hold frequent sales that further your savings. Start paying attention to sales announcements at outlet retailers you and your loved ones like and start grabbing up these items now. 

The holidays are the busiest time of the year for outlets, so if you take advantage of the savings opportunities now, you’ll have plenty of items to choose from (and you can avoid holiday traffic and long check out lines!)

Watch for Predatory Deals

It sounds sneaky and it is! Many retailers will begin raising the prices of their hottest items towards the holiday season so that Black Friday deals seem more enticing. Beware of deals that seem extreme or too good to be true, because they probably are. 

With deals like these, the prices the products are lowered to for savings events like Black Friday are often the same or similar prices they are sold for during slower parts of the year. Start looking for these items now and pay attention to slow but evident increases in price point. If you see this happen with something you have in mind, try to find a coupon or small sale to bring the price down again and buy it before November rolls around. 

Avoid Credit Cards

This isn’t always totally avoidable, but use credit cards with caution and scrutiny. Don’t fall for signing up for a store’s credit card to save 10% off your purchase — the savings aren’t typically worth the small hit to your credit score. 

If you are going to use a credit card, set a limit as to how much you will spend on the card. Avoid spending your entire holiday budget on credit cards and take this time a few months ahead to set cash aside rather than relying on credit cards to purchase gifts. 

Finally, if you’re going to use a credit card, spend only what you’re confident that you can repay before interest begins to accrue. 

Always Search for Coupons and Use Savings Extensions

It definitely pays to use coupons. Even if there’s no apparent sale or deal going on, search on your browser for coupon codes if you’re shopping online. Using browser extensions like Honey, Rakuten, or RetailMeNot can find you available coupons, deals, and savings opportunities within a few seconds. Take advantage of these discounts whenever you shop online. 

Handmade Gifts

This sounds obvious, but if you have a knack for arts and crafts, now is the time to plan and create! Handmade gifts can be some of the most memorable and beloved gifts of anyone’s holiday season. Making these gifts now gives you plenty of time to plan, purchase supplies on sale or during promotions, and of course, to make the gifts. You can craft items that are special and unique for your loved ones with plenty of time to spare. 

Also, don’t downplay the value of practical gifts (especially ones you make yourself!) For instance, if you knit or crochet, a blanket, scarf, or hat would make a lovely and heartfelt gift. Scrapbooks of photos and favorite memories is another great handmade option. The sky’s the limit here, and with plenty of time before the holidays, start thinking about what you could make as gifts and decor. 

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